American Academy of Actuaries Recognizes Members’ Service to Public and Profession

November 4, 2016
WASHINGTON — The American Academy of Actuaries recognized several of its most dedicated members for their service to the Academy, the public and the U.S. actuarial profession with awards presented at its Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum on Nov. 3-4 in Washington, D.C. They include recipients of the Academy’s two most prestigious awards, the Jarvis Farley Service Award and the Robert J. Myers Public Service Award, and three recipients of the 2016 Award for Outstanding Volunteerism.

“Service is at the heart of the Academy’s mission,” said Academy 2015-16 President Tom Wildsmith. “We are fortunate to benefit from the skill, dedication, and hard work of more than 1,250 Academy volunteers, as well as to recognize among our membership the contributions of actuaries working in public service. Our members produce substantial, noteworthy work that touches every practice area and many aspects of our profession and beyond.”

Robert G. Meilander of Sarasota, Fla., a longtime Academy volunteer who has made significant contributions in the life and risk management and financial reporting practices, at the international level, and on the Actuarial Standards Board’s ongoing work related to public pension plan issues, received the 2016 Jarvis Farley Service Award. The award honors an actuary whose volunteer efforts on behalf of the Academy have made significant contributions to the advancement of the profession. The Academy established the award in 1991 to honor one of its most dedicated volunteers, Jarvis Farley, a charter member of the Academy and an invaluable resource for the profession.

“Over the years, I have noticed many benefits of volunteering,” said Meilander. “I don't think I thought of any of these benefits when I decided to do Academy work, and later Actuarial Standards Board work, but they were the reasons that I continued to volunteer over the years… Volunteering made me a better actuary.”

Joan Weiss of Chevy Chase, Md., who has made extraordinary contributions to the public good as a dedicated public servant at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries, received the 2016 Robert J. Myers Public Service Award. The Academy’s Committee on Actuarial Public Service established the award in 1994. The award is named after Robert J. Myers to honor his lifelong commitment to public service.

“Working with younger actuaries at PBGC, and encouraging them to improve their skills and gain the credentials they need—even when the credentials are not an explicit job requirement—was one of the most fulfilling aspects of my years in public service,” said Weiss. “The greatest honor I can think of would be if one of those younger actuaries could receive the Myers Award from the Academy some day.”

Three Academy volunteers—Donna Claire of Fort Salonga, N.Y., Barbara Klever of Elizabeth, Ill., and Kathleen Odomirok of Boston, Mass.—were recognized with the Academy’s 2016 Award for Outstanding Volunteerism. The award honors Academy volunteers who have made a single, noteworthy volunteerism contribution in the previous year that is above and beyond what is reasonably expected of an Academy volunteer.
“In their volunteer work for the Academy, Donna, Barbara, and Kathleen each stood out as substantially contributing to important Academy work. Donna was recognized for her leadership in educating actuaries and regulators on principle-based reserving for life insurance, Barbara for her outstanding leadership in the development of public policy analysis of health practice issues, and Kathy for leading valuable initiatives benefiting property/casualty insurance regulators and actuaries. Each demonstrated a commitment to the profession and the public that won the admiration of the members and officers of the Academy,” said Wildsmith.

Learn more about the awards at

About the American Academy of Actuaries
The American Academy of Actuaries is an 18,500+ member professional association whose mission is to serve the public and the U.S. actuarial profession. For more than 50 years, the Academy has assisted public policymakers on all levels by providing leadership, objective expertise, and actuarial advice on risk and financial security issues. The Academy also sets qualification, practice, and professionalism standards for actuaries in the United States.