The retired chairman of Kraft and a couple who have won international acclaim for helping hundreds of thousands of persecuted Jews immigrate to friendly countries were among those honored at the Alumni Association's 56th annual installation and awards dinner May 9.
The Samuel P. Capen Award
Awarded in recognition of notable and meritorious contributions to the university.
Arthur W. Woelfle Jr., B.S. '43, is a retired chair of Kraft. A longtime friend of UB, Woelfle is a member of the UB Board of Visitors, a group of voluntary advisors who work closely with UB President William R. Greiner. In 1981, Woelfle received a UB Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award. He recently gave UB $1 million to create the Arthur W. Woelfle Jr. Athletic Scholarship Fund. The fund provides support for UB student-athletes meeting specific academic standards, helping them prove themselves in the classroom and on the playing field. During his years at UB, Woelfle earned varsity letters as a member of the football team.
Distinguished Alumni Awards
Given in recognition of exceptional career accomplishments, university or community service, or research and scholarly activities.
Gaynor Jacobson, M.S.W. '41 & B.A. '37, spent most of his professional life confronting the legacy of death and displacement created by the Nazis during World War II. He worked for 30 years to help hundreds of thousands of Jews-a large number of them Holocaust survivors-escape discrimination, torture and death, and to negotiate their safe immigration to new settlements in the United States, Brazil, Turkey, Israel and elsewhere. He initially worked for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in the 1940s and early 1950s, serving as national director overseeing the organization's relief activities in Italy, Greece, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. In 1953, he joined the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society as director of Latin American Operations, where he was executive vice president at the time of his retirement in 1981. Among his many honors is the Silver Pin Award from the State of Israel.
Florence Jacobson, M.S.W. '56 & B.A. '34, often worked alongside her husband, Gaynor, putting social work concepts learned at UB into practice as she worked with immigrants. She worked with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Czechoslovakia and Hungary, setting up and supervising social services for thousands of Jews living in these countries and to those who had emigrated from eastern European countries. She later worked as a social worker specializing in immigration cases with the Jewish Social Service Agency of Chicago; worked with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in Rio de Janeiro in programs involving resettlement of immigrants from Europe; taught and trained social work students at the l'École d'Études Sociales in Geneva, Switzerland; and worked for the New York City Department of Social Services from 1967 until retiring in 1980.
Donald W. Fisher, M.A. '48 & B.A. '44, redesigned the New York State Museum's exhibit halls and dioramas of ancient marine environments through geological time. Designated as New York State paleontologist in 1955, he has devoted his career to developing an understanding of the geology of New York State, while maintaining a high level of scholarly activity and providing outstanding public and educational service.
Harley E. Flack, Ph.D. '71, became the fourth president of Wright State University in 1994. He has held positions in academic administration at Rowan College of New Jersey, SUNY/Old Westbury and Howard University. A past president of the National Society of Allied Health, Flack served as founding editor of its journal. He is a former Middle States Association evaluator, and also serves as a consultant in the area of strategic planning. An accomplished musician and composer, Flack has created more than 25 works for piano and voice.
Martha Herr, M.F.A. '83 & B.F.A. '77, is a singer of international reputation who specializes in contemporary music. She has participated in concerts, operas and recordings in the United States, Brazil and Europe as a soloist and member of several chamber ensembles. A resident of Brazil, she is a professor of voice at the University of Sao Paulo, where she developed the curriculum and program requirements for the bachelor's degree in voice. In 1990, she earned the Sao Paulo Critics' Association's Singer of the Year award.
The Walter P. Cooke Award
Awarded in recognition of notable and meritorious contributions to UB by a non-alumnus.
George C. Lee has just retired as dean of the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and continues as director of the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research headquartered at UB. A distinguished and dedicated 34-year member of the UB faculty, Lee has consistently guided the growth of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences toward its current highly regarded position in the world research community. Instrumental in developing partnerships between UB and the industrial community, including the formation of the Calspan-UB Research Center and the Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence project, Lee also initiated the Engineering Career Institute for undergraduate engineering students. In addition, he has played a significant role in establishing the Buffalo-area Engineering Awareness for Minorities (BEAM) program.
Clifford C. Furnas Memorial Award
Awarded to a graduate of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences or the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics who has distinguished himself or herself in the field of science.
Thomas F. Mich, Ph.D. '67, is vice president of chemical development at the Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research Division of the Warner-Lambert Company. He is one of the most prominent and successful graduates of the Department of Chemistry through his work in chemical research in the synthesis of natural products, the preparation of unique strained systems and the study of new chemical reactions. The holder of 30 patents in the area of synthesis of a variety of bacterial agents, including penicillins, cephalosporins and monobactams, Mich plays an essential role in commercializing the research efforts of a large group of Parke-Davis research chemists.
The George W. Thorn Award
Awarded to a UB graduate under the age of 40 for outstanding contributions to his or her career field or academic area.
Robert J. Full, Ph.D. '84, M.S. '82 & B.A. '79, heads the Poly-PEDAL Laboratory at the University of California/Berkeley and is the developer of the general model for terrestrial locomotion. His work has provided much of the biological inspiration for the design of robots. The recipient of a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, Full is a consultant to the Office of Naval Research.