The BSAA is pleased to announce that the following outstanding alumni of Brighton High School (BHS) are our 2015 BSAA/BHS Alumni Hall of Fame members. More information about their impressive careers and contributions will be available shortly.
• Burt August, class of ’33
• Gary Berger, ’60
• Tina Monshipour Foster, ’93
• Pete Heinrich, ’55 (posthumous)
• Joe Klein, ’68
This year’s “class” represents a 60-year range in ages, from what might be our oldest living alum and definitely is our oldest honoree to date – Burt August, now a venerable 100 – to one of our youngest honorees, Tina Monshipour Foster.
Friends, family, classmates, school board members, and BHS staff and students celebrated their achievements on May 29 at the BSAA’s annual Recognition Gala.
“We are continually impressed by the amazing achievements and contributions of our fellow alumni in such a wide range of professions and causes, and this year’s honorees are no different,” said Alan Ziegler, BHS’55, chair of the BSAA/BHS Alumni Hall of Fame Committee. “Clearly, a BHS education is preparation for success in careers and the foundation of a commitment to community service.”
This year’s BSAA/BHS Alumni Hall of Fame honorees are:
- Burt August, BHS’33, who at 100 this year is thought to be the oldest surviving BHS alumni, began his career at Michael Stern & Co. Inc. in 1938, becoming senior vice-president and director. In 1969, he co-founded Monro Muffler Brake with his brother, eventually retiring in 1980. The company now has more than 1,000 stores nationwide and more than 6,400 employees.
August has been involved with and led a variety of community organizations. According to his nominators, “Burt not only served on boards; he also worked with his hands to help organizations succeed.”
To a family member, “One of the qualities that stands out most in Burton August is how he engaged the younger generation. Whether it be the employees who worked with him over the past 50 years or his own children and grandchildren, Burt inspired us all to be generous with our time and treasure. He spoke passionately about the needs of our vital community nonprofits and inspired many people … to give back to causes (that) he believed were important. He also made it known to his family and friends that being charitable was essential for a healthy, vibrant community. The expectation that the August family will support our community in meaningful ways continues today.”
August has often cited his education at BHS as preparing him for a life of accomplishment and service to his community.
- Gary Berger, MD, BHS’60, is a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, who “has spent a lifetime addressing gynecological problems and their solutions, both as researcher and practitioner.” He developed an innovative procedure for tubal ligation reversal that “reflects a significant improvement in the procedure and its outcome” after becoming concerned about the trauma, pain level, recuperation time and high costs of the then-current procedure. His pioneering technology results in less post-operative pain, much shorter procedures – usually on an outpatient basis – and far lower costs.
Berger developed a website and published a book to educate couples having fertility problems. He also established and funds the Sterling Foundation to support causes in medicine and science, including Rochester’s Carlberg Memorial, Linda’s Garden and the Ziegler Endowed Visiting Professor in Surgery at Highland Hospital.
“The liberal education I received at BHS prepared me for success in college and for a lifetime of learning,” Berger said. “The BHS program promoted the ideal of a healthy mind in a healthy body, and the friendships that were formed there are the ones that have endured.”
- Tina Monshipour Foster, Esq., BHS’93, “gave up the triple-digit salary that she received from one of the world’s leading international law firms to put her legal skills and talent to use on behalf of clients who otherwise would have no legal recourse. Her dedication to helping the disadvantaged is unrelenting.” She is the executive director of the International Justice Network, which she founded in 2006 to provide free legal assistance to victims of torture, illegal imprisonment, and political and religious persecution.
As an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and counsel for its Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative, Foster worked on hundreds of cases, providing substantive litigation services and strategic advice to more than 500 attorneys representing detainees in federal court,. She also challenged the domestic spying program and is plaintiff in a lawsuit about illegal wiretapping of U.S. citizens.
Foster has said that her BHS education inspired and prepared her for a career as an attorney and activist, and was key to graduating from Boston University a semester early and being accepted in a prestigious academic program at Oxford University. The diversity of the student body and willingness of teachers to represent a broad range of view helped nurture her ability to consider alternative viewpoints.
- Pete Heinrich, BHS’55, was a principal, co-developer, owner, and/or design and operations consultant in dozens of popular hotels and restaurants. His leadership and service roles included serving on the boards of many area educational and not-for-profit organizations. He put a service twist to his industry experience as an adjunct professor at RIT’s American College in Croatia for many years. His college fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi, honored him for decades of service to the organization and the University of Rochester; established a Lifetime Achievement Award in his and classmate Roger Zaenglein’s honor; and passed a special resolution to give Heinrich its Alpha Delta Phi Award in recognition of his service at the international level.
Heinrich was a co-founder of the BSAA and served as co-chair from 1999 until his death in 2014. “He never lost his enthusiasm for the organization and continually developed new ideas to help the school, the district and its students. Pete’s sense of humor kept us all focused during tough times. He was a true …. His passing left a huge hole in the lives of his fellow alumni.”
- As president, CEO and chair of Klein Steel Service, Joe Klein, BHS’68, led the company from eight employees delivering a few tons of steel a day on a 20-year-old truck to an industry-leading and award-winning metal distribution and processing company with 200 employees.
Klein “crafted the company to give back to the community” and often hired employees who were illiterate and brought in tutors to teach them how to read. Employees have served in leadership positions in community organizations in veterans outreach, early childhood education and development, religion, and tutoring and summer reading camps. The company also created the School 52-Klein Steel Pencil Partnership, which raised reading levels at that school to the top in the city.
In 2005, Klein recruited Uncommon Schools to open the first Rochester Prep charter school. In 2007, he started Friends of the Students of the RCSD and organized community leaders to lobby for hiring a strong superintendent and improve district performance. As vice chair and then chair of Mayor Robert Duffy’s Education and Literacy Commission, he persuaded area business leaders to become Pencil Partners with several schools and worked with AmeriCorps volunteers on reading activities at city libraries.
In 2012, Klein and a fellow BHS alum, Bryan Hickman, co-founded E-3 Rochester with the goal of every child in Rochester attending a great neighborhood public school.
Klein also has served as vice president of Temple B’rith Kodesh; on the boards of the Center for Governmental Research, Monroe Community College Foundation and the PUC Achieve charter school; and as president of the Buffalo chapter of the Metal Service Center Institute, helping create a safety program for its national education foundation. Hr also has had a decades-long partnership with metal sculptor Albert Paley, whose largest work stands in front of Klein Steel.
Klein remembers an exceptional academic environment at BHS and says that BHS helped prepare three generations of his family for success in life. He credits BHS with his hunger for keeping up with current events, and his experience in the Brighton-Madison Exchange with motivating his efforts to develop great schools in the city.
Proceeds from the Recognition Gala, held on May 29, support the BSAA’s Scholarship, an award of $1,500 a year for books and supplies, now in its ninth year. The 2015 BSAA scholarship went to Geesue Hah, who will attend the University of Rochester in part thanks to the BSAA’s support.
Those who could not attend the May 29 Recognition Gala in honor of this year’s BSAA/BHS Alumni Hall of Fame members may support their contributions by donating to the BSAA scholarship in their names. For information, go to www.brightonalumni.org.