University Park, Pa. -- Twenty-four Penn State alumni were honored Oct. 21 for their outstanding professional accomplishments and given the lifelong title of Alumni Fellow, the highest award given by the Penn State Alumni Association.
Each Alumni Fellow received a commemorative award, designed and hand cast by Jeanne Stevens-Sollman, an acclaimed sculptor and medalist and an Alumni Fellow.
Since the award was established in 1973, just 642 alumni have been honored with the title of Alumni Fellow, designated a permanent and lifelong title by the Penn State Board of Trustees. This year's Alumni Fellow recipients, along with their graduation year, place of residence, current title and career affiliation, are:
-- James C. Alwine '74g, Media, Pa., associate director of the Abramson Cancer Center, investigator at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute and professor of cancer biology at the University of Pennsylvania;
-- Michelle Marie Austin '89, New York, founder and CEO of Fluidity Fitness;
-- Samuel P. "Pat" Black III '64, McKean, Pa., chairman of Erie Management Group, LLC, and founder and president of the Blackstone Ranch Institute in Taos, N.M.;
-- Marc A. Brownstein '81, Gladwyne, Pa., president and CEO of Brownstein Group Brand Communication;
-- John A. Casciotti '74, Arlington, Va., associate deputy general counsel for health affairs in the U.S. Department of Defense;
-- Cynthia M. Danel '71, '76g, Weirton, W.Va., attorney/partner with Edgar Snyder & Associates in Pittsburgh;
-- Doris Gazda '58g, Tempe, Ariz., music teacher, composer and method books' author;
-- John D. Gearhart '64, Swarthmore, Pa., director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the James W. Effron university professor at the School of Medicine and the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania;
-- Bruce Gewertz '70, Beverly Hills, Calif., surgeon-in-chief and chair of the Department of Surgery, and vice-president for interventional services at Cedars-Sinai Health System;
-- William H. Joyce '57, Newton, Conn., chairman and CEO of Advanced Fusion Systems and the retired chairman and CEO of Nalco Co.;
-- Peter Kalkavage '73, '76g, '83g, Annapolis, Md., tutor at St. John's College;
-- Theresa Kotanchek '84, '87g, '91g, Shanghai, China, chief technology officer at Dow Chemical China Co. Ltd.;
-- Donna Kalajian Lagani '75, Harrison, N.Y., senior vice president and publishing director of Cosmopolitan magazine;
-- Gail E. Latimer '83, Lansdale, Pa., vice president and chief nursing officer at Siemens Medical Solutions Health Services;
-- Andrea Lee '75g, '80g, St. Paul, Minn., president of St. Catherine University and a sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary;
-- John A. Leone '56, Bethlehem, Pa., CEO, chairman and owner of Bonney Forge Corp., designer and manufacturer of flow control products for the energy industry;
-- David S. Lipson '65, Villanova, Pa., chairman of MODA Technology Partners, a software company that provides informatics for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies;
-- Greg Lucier '86, Encinitas, Calif., CEO and chairman of the board of Life Technologies, a global biotechnology tools firm;
-- Brian F. Madigan '81g, Springfield, Va., director of the Federal Reserve Board's Monetary Affairs Division;
-- William F. Oldsey '76, Basking Ridge, N.J., executive vice president of McGraw-Hill Education, part of the McGraw-Hill Companies;
-- Gerald J. "Jerry" Parsons '74, Chester Springs, Pa., chairman and CEO of Communications Test Design Inc., an international telecommunications service provider;
-- Christine Sears '77, Harrisburg, Pa., executive vice president and chief financial officer of Penn National Insurance;
-- Amitabh Srivastava '84g, Woodinville, Wash., senior vice president at Microsoft, overseeing Windows Azure, the company's new operating system for the cloud platform;
-- Debra West Ulrich '77, Mechanicsburg, Pa., president and chief operating officer of Sysco Central Pennsylvania LLC.
"Alumni are the University's most valuable resource," said Roger L. Williams '73, '75g, '88g, executive director of the Penn State Alumni Association. "The Alumni Fellow program gives us the opportunity to showcase the significant contributions Penn Staters make to our nation and the world. At the same time, we are bringing these alumni ever closer to our shared Alma Mater."
The Alumni Fellow program is administered by the Penn State Alumni Association in cooperation with the University's academic colleges, campuses and the Office of the President. Alumni are nominated by a college or campus as leaders in their professional fields and accept an invitation from the president of the University to return to campus to share their expertise with students, faculty and administrators.
Additional information on the Penn State Alumni Association's 2009 Alumni Fellows:
James C. Alwine '74g Med is the associate director of the Abramson Cancer Center, investigator at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, and professor of Cancer Biology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. A cancer cell biologist and virologist, Alwine has dedicated his career to understanding cancer biology, studying the effects of DNA tumor viruses on transcription, RNA processing, cellular signaling and metabolism. His research on cellular and viral processes led him to develop the Northern Transfer, a technique used for analyzing RNA. Alwine has published more than 75 research papers and served on the editorial boards of several scholarly journals.
Michelle Marie Austin '89 Bus is founder and CEO of Fluidity Fitness, a consumer products company that manufactures and markets the Fluidity Bar and Fluidity workout videos. The Fluidity system is a whole-body workout that incorporates a traditional ballet barre and current principles of physiology and kinesiology. It has been featured in numerous magazines including Elle, Fit, Fitness, Marie Claire, Muscle & Fitness, Self and the Food & Fitness Advisor. Since 2006, Fluidity Fitness has generated $60 million in revenues and cultivated fans worldwide. Austin began her career as an analyst on Wall Street and also worked as a VJ on VH1, the cable television network.
Samuel P. "Pat" Black III '64 Lib is a chairman of Erie Management Group LLC (EMG). EMG invests in and manages companies whose innovative products capitalize on economic opportunities within the Lake Erie region. Its portfolio includes Kold-Draft Industries and HERO Bx. As a social and environmental advocate, Black provides resources for related philanthropic ventures through the Black Family Foundation. He also is founder and president of the Blackstone Ranch Institute in Taos, N.M. The institute provides targeted seed money to catalyze social innovation in urban environmental sustainability, global carbon offset market growth, sustainable business practices and the development of renewable energies and green employment.
Marc A. Brownstein '81 Com is president and CEO of Brownstein Group Brand Communication, located in Philadelphia and Seattle. Brownstein Group is a leading, integrated marketing agency specializing in brand strategy, digital and traditional advertising and public relations. After graduating from Penn State, Brownstein worked as a copywriter at Doremus/BBDO and on the new business development team at Ogilvy & Mather. He has created award-winning campaigns for AT&T, American Express, Sports Illustrated, Hershey Foods, Hallmark and Campbell Soup Co. In 1989, Brownstein joined the firm his father founded, and assumed the responsibilities of executive creative director, and later, president and CEO.
John A. Casciotti '74 Lib is associate deputy general counsel for health affairs in the U.S. Department of Defense. Casciotti has served as the principal attorney for the Department of Defense health care system since 1988. He has been instrumental in establishing and operating military health system programs and policies in many areas, including medical countermeasures to chemical and biological weapons, public health emergencies, medical quality assurance and deployment health, among others. Before joining the Defense Department, Casciotti served as an associate general counsel in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and was an assistant to U.S. Sen. Richard Schweiker.
Cynthia M. Danel '71, '76g Lib is an attorney/partner with Edgar Snyder & Associates in Pittsburgh, where she specializes in personal injury litigation. In more than 25 years as a trial lawyer, she has helped hundreds of people win cases before a jury and mediated and settled hundreds more. She has successfully argued appeals before the Superior and Supreme Courts of Pennsylvania. Danel is a five-time Pennsylvania Super Lawyer and also was named one of the top 50 attorneys in Pittsburgh and one of the top 50 women attorneys in Pennsylvania.
Doris Gazda '58g A&A is a music teacher and composer whose method books, compositions and arrangements are part of the standard learning repertoire for young string musicians across the country. Gazda played violin professionally with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra. She spent much of her career as a string specialist in the Montgomery County, Md., public schools. She later served as a faculty associate at Arizona State University. Currently, Gazda is conducting and writing music for an Arizona orchestra of musicians who are more than 50 years old and just learning an instrument or returning to one they formerly played.
John D. Gearhart '64 Agr is director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He also is the James W. Effron university professor with an appointment jointly shared between the School of Medicine and the School of Veterinary Medicine. Gearhart's work in stem cell research is considered one of the most significant advances in human biology. His research focuses on the role of genes in regulating the formation of human tissues, especially as it relates to mental retardation, Down syndrome and other congenital birth defects.
Bruce Gewertz '70 Sci is surgeon-in-chief and chair of the Department of Surgery, and vice-president for interventional services at Cedars-Sinai Health System in Los Angeles. He was recently named the Harriet and Steven Nichols endowed chair in surgery. Since joining Cedars-Sinai in June 2006, Gewertz has led one of the largest surgical programs in the country, with more than 27,000 procedures performed annually. Before joining Cedars-Sinai, Gewertz spent 25 years at the University of Chicago where he was the Dallas B. Phemister professor and chairman, Department of Surgery, and first faculty dean of medical education. He has received numerous awards for teaching and research and is consistently cited as one of the best doctors in America.
William H. Joyce '57 Eng is chairman and CEO of Advanced Fusion Systems. He is retired chairman and CEO of Nalco Co., the world's largest water treatment company and manufacturer of highly specialized service programs for industry. Joyce also is former chairman and CEO of Hercules Inc., manufacturer of chemical specialties, and former vice chairman of Dow Chemical. After graduating from Penn State, Joyce joined Union Carbide Corp., where he worked for 40 years, rising to lead the company as chairman, president and CEO. He is widely recognized as a leader in plastics and chemical engineering. Among Joyce's many honors, President Bill Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Technology in 1993.
Peter Kalkavage '73, '76g, '83g Lib is a tutor at St. John's College in Annapolis, Md. He has taught the entire curriculum, which includes ancient and modern mathematics, laboratory science, music theory, ancient Greek, modern French, and seminars on great works in the Western tradition. He also directs the St. John's Chorus, which performs sacred works by Bach, Mozart and others. Kalkavage has published essays on Plato, Dante, Hegel, music and liberal education. He translated Plato's Timaeus and co-translated the Sophist and Phaedo. He has written music texts, including an introduction to Pythagorean tuning. His most recent publication is the book The Logic of Desire: An Introduction to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit.
Theresa Kotanchek '84, '87g, '91g EMS is chief technology officer at Dow Chemical China Co. Ltd. where she leads all Asia Pacific research and development, including the development and staffing of Dow's state-of-the-art R&D center in Shanghai, China. Kotanchek joined Dow in 1990 as a research leader in Corporate Research. Subsequent positions included product manager in Advanced Electronic Materials, materials science technology leader in Corporate Research and senior R&D director for INSITE Technology and New Business Development for Dow Plastics. In 2003, she was named senior director of technology for Dow's Growth Center. In 2004, Kotanchek was promoted to global R&D director for Dow Ventures.
Donna Kalajian Lagani '75 Bus is senior vice president and publishing director of Cosmopolitan magazine, the best-selling monthly women's magazine with editions in more than 100 countries. She joined the magazine in August 1995 and was elected a senior vice president by the Hearst Corp. Board of Directors one month later. Kalajian Lagani came to Cosmopolitan from Ladies' Home Journal, where she had been vice president and publisher since 1989 -- the first female to serve as publisher in the magazine's 112-year history. She joined Ladies' Home Journal in 1987 as vice president and advertising director. Before that, she was the eastern advertising manager for Woman's Day.
Gail E. Latimer '83 H&HD is vice president and chief nursing officer of Siemens Medical Solutions Health Services. During her career, Latimer has served in numerous nursing and health care leadership roles. In her current role, she serves as an integral part of Siemens' senior leadership team, working closely with clinical product developers, customers and industry groups on Siemens' development of clinical IT solutions. In the 1990s, she was instrumental in leading health care innovation by collaborating with a team that developed the first computer-controlled surgical robot. Among other honors, Latimer was recently selected as a 2009 Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.
Andrea Lee '75g, '80g Edu is president of St. Catherine University in Minnesota, serving 5,200 students on two campuses, and a sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Since joining St. Catherine, Lee's strategic agenda has produced 10 years of record enrollment, increased fundraising and construction of a new student center and award-winning residence halls. Under Lee's leadership, St. Catherine also established the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health. Before becoming St. Catherine's 10th president, Lee was interim president, executive vice president and chief financial officer at Marygrove College in Detroit. In Detroit, she also served as financial co-chair of a mayoral transition team, principal financial reviewer for the Detroit Empowerment Zone projects and president of a nonprofit senior housing corporation.
John A. Leone '56 EMS is CEO, chairman and owner of Bonney Forge Corp., designer and manufacturer of flow control products for the energy industry, with operations in Pennsylvania, Texas, Italy and China. Leone spent the early part of his career working as a field engineer and project manager in Venezuela. Back in the United States, he joined piping systems company Taylor Forge as manager of application engineering. Leone was named managing director of Gulf+Western's Energy Products Group in Brussels, Belgium, in 1976. There, he oversaw plants in Scotland, France, Spain and Italy. Leone returned to Pennsylvania in 1980 as president of Gulf+Western's Bonney Forge Division. He acquired the valve and piping company in a leveraged buyout in 1984.
David S. Lipson '65 Lib is chairman of MODA Technology Partners, a software company that provides informatics for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Lipson has 42 years experience in the information technology industry and has served on the boards of 16 companies. In 1988, he founded Integrated Systems Consulting Group, serving as CEO and chairman until merging with First Consulting Group in 1999. Lipson was executive vice president for life sciences and vice chairman of First Consulting until 2004. Until recently, Lipson also served as chairman of specialty foods firm Vita Food Products. Earlier in his career, Lipson worked in sales, sales management, marketing and executive management with IBM, Dun & Bradstreet Computer Services, Digital Equipment Corp. and SunGard Computer Services.
Greg Lucier '86 Eng is CEO and chairman of the board of Life Technologies, a global biotechnology tools firm in Carlsbad, Calif. The firm supplies tools and equipment to researchers in regenerative science, molecular diagnostics, agricultural and environmental research, and 21st-century forensics. Life Technologies was formed in 2008 when Lucier led a merger between Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems in a deal valued at more than $6.5 billion. Before the merger, Lucier served as president and CEO of Invitrogen Corp. Prior to joining Invitrogen, Lucier served General Electric in a variety of leadership roles.
Brian F. Madigan '81g Lib is director of the Federal Reserve Board's Monetary Affairs Division, which supports the Board and the Federal Open Market Committee in the conduct of monetary policy. Madigan began his career at the Federal Reserve Board in 1979 as an economist. He was appointed to the board's official staff in 1987, promoted to associate director of the Division of Monetary Affairs in 1993 and to deputy director in 2001. He was appointed director of the division in July 2007. He also served as a senior economist on the Council of Economic Advisers (1989-1990). Currently, he serves as economist and secretary of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve System's principal monetary policymaking body.
William F. Oldsey '76 Lib is executive vice president of McGraw-Hill Education, part of the McGraw-Hill Companies in New York City. An accomplished leader in educational publishing, Oldsey directs the School Education Group, which provides print and digital instructional materials, teacher professional development and assessment content for pre-K-12 markets around the world. Prior to joining McGraw-Hill, Oldsey was group president for Pearson Education's International Operations. He had also served as president of Silver Burdett Ginn, president of Prentice Hall Higher Education, and president of Pearson's Professional and Reference Publishing Group. Oldsey began his career at Macmillan Publishing Co. as a college sales representative.
Gerald J. "Jerry" Parsons '74 Eng is chairman and CEO of Communications Test Design Inc. (CTDI), an international telecommunications service provider with 4,000 employees and 42 locations worldwide. Parsons and his father founded CTDI in the family's garage in 1975 as a small electronics repair company. Twelve years later, Parsons became president and CEO. Under his leadership, CTDI has evolved into an international telecommunications service provider specializing in services such as wireless repair and logistics, network deployment, supply management, product engineering and manufacturing and systems integration. Parsons assumed the role of chairman in 2006.
Christine Sears '77 Cap is the executive vice president and chief financial officer of Penn National Insurance in Harrisburg, Pa. Penn National ranks 101st among the more than 1,000 U.S. property and casualty insurance companies. Sears began as a financial analyst with Penn National in 1980. She became senior vice president and chief financial officer in 1999, then was promoted to executive vice president along with chief financial officer responsibilities in 2007. Her current responsibilities include aligning corporate objectives with financial, human resource and information technology objectives; financial planning; and investment portfolio management.
Amitabh Srivastava '84g Eng is a senior vice president at Microsoft in Redmond, Wash., overseeing Windows Azure, the company's new operating system for the cloud platform. Since joining Microsoft in 1997, Srivastava has served as corporate vice president of the Windows group and founded the Microsoft Programmer Productivity Research Center, now the Center for Software Excellence. Srivastava was named a Microsoft Distinguished Engineer in recognition of his performance, technical vision, expertise and world-class leadership in developing Microsoft products and standards. Before joining Microsoft, Srivastava was chief technical officer and vice president of engineering at TracePoint Technology. He began his career as a researcher at Texas Instruments Research Labs in Dallas.
Debra West Ulrich '77 H&HD is president and chief operating officer of Sysco Central Pennsylvania LLC. During her 31-year career with Sysco, a global leader in the sale and distribution of food products, Ulrich has been part of a leadership team that has overseen the company's growth to become an industry leader. Since starting her career with Sysco as a secretary, Ulrich has worked as an account executive, district sales manager and director of program sales. In 1989, she joined Sysco's corporate headquarters, where she spent 13 years working with sales and developing new programs. In 2002, Ulrich became vice president of sales at FreshPoint, a specialty produce distributor. She joined Sysco Central Pennsylvania in 2005 and was named president and CEO of the company in 2008.
Complete bios and photos are available at http://www.alumni.psu.edu/awards/individual online.