May is designated as Jewish American Heritage Month and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. We are pleased to highlight these four distinguished members of Omicron Delta Kappa.
Janis E. Hirsch
Rollins College, 2013
Janis E. Hirsch is a writer and executive producer based in Beverly Hills, California. After graduating from Rollins College, she went to work at the legendary Coconut Grove Playhouse. Not long after, Hirsch moved to New York to work on National Lampoon’s show Lemmings and its magazine. In addition, she was part of the cast for National Lampoon’s High School Yearbook parody. During her New York years, Hirsch contributed to several books of humor and writing for various publications, including The New York Times and a much-heralded parody, Not The New York Times.
Hirsch relocated to Los Angeles to write for Square Pegs. She wrote her first television pilot and then moved to the iconic It’s Garry Shandling’s Show. She also wrote and produced numerous other television series and movies of the week. In addition, Hirsch’s career includes writing for feature films, regional theatres, and musicals. Notably, she wrote the script for Some Kind of Wonderful, a musical with the songs of Carole King and Gerry Goffin, which premiered in Los Angeles several years ago.
Having had polio as a child, Hirsch is active in post-polio awareness, and she devotes much of her time to promoting and supporting the integration of people with disabilities into mainstream television and films. She is a former board member of Deaf West, the theater company that developed Big River, and she is still an honorary member of that organization. Hirsch has served on the producing committee for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Night At Sardi’s fundraiser. She is also particularly proud of her work as a board member of Faith In America, which is dedicated to ending religious-based bigotry in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans communities. Hirsch is the 2018 recipient of O∆K’s Pillars of Leadership Award in Creative and Performing Arts.
Teik C. Lim
University of Cincinnati, 2015
Teik C. Lim is the ninth president of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and holds the title of distinguished professor of mechanical engineering. Before joining NJIT in 2022, Lim led the University of Texas at Arlington as interim president from 2020-22 and was provost and vice president for academic affairs from 2017-20. He was an associate professor at the University of Alabama beginning in 1998 before he joined the University of Cincinnati in 2002, where he advanced from associate professor to professor to department head and to associate dean for graduate studies and research before, ultimately, being named dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.
Lim’s career has spanned from the private sector to university administration. He worked as an engineer at Structural Dynamics Research Corporation before joining The Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research as a research scientist. Lim earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University, a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri University for Science and Technology), and his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. He is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of structural vibrations and acoustics, as well as modeling and simulation technology. Lim was named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors in 2018. In addition, he is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and of the Society of Automotive Engineers, from which he received numerous research and teaching awards. Lim also was recognized with the Thomas French Alumni Achievement Award in 2010, the GearLab Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2017, and the Distinguished Alumni Award for Academic Excellence in 2019 from The Ohio State University.
East Tennessee State University, 1992
Li Lu is the founder and chairman of Himalaya Capital, a value investing firm where he has been managing its principal fund since 1997. Born in China, Lu was one of the student leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests. After arriving in the United States, Lu attended Columbia University, where he received his bachelor’s degree, M.B.A., and law degree, all at the same time. He is a trustee of Columbia University and the California Institute of Technology.
Himalaya Capital primarily focuses on publicly traded companies in Asia, with an emphasis on China. The company aims to achieve superior returns by being long-term owners of high-quality companies with substantial “economic moat” (businesses being able to maintain a competitive advantage over their competitors to preserve market share and profits), excellent growth potential, and being operated by trustworthy people.
In addition to his various philanthropic pursuits, Lu co-founded and is the board chair of The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), serving the 23 million Asian American and Pacific Islander community members in their pursuit of belonging and prosperity, free from discrimination, slander, and violence. He is the author of Civilization, Modernization, Value Investing and China and Moving the Mountain: My Life in China. Lu was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2020.
Samuel E. “Skip” Vichness
Randolph-Macon College, 1969
Samuel E. “Skip” Vichness is the chair of the Board of Directors of Hillel International, the largest Jewish campus organization, with more than 550 Hillel affiliates in 19 countries. He formerly served three years as vice chair, was responsible for Hillel’s Israel engagement philosophy, and chaired its Task Force on Public Statements.
Professionally, Vichness serves as president of Quality Camping Properties, Inc. and a senior partner in GreyPine, LLC. In addition, he has worked as a director and investor in the summer camp industry for 45 years, participating in operations on day, resident, and special-needs camps across the Northeast. Vichness is a past chair of the Foundation for Jewish Camp and the National Ramah Commission – the camping arm of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. In 2011, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion named Vichness as the recipient of its American Jewish Distinguished Service Award. He is also a past president of the American Camp Association, New York Section, and a former chair of the TriState Camping Conference, as well as a former president of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union Counties (The Golda Och Academy).
Vichness earned his bachelor’s degree from Randolph-Macon College and his doctorate in European history from Florida State University. For 11 years, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of Randolph-Macon College, chairing its finance committee. He was named a distinguished alumnus in 2011. In addition, Vichness is the vice chair of the Massena Society, which is dedicated to the furtherance of graduate studies in the fields of the French Revolution and Napoleon. In 2004 he was awarded the Distinguished Medal of the Institute for the Study of Napoleon and the French Revolution.