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Alumni Association Honors UAlbany Graduates for Lasting Connections, Career Achievements

The 2011 University at Albany Alumni Association honorees.

A UAlbany professor researching the origins of life, an alumnus serving as vice minister of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, an Albany family doctor who makes house calls to the poor and infirm, and a popular historian who covers topics from presidential races to baseball are among 13 who will be honored with the 2011 University at Albany Alumni Association Excellence Awards.

The award winners will be recognized at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, at the Crowne Plaza, State and Lodge streets, Albany.

2011 Excellence Awards Recipients
University at Albany Alumni Association

• Citizen of the University – University at Albany Distinguished Teaching Professor John W. Delano is among the leading scientists in the nation, researching the origins of life and the composition of the planets. After receiving his doctorate in geochemistry from SUNY Stony Brook in 1977, Delano researched astrobiology with NASA, which he continues today with colleagues from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He served on scientific panels for NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF), and provided testimony before a presidential commission in 2004 to address NASA’s strategic goals for space flight. Delano, who has taught at UAlbany for nearly three decades, shares his excitement about science with his students.

• Distinguished Alumni Award Richard Lehrer, Ph.D. ’83, is an internationally known scholar and pioneering researcher whose work focuses on the design of learning environments in mathematics and science education, and restoring American prominence in the sciences. As the Frank W. Mayborn Professor at Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University, his ground-breaking research has changed the way educators view the nature and complexity of the mathematics and science that young students can master.  His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Education, and the Institute of Education Sciences.

 Bertha E. Brimmer Medal Deborah Mayne Brandau, C.A.S. ’90, Ph.D. ’94, taught for 30 years in the Wheelerville Union Free School District, a small rural region in New York’s Adirondack Mountains region. She has been a K-8 remedial and developmental reading and writing teacher, and also has taught technology, science, home and careers, and writing. She worked with children with disabilities as well as gifted students. Brandau retired from public school teaching in 2010 and continues to teach graduate-level literacy courses at UAlbany as an adjunct instructor in the School of Education’s Online Teaching Program.

• International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement Zhang Laiwu, Ph.D.’95, is vice minister of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, which develops national policies to foster science and technology as well as research and development. After earning a doctorate in economics from UAlbany, he returned to China where he served as the vice president and executive vice president of China Youth University for Political Sciences from 1995-1999. In 1999, Zhang entered provincial government. He served in various capacities in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, and for two years was director of the Management Committee of Yinchuan Economic and Technological Development Zone.

• Excellence in Alumni Service Award Michael Borys, B.S. ’78, M.B.A. ’79, is a vice president at Goldman Sachs, where he heads the Quantitative Group for the firm’s Municipal and Infrastructure Finance Group. In 1997, he was a founding member of the School of Business Dean’s Advisory Board, on which he still serves; in 2002, he became a founding board member of UAlbany’s Center for Institutional Investment Management (CIIM). A strong supporter of the Financial Analyst honors program, Borys visited the UAlbany campus in December 2010 to judge its thesis presentation competition and offer valuable feedback to students. In the last four years, Borys has been instrumental in helping 11 UAlbany students obtain employment at Goldman Sachs. Fourteen others have received internships.

• Excellence in Arts and Letters Award David Pietrusza, B.A. ’71, M.A. ’72, is one of the most accomplished historians in the U.S. He has written a number of critically acclaimed works on 20th century American history and America’s favorite pastime – baseball. A noted presidential scholar, his book 1960: LBJ vs. JFK vs. Nixon: The Epic Campaign That Forged Three Presidencies was named by ForeWord Magazine as among the best political biographies. Pietrusza’s 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents was honored as a Kirkus “Best Books of 2007” title, and was named an alternate selection of the History Book Club.

• Excellence in Business Award Stacy Bash-Polley, B.S. ’89, co-head of Goldman Sachs’ Fixed Income Sales in the Americas unit, was ranked No. 4 in U.S. Banker’s October 2010 list of the “25 Most Powerful Women in Finance.” Her group’s division, Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities, contributes the largest share of the firm’s revenues. Her ability to understand and communicate with clients has been key to her success, and she is known as an excellent mentor and advocate for her employees and students at UAlbany. To provide better mentoring to young women professionals on Wall Street, she has developed a women’s network for Wall Street professionals.

• Excellence in Community Service Award Robert J. Paeglow, B.S. ’76, known as “Dr. Bob,” is a family medical doctor who has seen more than 100,000 patients on five continents and led more than 30 medical missions in developing countries. In 2000, feeling a call to his old West Hill, Albany, neighborhood, he and his wife Leane sold their family home, moved to the inner city, and co-founded Koinonia Primary Care, located at the Capital Region Prayer and Healing Center. Koinonia provides primary care and mental health services to the poor and never turns away patients who can’t pay. “Dr. Bob” makes house calls to the ill and infirm and is committed to providing compassionate and effective care to the underserved locally and globally. An associate professor in the Albany Medical College (AMC) Department of Family and Community Medicine, “Dr. Bob” takes no salary from the clinic and draws only small compensation from his work at AMC. In its Dec. 4, 2006 issue, People magazine hailed him in its “Heroes Among Us” section.

• Excellence in Education Award Charles S. Dedrick, M.S. ’87, M.S. ’91, the district superintendent of the Capital Region Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) heads the sixth-largest BOCES of the 37 in the state. An associate in educational  leadership for the Capital Area School Development Association (CASDA), he teaches and mentors current and future leaders. Prior to his appointment as superintendent, Dedrick served as a social studies teacher, school principal, business manager and superintendent of schools in the Green Island district and superintendent of Cohoes City Schools. Dedrick’s outstanding leadership in Cohoes is credited with dramatic increases in student achievement.

• Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award Alan H. Mantel, B.S. ’85, who earned his degree in accounting from UAlbany, is a partner in Snow Phipps Group, a private equity firm formed in 2005 that is focused on small to mid-market control investments. Known for his business acumen and commitment to uphold the highest personal and professional standards, Mantel has a long history of excelling in business. Prior to the formation of Snow Phipps, he was a partner at Guggenheim Merchant Banking and managing director in the Leveraged Finance department at Credit Suisse. He held a similar position at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette prior to its merger with Credit Suisse.

• Excellence in Public Service Award Katherine M. Maciol, L.C.S.W. ’88, has served as commissioner of Mental Health for Rensselaer County since 2002. In 2005, she received a merit award from the Troy police for the development of an Emotionally Disturbed Persons Response Team, which trained more than 50 officers to better recognize and respond to persons with mental health issues and trauma. She also developed the award-winning Family Clinic Plus program in Rensselaer County. An adjunct professor in UAlbany’s School of Social Welfare since 1997, Maciol has conducted training across the state for the University’s Child Welfare Symposium. Her work has been published in the National Encyclopedia of Social Work and the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse.

• Excellence in Public Service Award Nancy Gleason Groenwegen, B.A. ’79, is counsel to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, overseeing the Division of Legal Services. Prior to joining the comptroller’s office, Groenwegen was commissioner of the New York State Department of Civil Service. She served in the administration of former Gov. Mario Cuomo  as assistant counsel in the Office of Employee Relations, then assistant counsel to the governor himself for labor, public pension and economic development.

• Excellence in Science & Technology Award Jonathan A. Newman, B.A. ’85, Ph.D.’90, is an internationally acclaimed scientist and a highly respected educator. He is co-founder and director of the University of Guelph (Ontario) School of Environmental Sciences and an expert on the ecological impact of climate change. He taught at the University of Oxford, where he was director of the Krebs Field Station. At Oxford, Newman and his collaborators developed a new paradigm for understanding long-term interactions between herbivores and the plants they eat. At Guelph, he gained prominence in the study of grassland ecology and climate change biology.

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