UAlbany Alumni Receive Awards for Professional and Community Service
Alumni Association recognition ceremony slated for May 3, 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn
Contact(s): Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150ALBANY, N.Y. (April 24, 2008) -- The University at Albany Alumni Association announced its 2008 Award Winners, selected for excellence in service to their profession and community. Awards will be presented in education, business, community and public service, entrepreneurship, science and technology and distinguished achievement in professional life. An award will also be presented to a Citizen of the University for outstanding contributions by a non-alumnus or alumna. The Outstanding Young Alumni Award will recognize early achievements in a chosen profession or field of service, or service to the community.
Winners will be honored at a Gala Awards Banquet on Saturday, May 3 at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road.
The 2008 Honorees are:
Distinguished Alumni Award
Theresa McGovern B.A. '83
In 1989, McGovern founded the HIV Law Project to provide civil legal representation to low-income HIV-positive individuals, and served as executive director until 1999. During those years, she successfully litigated numerous cases against federal, state and local governments, including S. P. v. Sullivan, which forced the Social Security Administration to expand the HIV-related disability criteria so that women and those with low-income could qualify for Medicaid and Social Security. As a member of the National Task Force on the Development of HIV/AIDS Drugs, McGovern authored the 2001 federal regulation authorizing the FDA to halt any clinical trial for a life-threatening disease that excludes women. In May 2006, McGovern joined the Ford Foundation as program officer in the Human Rights Unit, working on integrating the rights and needs of marginalized persons affected by HIV/AIDS and on building the advocacy capacity of HIV-affected women.
In response to her mother's death in the World Trade Center attacks, McGovern initiated the Models of Resistance Project, which works to identify and develop effective victim-led models of resistance to fundamentalism. She advocated for full disclosure and accountability on the part of the 9/11 Commission and has founded 9/11 Families for Truth and Human Rights.
Citizen of the University
Robb is a management consultant and president of Vantage Management, which he founded after completing a highly successful 41-year career at General Electric (GE). For six years, Robb directed the GE Research and Development Center, one of the world's largest and most diversified industrial laboratories. For 13 years, he also was general manager of GE Medical Systems, overseeing that organization's growth into the world's leading producer of medical diagnostic-imaging equipment and transforming it into an advanced-technology business with a volume of more than $1 billion per year. In September 1993, in recognition of his leadership in the development of imaging instrumentation, Robb received the National Medal of Technology from President Bill Clinton.
At the University at Albany, Robb and his wife, Anne, became early financial and vocal supporters of the Gen*NY*Sis Center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics. He has served as a lecturer and advisor on technical issues and is a counselor on fund development, licensing and entrepreneurship.
Bertha Brimmer Medal
Thomas Shiland, M.S. '90, M.S. '92
Given his love of science, Shiland decided to try his hand at teaching and turned to UAlbany, where he earned two master's degrees, one in secondary science education and another in educational administration. Shiland accepted a teaching position in chemistry at Saratoga Springs High School, launching a stellar career in education. In addition to teaching, Shiland has served as chair of the school's science department and as assistant principal and principal of the district's Summer School. He was also an editor for the New York State Regents exams in chemistry.
Shiland has published in leading science education and research journals; his articles, touted for their excellence and focus on thinking-based experiments, have been recommended by teachers around the nation. In 2005, he was elected president of the Science Teachers Association of New York State. Shiland also serves as an adjunct professor at the University at Albany, Union College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Young Alumni Award
Richelle Konian, B.S. '95
In 2000, Konian founded the Manhattan-based recruiting firm, Careers On The Move, which specializes in risk management, investment/asset management recruiting and investment banking and valuation recruiting. For several years, Konian has been named a top recruiter for information technology by Waters magazine and has been profiled in Wall Street & Technology magazine.
Prior to co-founding Careers On The Move, Konian spent several years at a Wall Street software development and management consulting firm, Jordan and Jordan, where she developed a recruitment/sales division for the banking and brokerage industry. She also launched the Financial Information Forum, a consortium of broker dealers, vendors and exchanges whose mission is to provide a collaborative environment for subscribers to benefit from technology, regulatory and market innovations.
Konian serves on the University at Albany's School of Business Advisory Board and works with the school's Office of Career Services to help students obtain internships and jobs upon graduation.
Excellence in Public Service
Congressman Michael Arcuri, B.A. '81
In 1993, Arcuri was elected Oneida County district attorney, where he worked with local law enforcement agencies to reduce the rates of violent crime in his community and earning one of the highest conviction rates (92 percent) in New York State. Arcuri was the driving force behind a number of innovative programs, including the Oneida County Drug Task Force and the Utica Arson Task Force. He created a special victims unit and a victims' advocate position within the district attorney's office to improve the quality of the prosecution of domestic violence and sexual abuse cases. He also dramatically improved the Oneida County Child Advocacy Center for young survivors of crime and abuse. He helped establish the first successful Drug Court Program in Oneida County and created one of the first Drug Treatment Alternative To Prison programs in upstate New York.
In January 2007, Arcuri was elected to Congress, becoming the first Democrat since 1948 to represent New York's 24th district. Arcuri serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as well as on the powerful House Rules Committee. Arcuri has built a moderate, independent record of service, co-sponsoring the College Student Relief Act that lowers interest rates on subsidized student loans and voting to cut student loan rates. He is working for bipartisan healthcare reform, and has fought NYRI's power line with legislation and community action. Arcuri has also co-sponsored two bills that passed the House, specifically designed to increase the research, production and implementation of alternative energy sources. He has also led the charge in support of the Small Business Tax Relief Act.
Excellence in Business
Kimberly Welsh, M.B.A. '89
Welsh has achieved unparalleled success in municipal investment banking as managing director of Morgan Stanley's New England banking efforts, and as manager of the National Housing Group. Welsh's many accomplishments include issuing the inaugural $2.5 billion bond for the Massachusetts School Building Authority to fund school construction throughout the commonwealth. The bond issue resulted in strong credit ratings, aggressive pricing and broad-based investor support for the newly created authority. She completed the largest multi-family refunding in the municipal market: $1 billion for MassHousing. The refunding savings helped fund MassHousing's innovative $100 million Priority Development Fund, which provides critical, flexible subsidy sources for affordable rental housing and new homeownership housing development, leveraging $1.5 billion in housing development.
Welsh engineered a groundbreaking partnership between Freddie Mac and DCHFA for single-family bond issuance, and structured the first-in-the-nation state-sponsored securitization of HUD capital funds. As the lead banker for Rhode Island, she recently completed a senior-managed COPs refunding for the state, which produced $2.4 million in savings.
Excellence in Public Service
Kathryn Zox, C.S.W. '83
From Albany, Zox, a nationally recognized radio host, produces "The Kathryn Zox Show," which airs on the VoiceAmerica Women's Network and WMET 1160AM in Washington, D.C. Her show covers significant health and social issues with a focus on women's concerns, such as parenting, aging, obesity, sex, relationships and mental illness.
Zox, a certified social worker, has trained doctors and medical students to communicate effectively with patients at Albany Medical College's Clinical Competency Program. She also trains New York State correctional officers to interact with mentally ill inmates. Some of her volunteer work and charitable causes include Human Rights Campaign, WMHT Public Television Print Disabled, National Recording Books for the Blind and Dyslexic, Planned Parenthood, Ronald McDonald House, New York State School Music Association and the University at Albany School of Social Welfare. She also is a well-known philanthropist to many community organizations.
Excellence in Education
Thomas Brooks, B.A. '71
Since 1996, Brooks has led the Arlington High School in LaGrangeville, N.Y. as principal. With plans underway to build a second school for the rising number of students, Brooks has transformed the organizational structure of the school by reorienting and decentralizing his administrative staff in four "houses" so that students and parents have a single "go-to" team for the four years of high school. Brooks has also created teaching teams for struggling freshmen; developed an unparalleled honors and advanced placement program; and implemented numerous support initiatives for special education students, resulting in great success for these students on Regents exams. Brooks' colleagues also praise him for his visibility in school, spending time each day in the classroom, cafeteria and corridors, greeting students in the parking lot and attending numerous school activities – often making it necessary for him to get his paperwork done Saturday mornings.
Brooks has dramatically increased the number of extracurricular and interscholastic opportunities, resulting in the creation of more than 50 student clubs and 75 percent of students participating in after-school activities. Brooks’ students clearly appreciate his involvement, nominating him for and earning him the New York State Administrator of the Year Award in 2003, awarded by the New York State Council on Leadership and Student Activities. He also was named 2007 New York State Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State.
Excellence in Alumni Service
Susan Shipherd, B.S. '64
Since earning a bachelor's degree in biology from the University at Albany in 1964, Shipherd has provided more than 30 years of service to the Alumni Association and the University. After serving as a member-at-large on the board, Shipherd served as vice president of the board from 1987 to 1989. She was then elected president from 1989 to 1991 and served as immediate past president from 1991 to 1993. After a short hiatus, she was again elected to the board, and served 1997 to 2005.
Over the years, Shipherd served on numerous association committees and co-chaired the Capital District Chapter Steering Committee, helping to build chapter participation. In 1994, Shipherd gave Initiatives for Women $10,000 to establish The Susan Van Horn Shipherd '64 Women in Science Scholarship, which is awarded to deserving women undergraduates whose formal academic studies in the areas of science prepare them for careers in that field. Shipherd was honored by the University Council with the Distinguished Service Medal in 1993. In 2005, she was appointed alumni representative to the University at Albany Foundation board of directors for a two-year term. Reappointed in June 2007, she is currently serving her second two-year term.
Excellence in Education Award
Donald Cohen, B.A. '51, M.A. '52
Cohen established a distinguished career in mathematics education, teaching at the secondary and college levels, serving as a math consultant and developing curriculum. He subsequently developed a methodology that led to a unique, powerful program for teaching mathematics to young people. Cohen co-founded The Math Program in 1976 with his partner, Jerry Glynn. His private after-school program uses computers, pineapples, and many other manipulatives to help students of all abilities learn and enjoy mathematics.
Cohen's books and videotapes (Calculus For Young People) are sold internationally, and two books were published in Japanese.
Excellence in Education
Carol Meyer, Ph.D. '06
Early in her career, Meyer established herself as an outstanding educator committed to excellence. With an initial focus as a teacher of foreign language and English as a second language, her inquisitiveness and need for a deeper level of understanding advanced her studies toward qualitative research methods. Meyer, who has taught at Bennington College since 1995, became director of the Isabelle Kaplan Center for Languages and Cultures in 2003, and took on the directorship of the Center of Creative Teaching in 2006.
Meyer's research interests include integrating thought and language at all levels of language instruction, and understanding how to design compelling educational experiences for teachers and students. She has presented papers at national conferences and worked with language teachers in such areas as curriculum development, elementary-age language programs, assessment and articulation.
Excellence in Science & Technology
Brian Levine, B.S. '94
Levine is an associate professor and director of the NSA Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, focusing his research on mobile networks, security and the Internet. Levine's research is aimed at developing the technical foundations for a next-generation Internet that will contain mobile endpoints that can become disconnected from the network, providing services far beyond the Web services we have today, and putting security and privacy concerns front and center.
Levine has also made pioneering contributions to the field of security and privacy. He is perhaps best known for his work on anonymous routing and his analysis of the degradation of anonymous routing protocols over time. His work on passive logging attacks won a Best Paper award from the prestigious Network and Distributed System Security conference. He has made broad contributions to anonymity topics, including the evaluation of timing attacks and the Sybil attack. More recently, Levine has made prominent contributions linking privacy to forensic investigations in the context of networking and databases. Levine has made several other research contributions, particularly in peer-to-peer networking, for which he was awarded a prestigious Career Award from the National Science Foundation in 2002.
Excellence in Entrepreneurship
Michael Weiss, B.S. '88
After graduating from UAlbany with a bachelor's degree in business administration and receiving his law degree from Columbia University, Weiss practiced law at Cravath, Swaine and Moore, and then moved into investment banking and venture capital at Paramount Capital in New York City, where he specialized in identifying, structuring and managing investments in start-up biotechnology companies.
In 1999, Weiss founded CancerEducation.com, the first vehicle using the Web to improve cancer care through the dissemination of up-to-date and accurate video-based educational content. Since becoming chairman and CEO of Keryx in 2002, Weiss has recapitalized the company to the strongest cash position in its history by raising more than $150 million dollars in equity financing. Currently, Weiss also is chairman of XTL Biopharmaceuticals, Ltd., a publicly traded biotechnology company focused on therapeutics for the treatment of unmet medical needs, particularly neuropathic pain. A member of the board of trustees of CancerCare, Weiss serves on the School of Business Dean's Advisory Board.
Excellence in Community Service Award
Kimberleigh Phelan, B.A. '89
Phelan, vice president of M&T Bank in Albany, is a member of The Arts Center of the Capital Region Board of Directors and is first vice president of the board of Parsons Child and Family Center in Albany. A past president of the NENY Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, she also has volunteered with the Hudson Valley Girl Scouts, Habitat for Humanity and United Way Hands Across Capitaland. For the past four years, Phelan has shared her talent and experience as a board member of Parsons Child and Family Center.
Phelan has also put her business expertise to use in the community by helping design and launch the SMARTUP program under the direction of Rensselaer Gateway Development Corporation and Rensselaer Economic Development. The eight-week course helps grow small businesses in Rensselaer County, and Phelan teaches the program's banking session each semester.
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