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Three leading professionals to be inducted into WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni

Robert E. Corsi Jr.

Robert E. Corsi Jr.


Three dedicated and prominent  West Virginia University graduates have been named to Academy of Distinguished Alumni, one of the highest honor awarded to a graduate of West Virginia University.

Dr. William Neal, Jerome Black and Robert E. Corsi Jr. will join an exclusive group of fewer than 100 individuals in the Academy when they are inducted on May 20 during a recognition beginning at 6 p.m.

“For more than 140 years WVU graduates have accomplished amazing feats, solved global problems, and led the world in their respective fields,” said Sean Frisbee, WVU vice president for alumni relations. “This year we’re recognizing three of our most amazing alumni and it is an honor to induct William, Jerry and Bob into our Academy of Distinguished Alumni,”

Dr. William Neal
Neal, a native of Huntington, earned his undergraduate degree from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1962. His medical degree was awarded by West Virginia University in 1966, where he was the first recipient of the Edward J. Van Liere Award for medical student research. From 1985 to 1998 he served as chair of the WVU Department of Pediatrics and was instrumental in conceptualization and development of WVU Medicine Children’s, serving as its first medical director.

Neal is currently James H. Walker Professor of Preventive Cardiology in the Department of Pediatrics.

Upon graduation from medical school, Neal continued training as a rotating intern at the Milwaukee County General Hospital, Marquette University, 1966-’67. He was then commissioned in the U.S. Navy, where after graduation from the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute, he was assigned as flight surgeon aboard the USS Constellation. He made two combat tours to Vietnam.

After postgraduate work in pediatric cardiology at the University of Minnesota from 1970-74, Neal joined the WVU faculty. He was awarded emeritus status July 1, 2014 after 40 years of service to the University and state.

Neal’s clinical career at WVU focused on development and regionalization of newborn intensive care, establishment of a statewide system of outreach clinics in pediatric cardiology, and founding of the Coronary Artery Risk Detection In Appalachian Communities Project. CARDIAC has provided risk factor surveillance, intervention, and research for over 150,000 school-age children from every West Virginia community during the past 16 years.

As the largest comprehensive accumulation of health status data on children in the nation, it has strongly influenced policy guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics regarding blood cholesterol screening and treatment for children at risk for premature heart disease and diabetes. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Familial Hypercholesterolemia Foundation.

He was named Distinguished Alumnus of the WVU School of Medicine in 2006.

Jerome Black
Black is an internationally recognized global innovator in the retail and digital technology fields, as well as a leading international speaker and thought leader on value chains, the future of retail and creative approaches to e-commerce.

He is also a loyal and passionate Mountaineer having grown up in Kingwood and graduated from Morgantown High School. Black received his Bachelor of Science degree in business in 1982.

Black is currently an executive board member and deputy president of Aeon Retail Co. based in Japan. He is also Chairman of the board for Aeon Entertainment, a movie and content business which is the number two cinema business in Japan as well as serving as an executive officer for the Aeon Holding Co. and director of international affairs.

The Aeon Group is a forward thinking international retailer with revenues of more than eight trillion yen (approximately $70 billion in U.S. dollars) and more than 440,000 employees. The diverse holdings include: 145 shopping malls, more than 35 million credit card holders, more than 30 million e-money cards issued as well as several established retail formats including: supermarkets, general merchandise stores, drug stores, convenience stores and many branded specialty store chains. In all, the group encompasses more than 280 consolidated subsidiaries.

Black is currently responsible for the digital businesses including e-commerce, omni channel, digital media, social media strategies, and digital marketing strategies.

As one of the few non-Japanese senior executives among any top Japanese company, Black has led dramatic business growth and innovation within Japan and expansion throughout 13 Asian countries, as well as having been in charge of both strategy and information technology during Aeon’s widely acclaimed leadership role in Japan’s recovery from the Great Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Black’s previous roles within the Aeon Group include: group chief digital officer, CEO of ASEAN, chief strategy officer, CIO and senior EVP responsible for merchandising and marketing.

As a widely acclaimed leader in corporate citizenship, Aeon advocates for a sustainable future and a better standard of living for all. Aeon has contributed significantly in local communities, has helped to fund or build over 300 schools in developing countries, has established bio-diversity programs, teenage ambassador cultural exchange programs and has planted more than 11 million trees around the world.

Black was previously president and CEO for Kurt Salmon, one of the leading global thought leadership and consulting firms to the retail and consumer products industry.

He also currently serves on the U.S.-Japan Council Business Advisory Board and is co- chair of the End to End Value Chain Global Initiative for the Consumer Goods Forum.

He is also a former board member of AEON Co. BHD, AEON Stores, AEON Co. LTD., Laura Ashley Japan Co. and AEON 1% Club.

Robert E. Corsi Jr.
Corsi graduated from WVU in 1975 with a master’s degree in industrial engineering. His professional career spans 45 years with the United States Air Force both in an active duty and civilian capacity where he is now a member of the Senior Executive Service.

Corsi currently serves as the assistant deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He serves as principal assistant to the Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services.

As part of his duties, he is responsible for comprehensive plans and policies covering all life cycles of military and civilian personnel management, including military and civilian end strength management, education and training, compensation and resource allocation, and the delivery of fully-qualified, ready Airmen for the Joint warfighter while also meeting all the needs of Airmen and their families. He oversees the execution and programming of the manpower, personnel and services portfolio with an annual $40.9 billion personnel budget for 660,000 military and civilian total force Airmen.

He was commissioned upon graduation from Manhattan College in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. During the next 28 years, he served in a wide variety of positions of increasing responsibility at wing, major command, and Air Force headquarters levels.

Corsi has held positions of design engineer and chief of engineering, At the staff level, he has been responsible for training, research, development and logistics manpower. He also served as the military assistant to the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for military manpower and personnel. He was assigned as the chief, manpower requirements division, Headquarters Strategic Air Command. He then became the chief, manpower programs division, Headquarters, Air Force and served in several manpower and organization positions until his retirement.

Corsi entered the Senior Executive Service in July 1998, following retirement from active duty in the rank of colonel. Prior to assuming his current position, Corsi served as the deputy administrative assistant to the secretary of the Air Force and as the deputy director, manpower and organization. He assumed his current position in October 2011.

He is a registered professional engineer in both Delaware and Virginia and is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers. He is also a senior member of both the Institute of Industrial Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He has been a member of the Visiting Committee of Industrial & Systems Management since 2014 and was inducted to the Academy of Industrial Engineers in 2015.

He was elected to the Board of the Senior Executive Association in 2014 and will serve a three-year term guiding the association to advise on all aspects of policy and development for the 8,000 plus members of the Senior Executive Service, federal-wide.

Corsi has received two Presidential Rank Awards recognizing his performance among the top 5 percent of all of the members of the Senior Executive Service, federal-wide. In addition, he is a fourth degree member of the Knights of Columbus and has led a home building effort for the last 15 years in the heart of Appalachia, responsible for the fund raising and construction of 16 homes for some of the poorest families in our country who receive a complete home at no cost to the family.

For more information about the Academy, contact the WVU Alumni Association at 304-293-0991 or visit



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