Building Robust & Inclusive Democracy

Lyon Bendheim Citizenship Award

The Lyon & Bendheim Citizenship Award celebrates individuals, groups, or institutions affiliated with Tufts University that have shown a commitment to civic engagement through successful initiatives, creative solutions, or bold leadership. J.B. Lyon, A85, and Tom Bendheim, A85, established the award to celebrate leaders who are making a difference, and recipients are given an award and participate in a campus-wide event either virtually or in-person with the goal of connecting them with students and alumni on campus.

The Lyon and Bendheim Citizenship Award is the successor to the Lyon and Bendheim Alumni Lecture Series. Initially established to bring to campus prominent alumni, often leaders from the private sector, the Citizenship award is intended to refocus this initiative and expand opportunities for Tufts students to connect with leaders across the professional and civic spectrum who live up to Tufts’ core values of civic engagement and social impact. 

Both J.B. Lyon and Tom Bendheim are members of Tisch College's Board of Advisors.

2023 Award Winner & Event

Mitch Lunn

Lyon & Bendheim Citizenship Award - Championing LGBTQ+ Health & Inclusion with Dr. Mitch Lunn, A04

Tuesday, March 7 | 5:30 PM ET | Rabb Room, Barnum Hall

Representation matters, especially for diverse and underrepresented communities who face unique health disparities. Join us for a conversation with Tufts alumnus Dr. Mitch Lunn, A04, to hear how he has dedicated his career to closing this gap through innovative technology and civically engaged research and to championing sexual and gender minority (SGM) people in health care and beyond. Dr. Lunn will be presented with the 2023 Lyon & Bendheim Citizenship Award in honor of his advocacy of SGM people's health, inclusion and well-being and his engaging vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations on the local and national level. Dr. Lunn is Assistant Professor (Nephrology) of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and co-director of PRIDEnet and The PRIDE Study. Read Dr. Mitch Lunn's full bio.

Read this Tufts Now article and learn more about Dr. Lunn's work.

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About Tom & J.B.

Tom Bendheim

Tom Bendheim

Tom Bendheim, A85 is the Founder and CEO of b7 Properties, a multi-state real estate development and investment company that specializes in residential investment properties. Previously, he held senior executive positions with PepsiCo, Dooney & Bourke, and CVS Caremark, and earlier in his career was a strategic business consultant with Bain & Company and McKinsey & Company. He received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Tufts University, an M.A. from the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School. Tom is a member of the Tisch College Board of Advisors, and established the Lyon & Bendheim Alumni Lecture series, now the Lyon & Bendheim Citizenship Award, with his Tufts classmate, J.B. Lyon, A85.

J.B. Lyon

J.B. Lyon

J.B. Lyon, A85 manages Mount Independence Investments, which invests early stage and growth capital in business service companies and real estate. Prior to this, he was a private equity investor in the energy sector. J.B. spent the first 20 years of his career as an entrepreneur and intrapreneur. He led the launch of, and co-founded and managed Uncle Dave’s Kitchen, a nationally distributed, all-natural pasta sauce and condiment packaged foods company. In the 1980s, J.B. led his first entrepreneurial venture creating a company with his father that became the first licensee of Pac-Man paraphernalia. As co-founder of the Rebuild Congress Initiative and a founding board member of Issue One, J.B. is active in efforts to reform and strengthen our democracy. He has a B.A. in International Relations from Tufts and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. J.B. is a member of the Tisch College Board of Advisors, and established the Lyon & Bendheim Alumni Lecture series, now the Lyon & Bendheim Citizenship Award, with his Tufts classmate, Tom Bendheim, A85.

2022 Award Winner & Event

Talia Quandelacy

Lyon & Bendheim Citizenship Award - Talia Quandelacy, A07: “From Dengue to COVID: Epidemiology for Equity and Public Action”

Monday, May 2 | 12 PM ET | Hybrid Event

Join Tisch College for a conversation with infectious disease epidemiologist, Tufts alumna, and the 2022 recipient of the Lyon & Bendheim Citizenship Award, Dr. Talia Quandelacy, A07. Dr. Quandelacy is an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health, where she specializes in infectious disease modeling, using analytical approaches to understand disease spread and to identify areas for intervention. She has been named the recipient of the Lyon & Bendheim Citizenship Award in recognition of her exceptional work on federal and state-level responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and her efforts to uplift health disparities experienced by Native American communities. Dr. Quandelacy holds a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, and master’s degrees from Harvard and Emory Universities. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she modeled the spread of dengue fever and Zika virus. She previously worked at the CDC’s Special Viral Pathogens Branch and as an ORISE Fellow at the Department of Defense. 

Read this TuftsNow article to learn more about Talia and her work. 

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2021 Award Winner & Event

Wilnelia Rivera

Lyon & Bendheim Citizenship Award: Wilnelia Rivera – “Fighting for Change in Cities & on the Ballot”

February 17, 2021 | 12 PM ET | Virtual Event

On February 17, 2021, Tisch College virtually welcomed activist, political strategist, and Tufts alumna, Wilnelia Rivera, A04, AG14, to campus in celebration of her being chosen as the inaugural recipient of the Lyon & Bendheim Citizenship Award. Wilnelia is the founder and president of Rivera Consulting, Inc., a strategist consulting firm for movement-building and policy-driven causes, candidates, and organizations. After graduating from Tufts in 2004, Rivera worked for a training institute for community organizers hosted by the AFL-CIO in Chicago. Upon returning to the Boston area, she worked with Neighbor to Neighbor, where she helped reform the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI), making it illegal for employers to ask about a person’s criminal history on an initial job application in Massachusetts, and assisted in the push for Lynn to invest in interpreters and translation services for non-English speaking parents and a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ students. As a political strategist, Rivera was instrumental in helping to elect Deval Patrick as Massachusetts’ first Black Governor and Ayanna Pressley as a U.S. Congresswoman after a groundbreaking primary victory against a ten-term Democratic incumbent. Rivera was the recipient of the Mel King Fellowship at MIT’s CoLab, where she focused on public policy research related to urban politics, economic democracy, community planning, and sustainable community economic development.

This event was sponsored by Tisch College, CIVIC, Tufts ACTION, the Africana Center, the Fletcher School, the Political Science Department, and the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.

Read this Tufts Now article to learn more about the event and Wilnelia, and check out her work on Turnout! and in Boston Magazine.

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