University of Rochester

Advancement Awards

Eastman School of Music

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Established in 1972 as the Alumni Achievement Award, the Distinguished Alumnus Award recognizes alumni whose exceptional professional achievements, contributions to their chosen field, and service to the Eastman School of Music have brought honor to themselves and to the University of Rochester. 

2016 Award Recipient

Mary Jo Heath

Widely respected throughout the music industry for her professional versatility, Mary Jo Heath has achieved success behind the scenes as a writer, producer, and record executive, and publicly as a radio broadcaster and host. A captivating presence in the music business for more than 25 years, Mary Jo has solidified her place in music history as the voice of the Metropolitan Opera, only the fourth radio host since the organization’s first broadcast in 1931. As the “Voice of the Met,” Mary Jo creates an intimate experience for listeners that transcends radio. Her broadcasts create a powerful visual for the audience, guiding them through the works of each season, while providing meaningful commentary and introducing listeners to renowned singers from around the world. Mary Jo has become one of the most influential voices in opera, engaging listeners through traditional broadcasts, artist interviews, podcasts, and the Met’s “Live in HD” series. Today, Mary Jo can be heard by nearly ten million listeners on more than 600 stations worldwide. While she attributes much of her success to the comprehensive musical education she received as an Eastman student, Mary Jo’s professional achievements are a reflection of her passion for sharing music with the world. For her indelible contributions to the world of classical music, and for representing her alma mater with such distinction, the Eastman School of Music is proud to recognize Mary Jo Heath as one of our most distinguished alumni.

Recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus Award