2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards


John L. Esterhai, Jr. M.D. '68, P'95
Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Dr. John L. Esterhai, Jr. M.D. is Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he is known as both a prolific scholar and distinguished medical professional. After earning his M.D. from the Temple University School of Medicine in 1972, Esterhai joined the United States Air Force and served as a Flight Surgeon at Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, Japan, and later at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. In 1980 he completed his residency at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Orthopaedics, where he was named chief resident.

This was just the beginning of what has been a long and illustrious career. Esterhai has published a textbook, written 35 book chapters, contributed 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, and spoken at more than 100 national conferences and invitational lectureships. In addition, he has received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award for his “demonstration of the highest standards of compassion and empathy in the delivery of care;” is a three-time recipient of the Jesse T. Nelson Teaching Award; and was named among the Best Doctors in America from 2003 through 2012. He is a board member for Orthopedics Overseas, and is a founding member of the Musculoskeletal Infection Society, of which he served as president and board member. Outside of work, Esterhai serves on the advisory board of the Presbyterian Children’s Village, as an Elder at Oreland Evangelical Presbyterian Church, and through overseas medical missions in St. Lucia, Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

As a student at Gettysburg, Esterhai was in the Arnold Air Society, Theta Chi, and worked on the staff of the Spectrum Yearbook. He graduated Cum Laude from the College with a biology major in 1968, and has been a faithful alumnus to the College, generously supporting programs of Christ Chapel. He has two grown children, Staci June Connolly ’95 and Gregory, and lives with his wife, Carol, outside of Philadelphia.


David L. Hamilton '63
Professor Emeritus and Research Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara

David L. Hamilton is Professor Emeritus and Research Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His work has contributed significantly to the field of social psychology—particularly social perception—by demonstrating how stereotypes result from the biased intake of information. His leading scholarship in the field has brought him to serve on a number of executive committees, including the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and the Society of Experimental Social Psychology.

He has also earned a number of prestigious awards, including the National Institute of Mental Health’s MERIT Award in 1987, the Thomas M. Ostrom Award from the Person Memory Interest Group in 2000, and the European Association of Social Psychology’s Jean-Claude Codol Award in 2008. As further recognition of his scholarship, the University of Lisbon and the Eötvös Lorand University of Budapest have bestowed honorary doctorate degrees upon him.

While at Gettysburg, Hamilton was a psychology major, member of Phi Delta Theta, and sang under Parker Wagnild in the College Choir. He earned his doctorate from the University of Illinois in 1968. As an alumnus, Hamilton has shown unflagging dedication to Gettysburg. He served on the Commission on the Future’s Task Force on Excellence in the Sciences and Psychology, and – as a member of Gettysburg College’s National Committee for the Sciences – he was instrumental in helping Gettysburg secure the necessary funds to meet the Kresge Foundation Challenge. He has two grown children, Bradley and Jessica.

Steven G. Littleson '83
Executive Vice President of Meridian Health

Steven G. Littleson’s innovative, community-centered, and environmentally conscious leadership style reflects his strong educational foundation in the liberal arts & sciences. As the recently appointed Executive Vice President of Meridian Health, he oversees multiple facilities, 12,000 team members, and $1.7 billion in annual revenue. This promotion is one of many in a successful career in health services administration that most recently included a 17-year position as President of Jersey Shore University Medical Center. During his tenure at Jersey Shore, Littleson initiated and oversaw the five-year, $300 million “Transforming Care” expansion and renovation project that led to the center being certified as one of the first three LEED Gold healthcare facilities in the country. As a standout member in the medical community, Littleson has been named a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives; serves on the boards of directors for the New Jersey Hospital Association and the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals; and teaches and lectures at institutions in the U.S. and China.

Littleson graduated from Gettysburg College in 1983 with a major in business administration, and earned his Master’s Degree in Health Service Administration from George Washington University in 1986. As a student at Gettysburg, he served as a community EMT and was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha. He has given generously to Gettysburg—providing mentorship and job shadowing opportunities through our Center for Career Development and offering financial support as a Cupola Society member. In his home community of Fair Haven, New Jersey, Littleson has served on the boards of the Boy Scouts of America, United Way, Rotary International, American Red Cross, and Big Brothers Big Sisters, and is president of the Fair Haven Recreation Soccer Association. He and his wife, Debra ’84, live with their daughters Amy and Jacqueline in Fair Haven.

Frank S. Martin '63
President Emeritus and Founder of Kids Sports Network of San Antonio

Frank S. Martin has spent his life serving others. Upon graduating from Gettysburg College in 1963, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, where an eventual assignment as officer in charge of worldwide U.S.A.F. youth and child development programs sparked a new passion for his life. When he retired from the military in 1983, Martin founded the Kids Sports Network, a nonprofit association dedicated to the enhancement of non-school youth sports in San Antonio, Texas. In partnership with the San Antonio Spurs, he created and managed the Spurs Drug-Free Youth Basketball League—an inner-city youth basketball league that has grown from 1,100 to 25,000 youth participants throughout South Texas and recently completed its 23rd season. Thought to be one of the first socially themed youth sports programs in the country, the league received a Point of Light award from President George H.W. Bush in 1992. Martin also earned a San Antonio Hometown Hero award in 1998 and was named the city’s Sportsman of the Year in 2006 for his community-wide efforts to promote quality sports and fitness for San Antonio youth.

While at Gettysburg, Martin majored in political science, served as the captain of the College’s varsity baseball team, and was named a 2nd team all-region player. He was also a member of Phi Sigma Kappa, and served as the president of the Inter-Fraternity Council. During his service in the Air Force, Martin earned his Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Northern Colorado. Even in retirement, Martin volunteers as the Special Project Coordinator at Morgan’s Wonderland—a nonprofit, fully accessible recreational park created to accommodate children and adults with special needs.

He and his wife, Maxine, have two grown children – Malia, who resides in Dallas, and Tara, who lives in Christchurch, New Zealand – and three grandchildren.

Why I Give to Gettysburg