2009 Excellence Award Recipients

The University at Albany Alumni Association traditionally recognizes alumni and friends of the University for their outstanding achievements and service to the University and community. These individuals personify the University's commitment to excellence and service and bring distinction to themselves and to our alma mater.

Citizen of the University
G. Thomas Selfridge

 Distinguished Alumni Award
Anne Case B.S.’80

 Bertha E. Brimmer Medal
Helen C. Stuetzel,
M.S.’79, C.A.S.’82, Ph.D.’91

 International Alumni Award
for Exceptional Achievement

George T.J. Chen M.S.’71, Ph.D.’74

Excellence in
Alumni Service Award

Stacy J. Kanter B.S.’79

Excellence in
Arts and Letters Award

Frank Whaley B.A.’87

Excellence in Business Award
Michael Carmen B.S.’84

Excellence in
Community Service Award

Robert E. Kittredge B.A.’49

Excellence in Entrepreneurship
Laurence Austin B.A.’81

Excellence in Public Service
Vincent J. Abramo B.A.’67

Excellence in
Science & Technology
Paul D. Amer B.S.’74

 

  Excellence in Education Award
Piyush Agrawal
M.S.’72, Ed.S.’77, Ed.D.’79


Dr. Joseph Emmanuel Bowman, Jr. 
B.A’72, M.L.S.’74, M.A.’75


Citizen of the University

 

G. Thomas Selfridge

Tom Selfridge says more needs to be done to develop a pro-business stance in the Capital Region, and he has devoted his energy and resources to helping to make that happen. Selfridge is the owner of the Schenectady-based Albany Valve & Fitting Co., which is involved with process control and instrumentation, making components designed for fluid system applications.

Selfridge has been a staunch supporter of the University’s nanotechnology efforts and its incubator program for many years. “With demonstrated passion, unwavering dedication, and longstanding support for the UAlbany NanoCollege, Tom Selfridge exemplifies the enabling role that technology and business leaders must play in ensuring the availability of the competitive educational and workforce training opportunities to groom the next generation of scientists and engineers,” said Alain Kaloyeros, senior vice president and chief executive officer of UAlbany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE).

In 2001, Selfridge created a new fellowship for UAlbany graduate students in nanosciences and materials, allowing students to be trained on the latest equipment in microelectronics and nanotechnology. “His creation of the Albany Valve & Fitting Company Graduate Fellowship at CNSE has provided deserving students with a critical pathway into the high-technology sector, fostering exciting and lucrative career possibilities while also helping to build a skilled workforce in Albany and New York State to sustain and grow the nanotechnology economy of the 21st century,” Kaloyeros said.

“We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Tom for sharing his leadership, vision, and intellectual and financial resources, and we look forward to continuing to grow our successful partnership, which truly represents the very best of public-private cooperation and collaboration,” said Kaloyeros.

Selfridge also has demonstrated his commitment to the University as a member of The University at Albany Foundation board, which he has served since July 2001. The Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the University and plays a central role in fundraising, asset management and stewardship. Selfridge currently serves on The Foundation’s Development Committee. He also has been a member of The University at Albany Foundation Council for Economic Outreach. The Council represents a partnership formed in the early 1990s with the primary goal of contributing to the economic development of the Capital Region by promoting opportunities for University-business-government collaboration.

“Tom has been a dynamic champion for the University at Albany,” said University at Albany Interim President George M. Philip ’69, ’73. “He is a one of the most successful technology and business leaders in the region, and we’ve been fortunate to benefit from his substantial businessexperience and vision.”.

Return to list of 2009 Award Recipients


Distinguished Alumni

Anne Case B.S. '80

Anne Case is the Alexander Stewart 1886 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs and a professor of economics and public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the economics department at Princeton University. She also is the director of the Research Program in Development Studies and a faculty Fellow in two research centers sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson School, the Center for Health and Wellbeing and the Office of Population Research. But, as colleagues are quick to point out, she is so much more than “just an academic.”

Case is an acknowledged leader in the field of development economics. “In the area of health and development economics, she is truly a leader, among the best-known researchers in the world,” says colleague Kaushik Basu, chair of Cornell University’s Department of Economics and director of its Center for Analytic Economics. “Her works are cited widely, used for teaching, and often serve as the foundation for new questions and research.”

Case has conducted influential research in a number of important areas. Her research includes contributions to political economy,economic development and health economics. “Her work is empirical and policy oriented,” said Christine Paxon, Hughes- Rogers Professor of Economics and Public Affairs and chair of the Department of Economics at Princeton University. “She is known for her ability to ask important questions and to bring evidence to bear on those questions in a careful and compelling manner.”

“It is difficult to come up with a simple measure of the level of influence any economist has had, but one way to do this is to look at numbers of citations his or her publications have received,” suggested Paxon. “Professor Case has 16 papers that have received over 100 citations each. This is a record any academic economist would be proud of.”

But there is much more to Case than academics, note her colleagues, who point to her commitment to improving health and quality of life. “She is very much engaged in the world of public policy and her research is meant to inform policy decisions,” Paxon said. For more than a decade, Case has worked with South African collaborators on projects that have shed light on the cost of HIV/AIDS to families and children, and the growing health risks of diabetes and obesity in South Africa. “This research demonstrates a genuine interest in conducting research that serves the public good,” Paxon said.

“As well as being a distinguished economist, Anne has been involved in many policy efforts, especially in South Africa,” concurred Abhijit Banerjee, Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Her work has been an important influence on the design of better policies for the promotion of health and redistribution of income. Her work is both visible and very influential.”

Return to list of 2009 Award Recipients



Bertha Brimmer Medal

Helen C. Stuetzel, M.S.’79, C.A.S.’82, Ph.D.’91

Honors Teacher. Facilitator. Consultant. Principal. Regardless of the role she has taken on, Helen Stuetzel has committed her time and energy to creating learning environments where children are challenged to succeed and encouraged to flourish.

Stuetzel holds New York State certifications as an elementary teacher, reading teacher and school administrator at both building and district levels. She currently serves as principal for the Ballston Spa Middle School in Ballston Spa, New York, which houses approximately 1,100 students.

Previously, Stuetzel served as the district’s director of instruction for nine years, as an elementary principal in another district, and as a classroom and remedial reading teacher at several levels. In addition to these public school experiences, Stuetzel has taught at community colleges and at the graduate level for several colleges in the Capital District, including the University at Albany. Her primary interests include assessment, program development, teacher training and children's literature. She has worked with many school districts on their literacy efforts and continues to offer professional development sessions and present at local, regional and national conferences.

Stuetzel has been praised by parents, students and colleagues alike for her outstanding work as a teacher and administrator, although she would argue these are one and the same. A former student wrote: “She works to better the school community. She is supportive of the students and she never seems to get tired of what she does. She is excited by her students’ achievements and moved by their challenges.”

Under Stuetzel’s leadership, the middle school has flourished and standardized test scores have been on rise. “Dr. Stuetzel has transported the school into a studentfocused, vibrant and exciting facility that nurtures students through their often difficult middle-school years,” said one Ballston Spa parent. “She has a special gift for communicating with the student body that gets her message out with a positive impact.”

Stuetzel is a strong literacy advocate and is known for using literary quotes and phrases when talking to her students. “She teaches each and every one of her middle-school students daily by beginning the school day telling them on the loudspeaker, through new vocabulary and different expressions, to have a good day and to try to do their best,” said Robert Bangert-Drowns, acting dean of the University at Albany’s School of Education. “This is just another example of Helen’s desire to get in touch with her students and to inspire them to achieve.”

Supporters point to Stuetzel’s sense of collaboration as one of the main reasons for her success. “She recognizes the importance of each stakeholder in the successful education of our children,” said Katrinka Scarff, a teacher at Ballston Spa Middle School. “She treats students, parents, teachers, colleagues and members of the community with respect, encouraging their involvement in the educational effort. She gives them opportunities for input, demonstrates respect for their ideas and recognizes them for their contributions. She is a great leader, setting and maintaining high expectations for lifelong learning and academic growth for both her students and faculty.”

Return to list of 2009 Award Recipients


International Alumni Award
for Exceptional Achievement

George T.J. Chen M.S.’71, Ph.D.’74

One of the most esteemed scientists in the earth-science research community in Taiwan, George T.J Chen also is the academic vice president of National Taiwan University (NTU), arguably the most prestigious university in Taiwan. It is this blending of administrative excellence and scientific achievement that makes him such a powerful force in Taiwan and across the globe.

Chen, who earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in atmospheric science from the University at Albany, joined the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at National Taiwan University, now the leading department of meteorology in Taiwan. He is a world-renowned scientist whose research includes various aspects of synoptic and mesoscale meteorology.

“Professors Chen’s contribution is fundamental to the birth and growth of modern meteorology in Taiwan,” said Ching-Hua Lo, dean of the College of Science at National Taiwan University. “His research, which includes ... monsoons, Mei-Yu fronts and mesoscale climatology, has exerted great influences on practitioners in these fields. He also has successfully initiated many international collaboration projects working on the climate/weather studies in East Asia. The projects have greatly improved the weather forecast capability, and therefore have made great contributions to the economic and social developments in this region.”

In addition to research and teaching, Chen has been a leader in educational reform in Taiwan. Chen introduced the re-assessment and the distinguished/chair professor systems to ensure high quality of teaching and research performance at University faculties, a move which has been adopted by many other universities in Taiwan. While serving as chairman of the course-reform committee of high-school Earth ScienceEducation, Chen reformed high-school education so that the concepts of global change, sustainability and environmental protection were adopted.

Chen’s supporters span the globe. “What impresses me the most ... is that George has been able to maintain a very active research profile ... while maintaining a heavy administrative burden that would ‘kill’ most people,” said Lance Bosart, University at Albany Distinguished Professor and Chen’s former academic and thesis advisor. “That George has been the president of the Meteorological Society of the Republic of China, the president of the Chinese Geophysical Union, the dean and then vice president of Academic Affairs at National Taiwan University (NTU), a distinguished professor at NTU and now a NTU chair professor speaks volumes about his national and international standing.”

Chun-Chieh Wu, professor and chairman of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at National Taiwan University, noted that Chen has received some of the most prestigious scientific and scholar awards in Taiwan. “Over the last 33 years, he has been serving as a leading scientist and a prominent scholar in Taiwan. He has made significant contributions to Taiwan, not
only in the research community, but also in the entire educational community. Dr. Chen is not just the pride of NTU, and of Taiwan, but also of the University at Albany.”

Return to list of 2009 Award Recipients


Excellence in Alumni Service

Stacy J. Kanter B.S.’79

Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business lists Stacy Kanter as one of the leading individual capital markets lawyers in New York for debt and equity, noting that “she has the ability to make deals happen.” That comes as no surprise to the University at Albany’s School of Business, where Kanter has been helping make things happen as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board since 2001.

Kanter, who earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University at Albany in 1979, is a partner at the New York law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates. She is co-head of Skadden’s Corporate Finance Group, where she represents corporate clients and investment banks in a variety of transactions, including public and private offerings of equity and debt securities, exchange offers, consent solicitations, corporate restructurings, and mergers and acquisitions.

She has advised on numerous initial public offerings and other offerings registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including shelf registrations, as well as offerings exempt from registration pursuant to Rule 144A and Regulation S. In addition, Kanter counsels corporate clients on an ongoing basis, advising on disclosure issues, corporate governance and general corporate matters. Kanter was included in Crain’s New York Business’ annual list of the 40 top business leaders under age 40 and has repeatedly been selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. “Despite her demanding schedule, Stacy has always found time for service to her alma mater,” said School of Business Dean Donald Siegel. “Using her expertise, she has advised the school on issues from faculty retention to on-campus recruiting. She is an enthusiastic board member, offering to host board meetings so faculty and students can make presentations. She is always focused and asks insightful questions of our faculty. She maintains an interest in the School's undergraduate education and takes an interest in student/faculty mentoring opportunities.”

Kanter’s generosity extends far and includes a hand in endowing a research fund for School of Business faculty. Fellow board member Joan Rosenthal ’76 says she sees Kanter’s support as a “combination of ideas, participation and ‘vision,’ as well as substantive support.”

She points to Kanter’s unwavering support in starting and growing the UAlbany Professional Women's Network, which brings alumnae of UAlbany together to network and provide a sense of community for successful female executives. “When the idea was presented to her, very early on, she immediately offered terrific suggestions, hosted the network’s first meeting and has subsequently hosted, as well. Stacy has sought speakers for the event, and has reached out to classmates and others to join in. Without Stacy, this important effort to reach half of the University’s alumni would not have happened at all. She is a highly supportive and crucial member of the UAlbany alumni community.”

Return to list of 2009 Award Recipients


Excellence in Arts & Letters

Frank Whaley B.A.’87

Actor, director, writer: Frank Whaley can – and does – do it all. He's a gifted actor who turned writer and director, preferring the challenge of seeing a project transform from beginning to end. Whaley studied theater at the University at Albany and New York City’s Actors Studio. Ironically, he made his film debut in 1987’s “Ironweed,” based on the novel by William Kennedy, one of Whaley’s former teachers at UAlbany.

“The term ‘triple threat’ perfectly  describes Frank Whaley, for he is an exceptional actor, writer, and director,” said playwright Jonathan Marc Sherman. “His uncompromising search for truth indeed threatens – threatens to shake audiences from their comfortableassumptions about what it means to love one another, warts and all. His work expertly finds the humor in pain, and the sorrowful rage in that hollow space that hides underneath so much laughter. I am in awe of both his gifts and his bravery.”

After his screen debut in “Ironweed,” Whaley appeared in a number of made-for- TV movies and then earned a supporting role in the 1989 film “Field of Dreams.” These turns, plus his harrowing portrayal of a heroin-addicted Vietnam vet in Oliver Stone's “Born on the Fourth of July,” helped him land his first leading role in 1990's “Career Opportunities.” A substantial role in “The Freshman” followed, and Whaley was then firmly on the Hollywood map. He worked consistently throughout the following decade, turning in particularly strong performances in films such as “PulpFiction,” “The Doors,” “Hoffa,” “Swing Kids,” “Swimming with Sharks,” “Homage,” “Field Of Dreams,” “Broken Arrow” and most recently “Vacancy” and “World Trade Center.” Whaley has been seen in countless television shows and movies, including notable appearances on “House,” “Boston Legal,” “CSI,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and opposite Ben Kingsley and Annette Benning in HBO'S “Mrs. Harris.”

In 1999, Whaley made his directorial debut with “Joe the King,” a semi-autobiographical account of an abused and neglected adolescent that earned him the prestigious Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2002, he wrote, directed and starred in his critically acclaimed second feature, “The Jimmy Show.” Whaley's third film as writer and director, “New York City,” premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival.

“Frank possesses an acute ability to make anything he is working on entirely his own. In his many film roles – like “Pulp Fiction,” “Hoffa” or “Vacancy,” he brings to the character a fullness and imagination far beyond what is written on the page,” said Heather Bucha Whaley, noted playwright and author. “This creativity inspires the actors that are lucky enough to work with him as a director. I have been fortunate to have him direct two plays I have written and have seen firsthand how he brings an energy and enthusiasm to the stage that transcends over the whole cast and crew. I have also been fortunate enough to collaborate with him as a writer, and his wit is unparalleled. But beyond his ingenious sense of humor, he can, with a few lines of dialog, create something entirely truthful and beautiful. He is a true artist, uncompromising in his integrity and dedicated to illuminating our lives.”



Return to list of 2009 Award Recipients

 

Excellence in Business

Michael Carmen B.S.’84

Michael Carmen believes in following his instincts and his passions, and that philosophy has led him to a highly successful position as a senior vice president, partner and equity portfolio manager with Wellington Management Company in Boston, Mass.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University at Albany, Carmen took a position with Goldstein Golub Kessler, but decided accounting just wasn’t right for him. A position or two and an M.B.A. later, he began his career in the investment industry as a technology analyst with Cigna Investments. Carmen joined State Street Research and Management in 1992 as an equity portfolio manager, and subsequently made strategic moves to Montgomery Asset Management and Kobrick Funds. In 1999, he made what he considers his best move: to equity portfolio manager for Wellington Management. He was elected partner in 2002.

As an equity portfolio manager, Carmen manages institutional portfolios in the Multi-Cap Growth styles. He draws on research provided by the firm’s regional and global industry analysts and other global research resources within the firm. “In his near-decade as my colleague, Michael has distinguished himself as an investment star,” said Saul Pannell, a partner atWellington Management. “He has been recognized nationally for his investment success, and the fruits of that success have been tangibly evident in the account statements of his mutual fund and institutional clients.” “Michael Carmen is an impressive investor by any objective measure,” agreed Kenny Abrams, a senior vice president and equity portfolio manager with Wellington. “He has outperformed markets consistently and substantially for a wide variety of Wellington Management Company’s clients for almost a decade. As a senior partner of the firm, he also is counted on to provide investment insights to a broad range of other investors. He has been a very early and successful investor in the global marketplace; his investment acumen spans many countries and markets from China to Brazil to the United States.”

Colleagues also praise Carmen for his commitment to the growth of young professionals. “He has a track record of mentoring and developing young investment talent for the firm,” Abrams noted. “His efforts in personnel development and professional education have contributed to our firm’s success over the years, especially relative to our many competitors,” added Pannell.

Benjamin Bloomstone ’79, a managing partner at Cross Shore Capital Management, said Carmen is known in the financial community for his “professionalism, business acumen and integrity.” These are qualities he has shared with his alma mater as well, notes Bloomstone, who, with Carmen, is a member of the University at Albany’s School of Business Deans Advisory Board. Most recently, Carmen has been a strong proponent of the new School of Business building. “He likes to see upward trajectory in anything he’s involved in,” Bloomstone said. “He would not be so invested if he did not think the University at Albany was on the right path for future success.”  

Return to list of 2009 Award Recipients


Excellence in Community Service

Robert E. Kittredge B.A.’49

Stone Soup Fresno is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support the health, safety, education and civic engagement of Southeast Asian refugee families in the Fresno, California, area. The name “Stone Soup” is taken from an old folk talein which everyone contributes what little they have to make a soup to benefit the whole community. If you play out this metaphor, Robert Kittredge would have to be the head chef, deciding on the menu, identifying and gathering the ingredients, recruiting the assistant chefs and then feeding his neighbors.

Kittredge, a retired faculty member at California State University, Fresno (CSU), came to respect the courage and tenacity of the thousands of Southeast Asian refugees who faced incredible adversity to reach the United States after the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam. More than 40,000 now live in the Fresno metropolitan area. Kittredge served as an advisor to CSU’s Hmong Student Association for many years. Upon retirement in 1992, he co-founded Stone Soup Fresno to address critical needs in the poverty-stricken, crime-ridden neighborhood adjacent to the university campus, rallying
support throughout the community.

“I was instantly impressed with Bob’s vision, understanding of the depth of thechallenges involved and innovative ideas for intervention,” said Kathleen Garabed, a refugee settlement worker who became director of Stone Soup. “Bob moves gracefully between the macro and micro worlds of service. He carries big ideas forward and attends to the concerns of individuals in need. He is the ultimate community builder, pulling together partnerships from academia; the faith, business and philanthropic communities; as well as government to address critical issues.”

“His leadership has allowed immigrant families like mine to move forward and find their voice and place in America,” said MaiKa Yang, who met Kittredge as a teenager. “He epitomizes the most honest and compassionate kind of altruism. He gives without expecting anything in return. When I grow up, I want to be just like Dr. Bob.” Kittredge’s efforts and those of Stone Soup were recognized in 1996 when Kittredge traveled to Washington, D.C., to receive the “1,000 Points of Light Award” from President Clinton.

Kittredge’s service extends well beyond Stone Soup. He is a member of the executive committee of the Central California Forum on Refugee Affairs (CCFRA), where he addresses employment and education issues and has helped raised thousands of dollars for student scholarships, enabling hundreds of Southeast Asian refugees to achieve their goals of higher education. He also helped found a suicide prevention hotline, volunteered as a consultant and speaker for a variety of mental health agencies, is a member of the local Rotary, and has traveled to Thailand and Vietnam to work with Habitat for Humanity. “

As a consensus builder in working with colleagues with diverse cultural backgrounds, he is able to help others see commonalities rather than differences, said Fuehoua Thao, chair of CCFRA anda member of a refugee family who found welcome at Stone Soup. “I am encouraged all the time by his tireless dedication and insight into the betterment

Return to list of 2009 Award Recipients


Excellence in Education

Piyush Agrawal M.S.’72, Ed.S.’77, Ed.D.’79

Dr. Piyush Chandra Agrawal is a rare combination of professional education expert, successful business entrepreneur, and well-respected community service activist and philanthropist.

Strengthened by six University degrees, Agrawal has served the field of education for more than 40 years. His career has spanned four continents – Asia, Europe, Africa and North America. His broad range of assignments extended from classroom teaching to serving as a United Nations expert and a superintendent of schools. Agrawal has served as a consultant and advisor to numerous organizations, including the United Nations Development Program, UNESCO and the National Science Foundation. He has more than two dozen publications to his credit.

In 1994, Agrawal was appointed to the U.S. 2000 Census Advisory Committee on the Asian and Pacific Islander Populations for a three-year term; he served two additional terms and five years as chairman. In 2004, Florida Governor Jeb Bush appointed Agrawal to the board of directors of Florida Fund for Minority Teachers (FFMT). That same year, he was appointed by the State of Florida to serve on the Racial & Ethnic Health Disparity Advisory Committee, which he currently chairs. Agrawal has been reappointed to the FFMT board by the new governor, Charlie Crist.

“Education is his passion,” said Ved Chaudhary, president of Educators Society for the Heritage of India. “He’s demonstrated exceptional ability, commitment and dedication in serving the education profession and the Asian American community.” As an example of his commitment, Chaudhary points to Agrawal’s substantial donation to build a college for girls in the rural area of India where he was born. Agrawal’s passion for education is matched by his commitment to civic and social non-profit organizations. “For many years, Dr. Agrawal has worked as a dedicated national leader to help immigrants from India to become an integral part of the American mainstream,” said Dr. Joy Cherian, president of the Association of Americans for Civic Responsibility and former U.S. Commissioner of EEOC. “I have long admired his selfless work to educate United States citizens and immigrants about their rights for equal education and employment opportunities.”

Agrawal has successfully spearheaded efforts to unite the Indian community in the United States by creating informal coalitions among the various national organizations. He has been elected twice as the national president of the Association of Indians in America – the oldest Asian Indian organization in the United States. He is the current chairman of Asian American Federation of Florida, Asian American Foundation, Asian American Alliance, and the Asian American Community forum – all of which serve the Asian American community in Florida. He also serves as the national coordinator – United States and regional vice president for the North America Region (USA & Canada) for the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, serving the worldwide Indian Diaspora. Recently, Agrawal spearheaded a major initiative, in cooperation with other community leaders, to make the U.S.-India Nuclear Treaty a reality.


Minnesota State Chief Information Officer Gopal Khanna describes Piyush as a person of “fine intellect and endearing persona. He is respected for his collaborative leadership style and, in my opinion, the socio-economic and political impact of his work will benefit America for decades.”

Return to list of 2009 Award Recipients



Excellence in Education

Dr. Joseph Emmanuel Bowman, Jr.  B.A’72, M.L.S.’74, M.A.’75

In 2001, Joseph Bowman was elected to the Board of Regents of the State of New York, which oversees one of the largest and most diverse public school systems in the country. It was just one more step in Bowman’s quest to improve education in the state, particularly for disadvantaged populations.

Bowman is an associate service professor in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice at the University at Albany. His research has focused on questions of access and equity to technology and content for urban and rural communities. “As long as I have known him, he has been committed to the education of urban and minority youth,” said Karen Swan, a research professor at Kent State. While working at the Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, Bowman founded the Center for Urban Youth and Technology (CUYT), which he brought to UAlbany in 1994.


CUYT develops programs in research, instructional and curriculum design relating to technology and its impact on rural and urban communities. CUYT has been involved with the volunteer Science Technology Entry Program (STEP) at UAlbany for several years, providing middle- and high-school students with support in science, math and technology. “The idea behind CUYT, indeed behind almost all of Joe’s work, is that putting marginalized youth in control of 21st-century media also puts them in charge of their own learning and enhances their chance of academic success,” Swan said.

“Joe has put this idea into action through his work with the STEP program ... through the Cyberhood Kids project at the elementary school  level; through his work with the One Hundred Black Men of the Capital District to help develop community-based technology centers across the state; and most especially through his work as a Regent of the State of New York,” Swan explained. “Many of us talk about the importance of improving educational opportunities for all children; Joe has spent his life doing so.”

Bowman has traveled around the world, advising and collaborating on technology transfer, education, distance learning and economic development issues in such countries as South Africa, Egypt, Barbados, Senegal and Gambia. He has served on numerous advisory boards, including the Asian Educational Resource Center, where he helped develop study materials that include Web site development, CD-ROMs on Asian studies and a TechAsia teachertraining component. In March 2009, he was re-elected to a five- year term on the Board of Regents of the State of New York. “

As a Regent, professor and scholar, Dr. Bowman has been a strong advocate for access to information technologies for disadvantaged populations,” said Robert
Bangert-Drowns, acting dean of the University at Albany’s School of Education. “He continually strives for success – success in quality instruction, and success in improving access to education and technology. Through his teaching, mentoring and leadership, Joe has served as an example to guide his students and colleagues toward lifelong learning for more than 25 years.”

Return to list of 2009 Award Recipients

Excellence In Entrepreneurship

Laurence Austin B.A.’81

Laurence Austin learned all about seizing opportunities at the University at Albany, where the educational experience prepared him well for the challenges of starting, managing and assuming the risks of owning his own business.

Austin, an underachiever in high school, was accepted to the University at Albany in 1976 through the Educational Opportunity Program, which provided him academic mentoring and financial aid. Austin decided to make the most of the opportunity and began to focus his energy on making good grades and gaining valuable experience. After a summer job on Wall Street, he began taking all of the economics courses he could.

Moving to Tucson, Ariz., at the height of the 1981 recession, Austin briefly waited tables before landing a job making copies of research reports at Merrill Lynch. He read the reports and began his climb to success in the securities industry, working six years for Merrill Lynch, then joining a boutique investment banking firm on Long Island, Adams Cohen, where he specialized in buying and selling banks and other financial institutions.

In 1994, Austin decided to leverage his experience in the financial services industry; he and a partner founded Endeavour Capital Advisors, a research-driven hedge fund based in Greenwich, Conn. Austin serves as chairman of the firm, which now employs 13 people.

“As the co-founder of Endeavour Capital Advisors, Larry has spent the past 15 years navigating the financial markets and generating exceptional returns for his investors,” said Mitchell Katz, co-founder of Endeavour Capital. “What makes sense? What is fair and reasonable? What are the consequences of this decision? These questions highlight the prism through which Larry Austin leads his professional life.Larry's business success has been achieved through a unique ability to process information rationally and make level-headed decisions in difficult times.”

In a highly competitive and often cutthroat field, Austin has earned a reputation not only for the quality of his investments, but for the quality of his character. “I have known Larry for the past six years, first as a prospective investor and currently as a colleague,” said Ted Wright, chief market strategist and managing director at Endeavour. “Among the things that impresses me most about Larry is his character. In the hedge-fund profession, managers are known for their combative and maverick deportment. This makes for a most undesirable working climate. During the period I was doing due diligence on Endeavour Capital, I realized how cordial employees were to one another, and found out that this culture was a reflection of how Larry and his partner, Mitch Katz, acted towards their employees.”

Austin’s business savvy and relationship building have earned him the respect and admiration of competitors, colleagues, employees and investors. “Larry is widely known as one of the truly good people in his industry,” Katz said.

Return to list of 2009 Award Recipients


Excellence in Public Service

Vincent J. Abramo B.A.’67

As a young man, Vince Abramo served an apprenticeship as a bricklayer in downtown Albany. Today he is a senior public servant in the United States Department of State. His rare combination of practical knowledge of building trades and his sophisticated understanding of national security and international relations, combined with a deep respect for each individual, has made him a success.

Abramo is the construction safety and occupational health manager, Overseas Buildings Operations, U.S. Department of State. Since 1992, he has provided oversight of global construction contracts on new construction and major renovations of U.S. embassy projects. On any given day, the 60 or so labor contracts he oversees may cover 15,000-17,000 construction workers, most of whom are foreign nationals. “He works to ensure that work and livingenvironments are safe and clean, employment agreements are kept, workers are respected, and wages are fair,” saidJeffrey Straussman, dean of the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College.

“Vince believes that treating foreign national construction workers fairly and with dignity while they are building our embassies and consulates is a very effective way to improve the opinion that the rest of the world has of the United States. He is humane and unassuming. Every individual is important to Vince, and he has the unique ability to interact effectively and comfortably with everyone from UnitedStates ambassadors to students to manual laborers,” Straussman said.

For the past 35 years, Abramo’s career in international affairs has taken him to more than 130 countries. He is a member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law & National Security and a member of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency’s National Defense Intelligence College Alumni Foundation. Abramo is the chair of the International Opportunities Committee of the Rockefeller College Advisory Board at the University at Albany.

From 1984-92, Abramo was the founder and director of Construction Management Training International, a consulting effort established to serve U.S. government agencies, the World Bank, and the U.S.-China Business Roundtable in outreach efforts to the People’s Republic of China. Earlier, he served as an adjunct professor at the Institute of Labor Management Relations, Rutgers University, and as a director of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Job Corps construction training programs, which he expanded from 12 centers in 1976 to 38 centers in 1981. At its peak, the program trained more than 42,000 inner-city youth for construction industry jobs each year.

Abramo began his career in the early ’70s as a foreign service officer at the U.S. Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C., as chief of construction and vocational education programs, Africa Bureau. “I can still recall him describing his work overseeing Corps projects in Sub-Saharan Africa to provide clean drinking water in native villages,” said longtime friend Gary Spielmann, ’66, ’68, ’81. “His eyes lit up. What most impressed me was his genuine caring and concern for the people whose needs were so basic and their means so meager. This humanitarian spirit has never left him.”

Return to list of 2009 Award Recipients


Excellence in Science & Technology

Paul D. Amer B.S.’74 

Paul Amer clearly loves a good puzzle. Visit his Web site, and you’ll see a whole section devoted to them. What makes him such a good puzzle solver? Curiosity, persistence,love of a challenge and the ability to think outside the box. Extend these same attributes to his work, and it’s easy to see why Amer has had such an outstanding career in the field of computer protocols.

Amer is a Distinguished Professor in the Computer and Information ScienceDepartment at the University of Delaware, Newark, DE (UD). He also holds a joint appointment with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UD and directs UD’s Protocol Engineering  Laboratory, which focuses on the development of cutting-edge techniques to improve Internet performance.

“Professor Amer’s research has established him as a world-renowned expert in computer network protocols,” said UD Professor Adarsh Sethi. Amer’s early
research in protocol specification and verification led to the development of Estelle, a language used for specifying network protocols, which is now a standard of the International Standards Organization. Since its approval as an international standard in 1989, Amer has published 28 papers related to his work on Estelle.

“More recently, Professor Amer has made significant contributions to the development of the Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP),” Sethi noted. SCTP is a new transport layer protocol developed as an alternative to TCP and UDP, the popular standard transport protocols used on the Internet. SCTP is considered to be better suited for multimedia applications than the current standards, and has wider applicability to many emerging defense and commercial scenarios that require transmission of images. “Paul’s research contributions are widely recognized as creative, innovative, major advances in network technology that will impact Internet performance worldwide,” said Professor Sandra Carberry, Amer’s colleague and former chair in the Department of Computer Science at UD.

Carberry and Sethi both praise Amer for his commitment to finding practical applications for his research, which they say has resulted in continuous and vigorous support of his work by numerous external grants. Supporters include the Office of Naval Research; the National Science Foundation; Army Research Laboratory, Army Research Office; and Cisco Systems, among others. He has published more than 115 papers in journals, books, and highly selective refereed conferences, and is a much-sought-after presenter at universities, conferences and research laboratories.

“The aspect of his research that I find most striking is his attention to detail and quality. He is the most thorough and meticulous person I have ever met,” Sethi said. “Where other people would be easily satisfied with the product of a research project, he carries it on to the point of perfection, where he has examined it from all possible angles and has ensured that all the results have met his exacting standards. I have observed Professor Amer’s systematic, stepby- step approach towards solving a difficult research problem over the course of manyyears and have been greatly impressed by the progression of outstanding results produced in what had appeared to be an intractable problem.”

Return to list of 2009 Award Recipients