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Alumni Association Announces Excellence Award Recipients for 2016

Esquire magazine author Tom Junod '80, winner of Excellence in Arts & Letters Award, and Theresa Pardo '82, '90, 98, director of the Center for Technology in Government, winner of Distinguished Alumni Award.

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 12, 2016) — An award-winning writer for Esquire, a government and educational leader in the Dominican Republic, and two internationally respected meteorologists are among 13 who will receive 2016 University at Albany Excellence Awards on April 16 at the annual awards gala at Albany Country Club. The awardees, alumni and friends recognized for outstanding achievements and service, are:

Theresa Pardo ’82, ’90, ’98, Distinguished Alumni — Pardo’s knowledge of how governments can use data and technology to better serve society has made her one of the most highly sought-after experts in technology in government throughout the world. Director of UAlbany’s Center for Technology in Government, she serves as policy advisor for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Open NY initiative. She is an associate research professor with both Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy and the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and is co-founder of Rockefeller College’s nationally ranked Government Information Strategy & Management program.

Lance Bosart, Citizen of the University — A distinguished professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Bosart has been credited by the National Weather Association for educating a generation of researchers, professors, and forecasters. He is an affiliate scientist for the National Center for Atmospheric Research and is a fellow of both the American Meteorological Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

John Stevens ’95, Excellence in Entrepreneurship — Stevens is the founder and CEO of Infinigy, a technical services company that has provided design-driven solutions to wireless communication networks throughout the country. He is a venture coach for the UAlbany Blackstone Launchpad program and mentor for UAlbany MBA students.

Ancell Scheker Mendoza ’11, International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement — A prominent figure in government in the Dominican Republic, Scheker has served as the nation’s director general of evaluation of educational quality since 2010. Her work has impacted the immediate educational futures of children through significant improvement of Dominican testing standards and helped shape Dominican educational policy.

Molly Guptill Manning ’01, ’02, Outstanding Young Alumni — Manning is an attorney for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and an author and historian. Her second book, When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II, is a New York Times bestseller. Manning also writes for the Federal Bar Council Quarterly and is a member of the publication’s board of editors.

Tom Junod ’80, Excellence in Arts & Letters — A writer-at-large for Esquire, Junod has authored some of the most acclaimed pieces in modern magazine journalism, including “The Abortionist” and “The Rapist Says He’s Sorry.” His most well-known piece, “The Falling Man,” is recognized as one of the top stories in Esquire’s history. He was a featured speaker in 2015 at the UAlbany-based New York State Writer’s Institute.

Michael Nash ’83, Excellence in Business — One of the world’s leading experts on real estate investment, Nash is senior managing director of Blackstone and serves as the global chairman of the Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies Group. He is regarded as one of the most influential alumni of UAlbany’s School of Business. He and his wife (also a UAlbany alum) recently established the Michael B. ’83 and Lori M. Nash ’83 endowed scholarship.

Valerie Jensen ’96, Excellence in Community Service — Jensen, founder of Prospector Theater in Ridgefield, Conn., is dedicated to providing a renewed sense of purpose and meaningful employment opportunities for adults with broad-range disabilities. The first-of-its-kind Prospector Theater has been highlighted on “NBC Nightly News” and in the New York Times, and was included as part of the New York Yankees 2015 HOPE Week campaign.

Robert Mauro ’09, Excellence in Education — As director at Boston College of both the Irish Institute and the Global Leadership Institute, Robert Mauro creates sustainable opportunities for the college to grow innovatively and profitably in its global reach and impact. He is a Rockefeller College “Alumni in the Classroom” volunteer and participates in the college’s Ph.D. programming.

Teresa Thayer Snyder ’00, Excellence in Education — Snyder is regarded as a true champion of children in the Capital District’s education community. An articulate voice at the statewide level regarding implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards, Snyder has spent 40 years in the public school system as a teacher, principal and superintendent.

Fredrick Erlich ’72, ’94, Excellence in Public Service — Erlich is co-founder and CEO of Living Resources, overseeing Living Resources Corporation, Living Resources Certified Home Health and Licensed Home Care Agencies, and the Living Resources Foundation. He has been recognized for championing assistive technology projects and recently helped initiate UAlbany’s Assistive Living Technologies conference to help create startups in this sector. He has made an impact globally through his assistance in creating new services for individuals with disabilities, particularly autism, in China.

Melinda Peng ’78, ’82, Excellence in Science and Technology — Peng is head of the Atmospheric Dynamics and Prediction Branch of the Marine Meteorology Division for the Naval Research Laboratory. A fellow of the American Meteorological Society, she specializes in theoretical meteorology, tropical meteorology, theoretical and applied numerical weather prediction and climate modeling, and is focused on improving tropical cyclone prediction. Peng initiated the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences' Arthur Loesch Scholarship.

Timothy Murphy ’77, Excellence in Alumni Service — A familiar face among UAlbany alumni, Murphy is retired from the SUNY Research Foundation, where he served as the executive vice president and chief operating officer from 1999 to 2007. He is a longtime member of the UAlbany Alumni Association board of directors, having at various times served as president, vice president and treasurer. He also served on the UAlbany Foundation board of directors and the University Council.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.