Honorary Degree Recipients 2015
Dr. Michel C. Lin
National Institutes of Health
DR. MICHAEL C. LIN enjoyed a 35-year career as a biomedical scientist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). His research was cited in his mentors’ Nobel Prize lectures. As a program director at NIH, he was responsible for nurturing cutting-edge research in the cardiovascular field. He retired in 2006.
In addition to his biomedical career, Dr. Lin has served in leadership positions for several nonprofit organizations. Most recently, he chaired the 1882 Project, successfully securing the passage of Congressional Resolutions which expressed regret for the injustice of the Chinese Exclusion Laws and reaffirmed Congress’ commitment to protect the civil rights of all persons.
For more than two decades, Dr. Lin has assumed various leadership roles at the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), including serving as the national executive director, as the chair of the building campaign, and as the national president. For his leadership in OCA, he earned recognition as a member of the Committee of 100.
Locally, Dr. Lin and a group of Asian American leaders founded the Asian American Political Alliance to encourage participation and to raise the visibility of the community in every aspect of civic activities. He also served as the chair of the Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs in Maryland. For 12 years, Dr. Lin served as a member of the Montgomery College Board of Trustees, including as board chair.
Currently, he is on the Leadership Council of the Center for History of New America at University of Maryland, the Montgomery College Life Sciences Park Foundation Board, and the KID Museum Board of Directors.
Dr. Lin’s honors include the OCA Lifetime Achievement Award and the Roscoe Nix Distinguished Community Leadership Award.
He received a PhD from the Medical College of Georgia and did post-doctoral training at Rockefeller University in New York. He was a managing partner in a hotel in Bethesda where his wife, Ellen, retired after working as the general manager for more than 20 years. Their son, Christopher, an aerospace engineer for Boeing, lives in Seattle with their two grandsons. Their daughter, Jennifer, is a research and practicing physician in Portland, Oregon
Mr. Eliot Pfanstiehl
Chief Executive Officer
Strathmore Hall Foundation, Inc.
MR. ELIOT PFANSTIEHL is the CEO of Strathmore Hall Foundation, Inc., a multidisciplinary arts nonprofit based in Montgomery County. He has held this position since the foundation’s inception in 1983. Mr. Pfanstiehl led the successful effort to build the world-class music center, which opened in 2005 and celebrates its tenth anniversary in the 2014–2015 season.
Strathmore serves the community through a variety of arts and education programs, and maintains three presenting facilities. Its core campus is composed of the 2,000-seat Music Center at Strathmore, as well as the Mansion at Strathmore, which features an intimate Music Room. The latest addition to Strathmore is AMP, a 250-seat cabaret-style venue located several miles off the main campus in the burgeoning Pike District of Montgomery County. Nearly 100,000 patrons attend Strathmore-presented events each year. The Strathmore Student Concerts, a hallmark, have introduced more than 150,000 children to classical and jazz in the concert hall since 2004.
Mr. Pfanstiehl has been a founder, president, or chair of Montgomery County Arts Council,the Round House Theatre, the League of Washington Theatres, and Strathmore. His past board service includes the Friends of the Kennedy Center, Round House Theatre, Black Rock Arts Center, Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington, and Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations. He has served as chair of both the Maryland State Arts Council and Maryland Citizens for the Arts.
He was the founding president of Maryland Leadership Workshops and is the program facilitator for Leadership Maryland, Leadership Montgomery, Leadership Allegany, Leadership Washington County, and Leadership Southern Maryland. He is a graduate of the inaugural class of Leadership Washington.
Mr. Pfanstiehl has led more than 300 board and strategic planning retreats for a range of nonprofit civic, arts, and social service organizations, government agencies, and businesses.
He has been named Washingtonian of the Year and one of the Washington Business Journal’s People to Watch.
Born in Washington, DC, he and his wife, Cynthia, an anthropology professor at Montgomery College, live in Silver Spring. They are the proud parents of four grown children. He earned a BA in psychology from George Washington University
Ms. C. Marie Taylor
The Community Foundation
MS. C. MARIE TAYLOR has dedicated her life’s work to social services. For more than 20 years, she has worked in direct service, holding vital leadership positions within the Washington metropolitan area.
As the current executive director of The Community Foundation in Montgomery County, she serves as a foundation spokesperson and works to create a philanthropic experience for donors that encourages continued participation and giving. She works closely with an advisory board of local community business people, leaders, and volunteers to promote local philanthropy in Montgomery County and throughout the region.
Before joining The Community Foundation, Ms. Taylor was the executive director of Interfaith Works. In that role, she made an immediate impact on the organization, creating their signature event, Fables & Tables. She also worked to expand the organization’s housing and vocational services and staffing.
Prior to joining Interfaith Works, Ms. Taylor worked at Food & Friends, a local nonprofit providing meals and nutrition education to individuals living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, or other life-challenging illnesses. She held several key positions during her 13 years with the agency, the last being director of programs. Ms. Taylor has been a member of many prominent community groups, including the Ryan White Planning Council and the DC Cancer Consortium.
She continues to advocate for our neighbors living in the margins in Montgomery County—and remains active in the community. She received the Outstanding Diversity Leader Award (2012) from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Washington DC Metro Area Chapter. She is a Leadership Montgomery graduate, a member of the Nonprofit Montgomery Steering Committee, and a member of The Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board.
Ms. Taylor, a native Washingtonian, currently lives in Silver Spring with her husband and stepdaughter. She earned a BA in human relations and an MBA in nonprofit management from Trinity University.