American Academy of Actuaries Recognizes Members’ Volunteer and Public Service
WASHINGTON—The American Academy of Actuaries is pleased to announce the recipients of its two most prestigious annual awards, the 2021 Jarvis Farley Service Award and the 2021 Robert J. Myers Public Service Award, and four recipients of its 2021 Outstanding Volunteerism Awards. The award recipients were recognized during the Academy’s 2021 Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 4 and 5.
Cande Olsen of Morristown, N.J., is the recipient of the Academy’s 2021 Jarvis Farley Service Award, a lifetime achievement award that 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 Jarvis Farley Service 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.
Olsen received the award for her prolific contributions during more than 25 years of dedicated volunteer service with the Academy in 70 different roles, including service as Academy vice president, life; as a member of the Academy Board of Directors, the Council on Professionalism, the Life Practice Council (through several different terms), and the Actuarial Standards Board; and as a chairperson and member of many other committees and work groups. Olsen’s accomplishments include contributing to the development and implementation of the recently adopted nationwide regulatory framework for life insurance known as principle-based reserving, to the Academy’s public policy work on life risk-based capital and life products and other significant regulatory initiatives, and to professional standard-setting for the U.S. actuarial profession.
“Cande’s commitment to the mission has been steadfast, on countless projects, leaving an enduring legacy on both actuarial professionalism and the development of sound public policy,” said Academy 2020–21 President Tom Campbell. “Her remarkable record of service speaks for itself in illustrating how deserving she is in receiving this award.”
Eli Donkar of Baltimore, Md., received the Academy’s 2021 Robert J. Myers Public Service Award, which was established in 1994 to honor an actuary for a single noteworthy public service achievement or a career devoted to public service. The award is named after Robert J. Myers, chief actuary for the Social Security Administration from 1947 to 1970, to honor his lifelong commitment to public service.
The award was bestowed in recognition of Donkar’s long and illustrious 40-year actuarial career in public service, starting in 1977 in the Office of the Chief Actuary at the Social Security Administration (SSA). His work at the SSA has been heralded for numerous accomplishments such as pioneering the agency’s annual report on the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, the introduction of improvements to actuarial estimates, and analysis of legislative proposals. He received the federal government’s Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive in 2001—an award granted for sustained excellence in the federal government’s Senior Executive Service—and served for many years as an Academy volunteer.
“Eli’s insightful work has proven of immense consequence to the American public, and his dedication exemplifies the role of public service actuaries as stewards of the public interest,” said Campbell. “Throughout his career, he exemplified the depth, relevance, and significance of actuarial expertise to policymaking addressing social insurance needs.”
Four Academy volunteers—Dorothy Andrews of Charlotte, N.C.; Joseph Hicks of Philadelphia, Pa.; Annette James of Reno, Nev.; and Karen Rudolph of Omaha, Neb.—received the Academy’s 2021 Outstanding Volunteerism Awards. The awards honor Academy volunteers who have made noteworthy contributions in their volunteer work in the last year.
Andrews has been instrumental as chairperson of the Academy’s Data Science and Analytics Committee in providing public policymakers and other stakeholders with an objective actuarial perspective on data analytics, complex modeling, and artificial intelligence in insurance coverages, and by addressing related equity issues.
As vice chairperson of the Academy’s Multiemployer Plans Committee, Hicks played a vital leadership role in developing timely and appropriate input to Congress on the consequential multiemployer provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act as well as organizing the Academy’s engagement in the federal rulemaking process to implement the law.
James has led the Academy’s Health Equity Work Group in exploring how health actuaries and policymakers can contribute to a better understanding of health disparities by, in part, publishing Academy discussion papers and other educational resources that provide an objective actuarial perspective on the topic for audiences within and outside the actuarial profession.
In her chairperson role on the Life Practice Council’s Asset Adequacy Testing Task Force, Rudolph drove production of an ambitious and novel discussion paper on year-end asset adequacy testing considerations in light of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Service is at the heart of the Academy’s mission,” said Campbell. “The skill, dedication, and hard work of our volunteers is the lifeblood that enables us to produce our valuable public policy and professionalism work.” Learn more at actuary.org/awards.
[Media only: Photos of the award recipients are available by contacting Academy Assistant Director of Communications, Public Affairs, David Mendes at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
The American Academy of Actuaries is a 19,500+ 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.