Distinguished Alumni Award

This honor is presented to a certified graduate who has brought distinction to the college and RIT through professional and/or community achievement.

Please join with the College and University in congratulating the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient for the College of Liberal Arts!

View profiles from past Distinguished Alumni Award recipients »

Debra Heath-Thornton '81
College of Liberal Arts

Debra Heath-Thornton '81 (criminal justice) is the executive dean of the Campalo College of Graduate and Professional Studies at Eastern University. In this role she is responsible for the quality of the academic programs in the college and for managing academic policies, faculty affairs and personnel matters, as well as strategic planning for the college, curriculum development, enrollment management and budget management. 

Prior to serving as executive dean, Heath- Thornton was a full-time faculty member at several four-year institutions, becoming a tenured faculty member at two. She is committed to higher education and believes that it is within this realm that she is able to do the most good and effect positive change one student at a time. 

Heath-Thornton has created curriculum and criminal justice opportunities at every educational institution she has served, both at the secondary and higher education levels. She is particularly passionate about the courses she has created in victimology, community-based corrections and restorative justice.