UB Today Alumni Magazine Online - Fall 2002
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People of Note
Pamela S. Benson, B.A. 1976
Gary D. Lessord, M.F.A. 1979
Margaret I. Wooster, M.U.P. 1988 & Ph.D. 1978
Clotilde Dedecker, Ed.M. 2000


tell us about yourself

1970s Classnotes

Philip N. Edwards, B.S. 1971, was appointed assistant superintendent of the West Hempstead Union Free School District. Previously, he served the Hewlett-Woodmere public schools for 22 years as both a social studies teacher and dean of students. After leaving Hewlett, he was assistant principal of Jericho High School in Woodmere, NY, principal of Ardsley High School in Westchester, NY and supervising principal in the Chancellor’s High School District of New York, NY. Edwards resides in Woodmere.

Mark G. Farrell, J.D. 1972 & B.A. 1969, has been named Jurist of the Year by the Judges and Police Conference of Erie County. He was cited for outstanding judicial efforts as the Town Justice in the Town of Amherst and for innovative efforts locally, regionally and nationally in pursuing the concept of therapeutic courts. His efforts resulted in the first domestic violence court in Erie County and the first suburban drug court and gambling treatment court in the United States. Currently, he is in his third term as Amherst Town Justice; he is also an acting Buffalo City Court Judge. Farrell is a member of the board of directors of the University at Buffalo Alumni Association, the Judges and Police Conference, and the executive committee of the New York State Magistrates’ Association. He also serves as secretary of the New York State Drug Treatment Court Professionals Association. Farrell lives in Amherst, NY.

Mark W. Huddleston, B.A. 1972, has been named dean of the University of Delaware’s College of Arts and Science. The college is the largest of the university’s seven colleges, with an enrollment of 9,411 full- and part-time students. He had previously served as associate provost for international programs and special sessions, and chair and professor in the department of political science and international relations. He has worked extensively in Bosnia and Kazakhstan for USAID and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He has also managed programs for the United States Information Agency in Slovenia, Mexico, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Huddleston holds master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a resident of Newark, DE.

Stephen A. Ikler, B.A. 1972, has been named product manager of financial aid at Systems and Computer Technologies (SCT) in Malvern, PA. He will be responsible for assisting the solutions manager for financial aid in developing solutions strategies, as well as carrying out the product-planning process for the SCT Banner, SCT Plus and associated self-service web capabilities. In 11 years with SCT, Ikler has served as both a senior and principal consultant in education systems development for the Banner Financial Aid product, as well as the consultant for the Federal Modernization Project. He resides in Downingtown, PA.

Manuel Perez, M.A. 1972, a staff scientist at Ensco Inc. in Cocoa Beach, FL, appeared in the Spring 2002 issue of Hispanic Engineer and Information Technology magazine. Perez is a member of Ensco’s aerospace sciences and engineering division, in which he has developed inertial guidance and navigation systems. Before joining Ensco in 1995, Perez was at Grumman, where he was instrumental in developing a critical part of the radar software application for the U.S. Army-U.S. Air Force Joint STARS program, a long-range, air-to-ground surveillance system designed to locate, classify and track ground targets in all weather conditions. Perez lives in Melbourne, FL.

Kenneth P. Schirmuhly, M.B.A. 1973 & B.S. 1969, has been appointed vice president of human resources at Visiting Nurse Service of Rochester and Monroe County Inc., the largest full-service, home health-care provider in the Rochester area. In 1979, he began his career at Rochester Telephone Company, where he was responsible for the integration of Frontier Corporation and Global Crossing Telecommunications’ human resource operations and employee benefits. Most recently, he served as vice president of human resources at Global Crossing.

Philip K. DiPirro, M.S. 1974 & B.S. 1972, has published his first novel, Knights in White Satin, a mystery that takes place in Buffalo and includes references to UB and the Spectrum. DiPirro is the president of Shored Construction Inc., a construction/engineering business that opened in 1983. He lives in Rockville, MD.

Alan M. Miller, M.A. 1974 & B.A. 1972, is vice president and associate dean for clinical affairs at the Tulane University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, LA. Miller began his professional career in 1987, when he joined the faculty of the University of Florida’s department of medicine section of oncology. In 1991, he went on to become medical coordinator of the University of Florida’s bone marrow transplant program, and by 1993 had moved to Tulane University as director of its bone marrow transplant program. At Tulane, Miller holds the academic rank of professor of medicine, pediatrics and pharmacology; he also serves as deputy director of the Tulane Cancer Center. He is listed in Best Doctors in America and has been named among New Orleans’ top doctors by New Orleans Magazine. He lives in Mandeville, LA.

Jane B. Ciesielski, Ed.M. 1975, is founder and executive director of Bridges for Education Inc., an organization established in 1994 to promote tolerance and world understanding through the use of English as a bridge language. The 8,500 participating students from 33 countries are divided into small classes. Teachers use an active-learning approach to teach English by focusing on human rights issues, conflict-resolution, team-building and leadership. Children ages 14-18 participate with the help of funds given for economic need, or for outstanding academic achievement. Ciesielski has twice been a non-governmental organization (NGO) consultant in Romania with USAID, has taught NGO management at Babes Boylai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and is currently coordinating United Way efforts in Romania. She lives in Amherst, NY.

Robert B. Murrett, B.A. 1975, a Navy captain from North Buffalo, has been named a U.S. Navy Rear Admiral. His career in the Navy began soon after graduation when Murrett earned his lieutenant’s commission. Over the past two decades he has risen from assistant intelligence officer of the Second Fleet to commander of the Atlantic Intelligence Command, located in Norfolk, VA. Since August 2000, Murrett has also been director of intelligence for the Joint Forces Intelligence Command in Norfolk. His new appointment will make him vice director of intelligence for the Defense Intelligence Agency, the country’s global eyes and ears.

Anthony D. Oliver, B.A. 1975, a manager at Hy-Grade Distributors in Tonawanda, NY, has created a class for history buffs based on the life of John F. Kennedy, part of an eight-week community education class at Clarence Middle School in Clarence, NY. “The JFK Presidency in Historical Perspective” explores a variety of topics relating to the Kennedy presidency and the Kennedy family. Oliver developed the course through extensive research at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, MA, among other sources. He lives in Amherst, NY.

William D. Richardson, M.A. 1975 & B.A. 1973, is chair of the department of political science and director of the W.O. Farber Center at the University of South Dakota. He lives in Vermillion, SD.

Steven J. Shimberg, B.A. 1975, has been named associate administrator for enforcement and compliance at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC, where he resides. He was formerly vice president of the National Wildlife Federation.

Theresa A. Cameron, B.A. 1976, is an associate professor of planning at Arizona State University’s department of architecture. She has recorded her memories and feelings about being a foster child in the book Foster Care Odyssey: A Black Girl’s Story (University Press of Mississippi, 2002). Cameron sits on Arizona’s board of interagency case management, a group that links children to after-school care and encourages them to finish their education. Additionally, she is involved with the foster shelters in her area, where she volunteers and sells posters of children’s art to help raise money. Cameron lives in Tempe, AZ.

Leon J. Gossin, B.S. 1976, a 15-year veteran of the health-care and financial management business, has been appointed senior vice president and chief financial officer of Visiting Nurse Service of Rochester and Monroe County Inc., a Medicare-certified, home health-care agency. Previously, Gossin served as CFO and original partner of MedSynTech, a medical software company, and held senior-level management positions, including controller and manager of financial planning, at Preferred Care. He also acted as consultant for the Crestwood Group and KPMG Peat Marwick. Gossin resides in Rochester, NY.

Gary J. Jastrzab, B.A. 1976, is director of the strategic planning and policy division of the Philadelphia (PA) City Planning Commission. He lives with his family in Philadelphia.

Carol Ann E. Leavell, B.A. 1977, a 1968 graduate of St. John Vianney School in Orchard Park, NY, has been named a 2001 National Catholic Education Association “Catholic Elementary School Distinguished Graduate.” Cited for outstanding personal and professional achievements, she has been an example throughout her career of how Catholic schools have educated individuals to assume leadership roles in their communities and beyond. Leavell is currently a clinical neuropsychiatrist and director of Healthsouth Braintree Hospital in Braintree, MA. She also teaches at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She resides in Abington, MA.

Dennis R. McCoy, J.D. 1977, has been elected chair of the New York State Bar Association’s torts, insurance and compensation law section. He is currently a partner in the Buffalo office of the statewide law firm of Hiscock, Barclay, Saperston & Day. Formerly an editor of the Buffalo Law Review, McCoy works nationwide handling general litigation, product liability, professional liability and health-care law cases. He lives in Snyder, NY.

Pamela S. Gray, B.A. 1978, was chosen as one of the “Ten Screenwriters to Watch” by Variety. Her screenwriting credits include Music of the Heart, which earned Meryl Streep an Oscar nomination, and Walk On The Moon, produced by Dustin Hoffman and featured on several “ten best” lists in 1999. Aside from screenwriting, Gray is a published poet and playwright whose works have been staged. She resides in Sebastopol, CA.

Alan R. Koslow, M.D. 1978 & B.S. 1976, was one of six people nationwide to be awarded the March of Dimes’ Distinguished Volunteer Service Award. A surgeon at the Iowa Heart Center in Des Moines, IA, he is chair-elect for the Iowa state chapter of the March of Dimes and has directed its public affairs committee for the past four years. Along with being a board member for seven non-profit organizations, including the Blank Park Zoo, he has been the top fund-raiser for Des Moines’ Walk-America for the past five years. Over that time, he has raised between $2,500 and $3,500 annually. Koslow lives with his family in West Des Moines.

Steven J. Lana, B.A. 1978, has been a key voice in efforts to save Buffalo Children’s Hospital from being moved by Kaleida Health. Lana did his residency at Children’s Hospital and, although not employed by Kaleida, he is known as head of the Children’s medical staff. Prior to his involvement with Children’s, Lana split his time between Mercy Hospital and Delaware Pediatrics, his current private practice in Buffalo. He lives in Lake View, NY.

Craig L. Aberle, B.S. 1979, a three-time Inc. 500 winner, is currently a commercial real estate investor in Hudson County, NJ. As founder and former CEO of a high-tech firm, Aberle sold his 15-year-old software company to a publicly traded NASDAQ firm in 2000. He has written How to Computerize Your Small Business (John Wiley and Sons, 1995). An Eagle Scout, Aberle is an executive board member of the Northern New Jersey Boy Scouts of America Council in the “Urban Emphasis” program, and an active member of his temple in Mahwah, NJ, where he resides with his wife and three children.

Mark F. Myszka, B.S. 1979, has been named a unit commissioner for the Boy Scouts of America, Greater Niagara Frontier Council. This position will require Myszka to provide support to various Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs. Previously, he was president of the School of Management Alumni Association at UB. He works as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch in Buffalo, NY and resides in Clarence Center, NY.

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