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Positive Impact, Near and Far

Fourteen Honored By University Alumni Association 

V. “Ram” Ramaswamy, William Kennedy and Maritza Martinez are among those being honored for excellence by the University of Albany Alumni Association.

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 28, 2017 — A Pulitzer Prize-winner, a Hollywood producer and one of the University’s leading educators are among 14 recipients of the University at Albany Alumni Excellence Awards. The awards recognize UAlbany alumni and friends for outstanding achievements and service.

Recipients will be honored at the annual University at Albany Alumni Association’s Excellence Awards Gala Saturday, April 29, at the Albany Country Club. This year’s excellence awards winners are:

Citizen of the University: William Kennedy

The founder of the New York State Writers Institute, hosted by UAlbany, has made an impact on the University’s students as a writing professor and mentor to aspiring authors. Kennedy is the author of Pulitzer Prize-winning Ironweed.

Distinguished Alumni: Lawrence A. Gordon

As co-author of the Gordon-Loeb Model, Gordon, BS ‘66, MBA ‘67, is one of the most influential accounting researchers in the world. He has served as the EY Alumni Professor of Managerial Accounting and Information Assurance at University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business since 1981.

Outstanding Young Alumni: Dorcey Applyrs

Elected to the City of Albany Common Council in 2014, Applyrs, MPH ‘05, PhD ‘14, tackles health disparity and environmental safety issues affecting her constituents in Albany’s First Ward. She is faculty program director for the Excelsior College School of Health Sciences and clinical assistant professor at UAlbany’s School of Public Health.

International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement: Bushra Rahim

After earning her doctoral degree in 2015 at UAlbany, Rahim returned to Pakistan, where she has made a great impact on the educational structures of conflict-ridden Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. She serves as deputy director and reforms coordinator in the Ministry of Local Government, Elections and Rural Development.

Excellence in Alumni Service: William J. McCann Jr.

The host of University radio station 90.9FM-WCDB’s critically-acclaimed “Saturday Morning Edition of Jazz” has served as one of UAlbany’s most dedicated volunteers for more than 30 years. Outside of the University, McCann, BA ‘86, MS ‘87, is deputy council for the New York State Board of Elections and represents in all aspects of civil litigation, before state and federal courts.

Excellence in Arts & Letters: Marc Guggenheim

A Writers Guild and Emmy Award-nominated writer/producer, Guggenheim, BA ‘92, has penned scripts for television and screen, video games and comic books. Guggenheim’s credits include Law & Order; CSI: Miami; Brothers & Sisters; and superhero film Green Lantern.

Excellence in Business: David A. Buzen

With over 35 years of experience, Buzen, BS ‘81, is regarded as one of the most distinguished individuals in the financial guaranty insurance and financial services industry. He is senior managing director and head of Assured Guaranty’s Alternative Investments Group and is heavily involved as a mentor for UAlbany School of Business students.

Excellence in Community Service: Melanie Gray

While leading a successful legal career as one of Houston’s most prominent litigation attorneys, Gray, BA ‘78, also serves a number of organizations including the Girls Inc. of Greater Houston, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, and Greater Houston Community Foundation. She was recently named a Litigation Counsel of America fellow, and recognized as one of Houston’s most influential and powerful women by Houston Woman Magazine.

Excellence in Community Service: Denis Murphy and Lynda Murphy

The founders of the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation Denis (BS ‘84, MS ‘86) and Lynda (BS ‘83, MS ‘85) Murphy have connected more than 700 children battling pediatric brain tumors and other childhood cancers with “adoptive” college athletic teams in the last decade. The Murphy family has been recognized by the American Cancer Society, and was featured as part of New York Yankees 2014 HOPE Week.

Excellence in Education: Maritza Martinez

Martinez, MSW ‘87, is the director of UAlbany’s Educational Opportunities Program (EOP). Under her leadership, the program’s list of accomplishments has grown steadily, through increased student enrollment and state fiscal support, as well as retention and graduation rates that exceed the University’s overall rate. She is regarded by students as a mentor, and a “second mother.”

Excellence in Public Service: Lee Zeldin

Currently serving in the U.S. Army Reserve with the rank of major, New York Rep. Zeldin, BA ’01, has represented New York’s 1st Congressional District since 2014. He led efforts to ensure protection of 9/11 first responders under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, and recently helped pass a fully funded transportation bill that included his Safe Bridges Act.

Excellence in Science & Technology: V. “Ram” Ramaswamy

One of the most highly respected climate scientists in the world, Ram, PhD ’82, is director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. He is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Bertha E. Brimmer Medal: Rosemary Leva Evaul

As advisor and producer for The Masque and Mime Society at Roy C. Ketcham High School, Wappingers Falls, N.Y., Evaul, MA ’68, has offered guidance and support to thousands of students. She is a founding member of the New York State Theatre Education Association (NYSTEA) and a recipient of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) “Ally Award.”

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About the University at Albany
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.