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Announcing UMGC's 2023 Alumni Award Recipients

The UMGC Alumni Association is excited to announce the 2023 UMGC Alumni Award Recipients. Now in its 33rd year, this program recognizes some of our most accomplished alumni for their service, achievements and engagement in their profession fields and in their communities. This year’s seven award recipients will be honored in a special ceremony at the College Park Marriott Hotel and Conference Center on October 19. 

About the Alumni Award Honors
Alumni Award recipients are honored for the commitment they make to enriching the UMGC community through their intellectual, social, cultural and service contributions. The five award categories include:  

  • Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest alumni award granted at UMGC. It was created in 1976 to recognize an alumnus who has realized outstanding personal and professional achievements while demonstrating exemplary service. 
  • Executive Business Leader Award honors those who have served in a leadership role in their community and promote involvement in the university.
  • Edward A. Parnell Outstanding Alumnus Service Award recognizes a UMGC alumnus who has shown exemplary volunteer service over the course of the current year. 
  • The Achiever Award pays tribute to UMGC alumni and community members who have made a significant contribution to supporting the alumni community and university's mission.

Meet the 2023 Award Recipients
Learn more about this year’s inspiring honorees and how they are making a significant and positive impact to their industries and communities through services, excellence and innovation.  

2023 Distinguished Alumna Award Recipient

Army Major General Janeen L. Birckhead  
Master of Science in Management, ‘96 

Major General Janeen L. Birckhead currently serves as the 31st adjutant general of the Maryland National Guard. In this capacity, she serves as an advisor to the Governor of Maryland. She leads a force of over 6,300 soldiers, airmen, and federal and state employees responsible for providing a relevant and capable force ready to fight, protect, defend and prevail against all threats in a multi-domain environment.  

MG Birckhead most recently served as the commander of the Maryland Army National Guard and was dual hatted as the deputy commandant for Reserve Affairs at the U.S. Army War College. She also served as the director of Legislative Affairs for the Maryland National Guard. She has commanded at the company, battalion and brigade level. 

In her civilian capacity, MG Birckhead serves as a senior advisor for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Trust Fund Administration. She advises the Bureau Director on a wide range of issues related to the organization’s personnel and managerial policies, theory, practices and procedures, and organizational culture. 

2023 Executive Business Leader Award Recipient 

William McKinley Washington III, CFO, Baker McKenzie
Master of Business Administration, ‘10  

William M. Washington III is the global chief financial officer (CFO) for Baker McKenzie. As CFO, he is responsible for the firm's financial operations, which totals more than $3 billion in revenue across 76 offices in 45 countries. In his role, he is responsible for over 1,400 finance professionals and serves on the executive committee, financial committee and many other strategic committees related to the firm's operations. 

Washington brings his business and financial expertise as CFO, together with his leadership and Six Sigma principles, to support leading global law firm Baker McKenzie’s commitment to responsible business across more than 70 global offices. He is committed to continually growing through education, coaching, feedback and personal development. 

In addition, Washington has held volunteer leadership roles with the National Cathedral Elementary School, Legal Innovators and the America’s Business Services Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  

Connect with him on LinkedIn

2023 Edward A. Parnell Outstanding Alumna Service

Ann Seeney, Chief People and Diversity Officer at the U.S. Soccer Federation
Master of Business Administration, ‘07

Ann Seeney, an expert sports advisor, is on a mission to transform people and organizations into equitable leaders and environments. As Chief People and Diversity Officer at the U.S. Soccer Federation, she is leading the charge to promote integrity in an inclusive and distinct culture and is working to transform U.S. soccer into the foremost example of equity in sports and society. 

Seeney is a founding governing board member of Pro Sports Assembly, an organization of sports leaders who are blazing the trail and advancing the industry, and she serves as the organization’s board chair. Seeney has also served on boards for The Little Bit Foundation and Diversity Awareness Partnership (DAP). 

Before that, she spent nearly 10 years as the vice president of Human Resources for the St. Louis Cardinals, where executing DEI strategies and transforming the company culture were her top priorities. Prior to the corporate sector, Seeney led intentional human resources initiatives for community-based organizations, including a regional school district and national nonprofits like Goodwill Industries International. 

Connect with her on LinkedIn.

2023 Achiever Award Recipients

Jorge Acevedo, Desktop Support Professional II, A&O IT Group
Associate of Arts in General Studies ’12
Foreign Language Studies – German Certificate ’12
Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Systems ’15
Master of Science in Information Technology ‘18

Jorge Acevedo is a skilled professional who has inspired more than 16 UMGC alumni and students as an alumni career mentor volunteer this past year. His mentees note how they appreciate the time he takes to listen. Many relate to his career transition insights from his 20 years of service in the U.S. Army and his current role as a desktop support professional in Germany.   

Connect with him on LinkedIn

Heather Downing, Researcher, Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation
Bachelor of Arts in History ‘22

Heather Downing is a dedicated history teacher. After graduation, she continues to be involved with UMGC. She is an active member of the Alumni Association and serves on the officer board of the UMGC History Student Society. She played an integral role in the development of the UMGC International Undergraduate History Conference, including chairing one of the three-hour conference sessions. This conference provided valuable resources to UMGC community members to connect their education to their career aspirations. 

Connect with her on LinkedIn

Huyen-tran Nguyen, Office Manager, Library Services Specialist, University of Maryland  
Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity Management and Policy ‘17
Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Technology ‘21
Accounting Certificate ‘23

Huyen-tran Nguyen is an end processing specialist at the University of Maryland Library where she manages computer security networking while adapting to new technology demands. She is also an avid alumni career mentor volunteer at UMGC. She provided career coaching to over 30 students and alumni in just the past year alone, sharing valuable career insights and tips for their success. Nguyen serves as a role model for her fellow UMGC community members and consistently receives high reviews from mentees who appreciate her thoughtful and detailed feedback.

Connect with her on LinkedIn

Margaret Sofio, Recruiter, Retired
Associate of Arts ‘71 

Margaret Sofio is committed to helping others succeed. After working for 20 years in the cable industry, she retired as a vice president of AT&T. Sofio is receiving the 2023 Achiever Award for her volunteerism and the impact she has made in her local community over the years. Currently, she serves as a board member at Common Table, a free meal service provided weekly at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, and she is a current member of the New Castle, NH, Planning Board. Previously, she served as vice chair of the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire.

Congratulations to all of the 2023 UMGC Alumni Award Recipients!  To view last year's recipients, click here.