Alumni Hall of Fame

2023 Wall of Fame Honorees


Lorrie Caplan

Abstract Watercolor Artist/Professional Pop Song Artist

Intuitive Life Coach and Published Author

Lorrie Caplan graduated Northeast High School in 1971. She is a passionate and involved alumnus, participating in class reunions and keeping in close touch with many of her classmates. She has announced that she will host and plan the 55th reunion for her class, which will be held in 2026.

A student of Gilbert Spruance Elementary School and Fels Junior High, she arrived at Northeast High School in 1968.

Lorrie is an intuitive life coach for 35 years, an abstract watercolor and acrylic painter, a published author and a professional pop song writer. Her book, “Giving Birth to My Parents,” was published in 2012. It is a love letter to her parents.

Lorrie reaches hundreds with empowering words and speaks with clear intention. Her infectious enthusiasm, enormous courage, commitment and understanding team together to transform the lives of those who find her upon their paths.

In 2014, her abstract watercolors and acrylics were featured at the world’s largest fine arts gallery, the Holtzman Gallery at the Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ.  Her art also graced 23 floors of Caesars Hotel Atlantic City, NJ at the Centurion Towers as hotel art.

She has lived in New York City, Los Angeles CA and Boulder CO before returning to live in Rittenhouse Square in Center City in 2022. She was married to Stephen Shern, a successful photographer and Creative Food Stylist for 36 years before his passing.

She currently has a Rittenhouse Square Studio/gallery. She has achieved great success with her art and her love for life.  You can see her work at her website

Harris Devor

Harris is a nationally recognized forensic accountant.  He has been practicing for the past 50 years and remains in high demand in both the United States and internationally, in large, high-profile cases involving financial fraud. He is often retained as an expert by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, State Attorneys General and, in many cases involving large Securities  Class Actions and fraud, by some of the most prestigious law firms in the world.

He has worked in such renowned matters as the Enron/Arthur Andersen case, the Bernard Madoff matter, specifically involving the largest feeder fund into it and

PricewaterhouseCoopers, its auditor, the Lehman Brothers collapse, the WorldCom/Arthur Andersen matter, many of the MBS cases stemming from the financial collapse of 2008 involving some of the largest banks in the world, and countless others. He has testified in Federal and International Courts many times in his career and his forte is distilling and explaining complex financial concepts to judges and juries.

Harris has also spent many years in giving back to his community. He has been on the Boards of The Pennsylvania Innocence Project, The Senior Law Center and is currently on the Board of Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, to name a few. He is also a national leader of the Pro-Israel community in the United States, often spending time in DC and elsewhere with Members of the Senate and House of Representatives in discussion of legislative initiatives designed to keep Israel safe and secure.

Harris was born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia (Large St. and Princeton Ave.!!) and proudly graduated from Northeast High School (Class of’68) and Temple University (Class of ’73), from which he graduated with highest honors from the Business School. In recognition of its 100th anniversary, Temple University’s Fox School of Business selected Harris and 99 others who helped shape the school and the business world in those 100 years to be included on the Fox 100 Wall of Honor. Harris served in the US Air Force on active duty and then reserve status for 6 years.

For the last 43 years of his life, Harris has been surrounded by three incredible women – the love of his life – Debra – and his two daughters, Elizabeth and Rachel.  His first grandchild is on the way!

He has resided in Center City, Philadelphia for most of his adult life.

Dara Ruiz

Dara Ruiz Whalen is a member of the 1989 graduating class at Northeast High School (148). She earned her Bachelor’s in Science Education with a focus in Biology (’95) and her Master’s in Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology in Education (’01) from Temple University. With her Science Education PhD defense date set for later this year, she is working towards her Temple Triple Owl and the development of collaborative professional development programs.

At Northeast, Dara’s academic interests were supported by her teachers. Susan Cohen Smith prompted a shy, art student to take her first teaching role, and anatomy & physiology teacher, Anthony (Tony) Matarazzo, was a role model for developing her science professor persona. It was also during this time that Dara also met her now-husband Matt Whalen.

At Temple, Dara was a biology education major & completed her student teaching back at Northeast. Her training was with Dr. Richard Black and Harvey Kaufman (deceased). These two role models helped Dara develop her strong “front of the room” presence and after graduation, Dara vowed to positively impact science education in Philly. The next two decades served her well as she taught A&P at a local community college and at the lab at world-renowned institutions, including Princeton University and Fox Chase Cancer Center.

It was during her time at Fox Chase, as the Education Direction of the Immersion Science Program that she and her collaborator: Alana O’Reilly, shared a dream of designing new ways to train scientists and support science education. They launched the ISP in 2013, and by 2018 over 1,000 students, annually, were contributing scientific data through classroom projects. With this exponential growth and the institution’s best wishes, in 2019 Dara & Alana became founders of their own non-profit entity: eCLOSE Institute.

As co-Executive Director and Chief Learning Officer of eCLOSE, Dara has developed programs to support equity for participants through workforce development, science teacher PD’s, and student research trainings to engage scientists as young as 5th grade!

Dara has presented her work to the Society for Developmental Biology, the National Science Teachers Association, and the Citizen Science Association. Recently she spoke at the National Institutes of Health-SciEd Virtual Conference to discuss creating science spaces for teachers and students in biomedical research. As a co-founder of eCLOSE, she has been jointly awarded local, national, and international awards in research training and science education. With the support of her colleagues, collaborators, her husband and three amazing children: Zach, Griffin, and Rory, Dara looks forward to sharing what is possible when committed people come together from higher education, public schools, and research institutions.

NEHS Alumni Hall of Fame Archives