Retired Highmark Senior Vice President Aaron Walton has been named the New Pittsburgh Courier’s 2012 Legacy honoree. The award is part of the Courier’s annual 50 Men of Excellence awards, which recognize exemplary African-American men in the Pittsburgh region.
“I am very honored, surprised and honored,” Walton said. “When you talk about legacy you talk about history and when you look at some of the other people like (previous Legacy Honorees) Wendell Freeland and Eric Springer, you think of a lifetime of service for the community.”
Walton is the current chairman of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture board of directors. One of his crowning accomplishments was his role in creating the August Wilson Center, an initiative that began in 1996 as part of an effort to attract the national NAACP convention to Pittsburgh.
“Before the national NAACP would agree to come to Pittsburgh they had the city officials agree to have something Afro centric in Pittsburgh. And because of that we now have the August Wilson Center,” Walton said. “We have something that has transformed into a legacy. It’s making an impact. There’s a lot of work yet to be done and now we have to make it what it can be.”
Walton was also the chairman of the Pittsburgh Urban League Board of Directors for several years, teaming with President and CEO Esther Bush in improving that organization.
Walton currently serves as vice chair of the board of deacons at Ebenezer Baptist Church, vice chair of the board of governors of the PA State System of Higher Education, and is a current member of the California University of PA council of trustees, Bethlehem Haven Homeless Women’s Shelter, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, 100 Black Men of Western PA, Kappa Endowment Scholarship Fund, and Sire Archon, Rho Boulé, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.
“I’m just proud to be recognized for the work I’ve done over the years in the community,” Walton said. “I’ve probably been on about 35 to 40 boards in my career. There are so many organizations that are trying to do important work in the community and I just want to do the best I could do with those organizations.”
As a former Highmark vice president, Walton was responsible for administering Highmark’s public relations and social mission strategy and overseeing the departments of community affairs, community health and strategic health initiatives. He holds a bachelor’s degree from California University of PA and a Master’s Degree from Carnegie Mellon University.
Walton is married to Gloria Walton, a retired licensed school psychologist and they have two children, Lauren Walton, chief of addiction medicine for Kaiser Permanente in Long Beach California, and Aaron D. Walton, corporate sales division, Wyndham Corp., Las Vegas, Nev.
The Legacy Award is reserved for individuals who have reached achievements above and beyond others, while also dedicating themselves to giving back to those less fortunate.
“It’s important to let people know that there are people who are doing something in our community, but also to set an example for the younger generation that they have to get back.”
The 2012 50 Men of Excellence Awards Reception will be held Oct. 25 from 6-9 p.m. at the Fairmont Hotel.
LOUIS T. ALEXANDER
Principal - Byars & Alexander Financial Group
LARRY D. ANDERSON
Sr. Retired Basketball Coach & Volunteer at Soldiers & Sailors Hall & Museum
DAVID J. ATKINS
Director, Digital Marketing - Visit Pittsburgh
Urban District Vice President, Membership - YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh
Director, Baseball Operations - Pittsburgh Pirates
ARCHIE L. BROWN
Staff Accountant - Urban Lending Solutions
COACH WILLIAM BROWN
Head Men’s Basketball Coach - California University of PA
TONY BYERS, PH.D.
Leader, Global Diversity & Inclusion-H.J. Heinz Company
WILLIAM M. CARTER JR.
Dean, School of Law - University of Pittsburgh
Public Affairs Director – WPXI-TV and Owner - JjC Productions
FREDERICK B. CRAWFORD
President - Highland Park Tennis Club
Professor of Sociology - University of Pittsburgh
Senior Editor, Pitt Magazine - University of Pittsburgh
Parent Coordinator - Hill District Education Council
BISHOP JOSEPH L. GARLINGTON SR., PH.D.
Senior Pastor - Covenant Church of Pittsburgh
Deputy Director - Riverside Center for Innovation
PASTOR GREGORY GREENE
Supervisor - Allegheny County Juvenile Courts; and Pastor - ZION COGIC
Vice President - FedExGround
President - Three Rivers Center for Independent Living
CDR. ERIC HOLMES
Head of the Hill District Station - Pittsburgh Police
RODNEY K. HOPSON, Ph.D.
Hillman Distinguished Professor - School of Education’s Department of Foundations and Leadership - Duquesne Univeristy
ELLIOT HOWSIE, ESQ.
Chief Public Defender - Allegheny County Public Defenders
CALVIN L. JACKSON JR.
Councilman, Borough of Coraopolis
BRANDON R. JENNINGS
Graphic Design Teacher - Pittsburgh Technical Institute
VINCENT O. JOHNSON
Consultant - Procurement Resources, Inc.
CHIEF CHARLES R. JONES JR.
Chief of Police - Beaver Falls
FREDRICK O. KENDRICK, PH.D.
International Director of Human Resources - K & L Gates
JOHN R. LAYMON JR.
President/Owner - JRL Enterprises, Inc.
REV. DR. LAMAR D. LEE JR.
Pastor/Teacher/Principal - Saint Mark AME Zion Church
BRACE S. LOWE
Sr. Executive Vice President - A Second Chance, Inc.
FREDERICK A. MASSEY JR.
CEO - Familylinks
Transition Manager – City Charter High School
JESSE JAMES MCLEAN JR.
Executive Director - Every Child, Inc.
Vice President & Market Manager - PNC Bank
LARRY C. PICKETT
Senior Project Manager, Emerging Alliances and Shared Business Services - Highmark, Inc.
CHARLES M. POWELL SR.
Director of Diversity and Community Affairs - URA of Pittsburgh
JULIUS LEE REDD
Retired - Pittsburgh Elementary School Administrator
International VP of Human Affairs - USW
LARRY S. SMEDLEY
Technical Specialist - BayerMaterialScience LLC
HARVEY JAMES SMITH JR.
Athletic Director & Head Football Coach - Imani Christian Academy
KERRY A. STITH Sr. Vice President &Operations Director, Account Servicing -PNC’s Consumer Loan Services Group
Director of Community Outreach - The Pittsburgh Project
ROBERT L. THOMPSON, MD
Physician - University of Pittsburgh Physicians
MORRIS E. TURNER, MD
Physician - University of Pittsburgh Physicians
President and Chief Executive Officer - EXICO
Professor of Public Health & Social Work - University of Pittsburgh
AARON A. WALTON – 2012 LEGACY HONOREE – Retired Senior Vice President, Highmark
RICARDO J. WILLIAMS
Program Coordinator, Dept of Drug and Alcohol - Allegheny County Dept. of Health and Human Services
DAVID A. YOUNG Associate Dean of Academic Affairs - CCAC