John Canty

Alumni Association Achievement Awards


On April 5, the UB Alumni Association presented achievement awards to 11 individuals at a gala event in the Adams Mark Hotel in downtown Buffalo. The awards are presented each spring to alumni and friends of UB for bringing distinction to themselves and the university through outstanding professional and personal achievement, loyal service to UB and exemplary service to their communities. Also that evening, four students were awarded J. Scott Fleming Scholarships and four individuals received Volunteer Service Awards.

Patricia Castiglia

Distinguished Alumni Awards

Distinguished Alumni Awards, given in recognition of exceptional career accomplishments, community or university service, or research and scholarly activity, were presented to John M. Canty Jr., MD ’79, of Snyder, NY; Patricia T. Castiglia, PhD ’76, MS ’65 & BS ’62, of Hamburg, NY; Paul A. Mayewski, BA ’68, of Castine, ME; and, posthumously, to Blair A. Rudes, PhD ’76, MA ’74 & BA ’73, of Charlotte, NC.

Paul Mayewski

Canty is Albert and Elizabeth Rekate Chair in Cardiovascular Disease and director of UB’s Center for Research in Cardiovascular Medicine. His research has led to novel approaches to repair diseased heart muscles and grow new blood vessels, as well as to better identify patients at risk of developing sudden cardiac arrest. Canty also heads the Cardiovascular Disease Group in UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.

Blair Rudes

Castiglia has served in a number of professorial positions, as well as acting associate and interim dean of the School of Nursing, cofounding the first professional nursing corporation in New York State and assisting to change legislation to allow nurse practitioners. Mayewski, director of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, is a glaciologist, explorer and an internationally recognized expert in polar glacier research and climate change. Rudes, who died March 16, was an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A renowned linguist, he consulted on major films, translating native languages, and training directors and actors.

Clifford C. Furnas Award

Chrysostomos L. "Max" Nikias

The Clifford C. Furnas Award, presented to engineering, natural sciences or mathematics alumni who have distinguished themselves in a field of science, was given to Chrysostomos L. “Max” Nikias, PhD ’82 & MS ’80, of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. Provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Southern California (USC), Nikias also is founding director of and principal investigator for USC’s Integrated Media Systems Center. He is internationally recognized for pioneering research on digital communications and signal processing, digital media systems, and biomedicine.

George W. Thorn Award

Cynthia Hoover

Cynthia Hoover, PhD ’95, received the George W. Thorn Award, which is given to alumni under 40 in recognition of outstanding national or international contributions to their career fields or academic areas. She holds several patents and is director of electronics research and development at Praxair Inc. in Tonawanda, NY, where she is responsible for the identification, development and commercialization of new products for the electronics industry.

Walter P. Cooke Award

Ying-Kit Leung

Reserved for nonalumni who have made notable and meritorious contributions to UB, the Walter P. Cooke Award was presented to Ying-Kit Leung of Hong Kong, China. Leung lived in Buffalo while completing his Buswell Fellowship, during which time he was also an attending physician in Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and an assistant research professor of pediatrics in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He was instrumental in creating a UB alumni chapter in Hong Kong and has hosted many UB dignitaries visiting China.

Dr. Richard T. Sarkin Award

Michael F. Buckley

The Dr. Richard T. Sarkin Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Michael F. Buckley, BS ’78 & BA ’76, of West Seneca, NY. A highly respected lecturer and teacher in the UB Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Buckley focuses on projects that contribute to society and include the UB Talker and the DISCO (Disabled Interactive Coordination Sensory Opportunities) System. These devices help speech-impaired individuals and children with developmental delays.

Community Leadership Medal

Irene Snow

Irene S. Snow, MD 80, of Snyder, NY, received the Community Leadership Medal. Snow is medical director of Buffalo Medical Group PC, and a clinical assistant professor in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. The board-certified internal medicine specialist is a former president of the Erie County Medical Society, a member of the American College of Physicians, Erie County Medical Society, American Medical Association and the American College of Physician Executives.

Dr. Philip B. Wels Award

Northrup R. Knox

The Dr. Philip B. Wels Award was given posthumously to Northrup R. Knox, recognizing his achievements that greatly enhanced the quality of life of the UB community. For decades, the former banker and community leader was a staunch supporter of the university through his role with the University at Buffalo Foundation. He also served as national chair of UB’s Pathways to Greatness fund-raising campaign from 1987 to 1991, which raised $56.3 million.

Samuel P. Capen Award

Wilson Greatbatch

The highest honor of the evening, the Samuel P. Capen Award, was presented to Wilson Greatbatch, MS ’57, of Buffalo, NY. Greatbatch is responsible for the conceptualization, refinement and production of the implantable cardiac pacemaker and battery, and is heralded as a father of bioengineering and a pioneer in the multibillion-dollar medical device industry. He is the inventor or coinventor on more than 300 patents, a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and current president of GRI LLC.

Volunteer and Student Salute

Also at the gala awards gathering on April 5, 2008, four UB students—including three graduating seniors—were awarded J. Scott Fleming Scholarships, and four individuals received Volunteer Service Awards.

Volunteer Awards

Richard L. Friend, MBA ’70 & BS ’68, of Williamsville, NY, has volunteered for the UB Division of Athletics since 2001, establishing a system that ensures the timely processing of medical bills for injured athletes.

For nearly 40 years Alfred T. Caffiero, of Palm Springs, CA, and Depew, NY, provided clinical internships for hundreds of UB physical therapy students. He is a volunteer professor and his research has helped to identify physical therapy techniques for muscular dystrophy patients. Caffiero has maintained his volunteering efforts despite being diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. In 2001, he established the Alfred T. Caffiero Foundation, which provides an annual scholarship to outstanding doctoral students studying physical therapy at UB.

Jay R. Friedman, EdM ’00 & BA ’86, of Amherst, NY, has been a member of the UB Alumni Association board of directors since 1996 and also serves on the board of United University Professions, the union representing faculty and professional staff at the university. He is president of the UB Employee alumni chapter and has chaired the Athletic Hall of Fame selection committee since 2003. As captain of the UB Spirit Team, he helped raise more than $125,000 for Roswell Park Cancer Institute. As a team captain for the Blue and White Club, he has helped to raise more than $15,000 for athletic scholarships. Friedman is also the race codirector of the Linda Yalem 5K Run for Safety.

Kaitsen Woo, MArch ’92, of Flushing, NY, a graduate of UB’s School of Architecture and Planning, is principal of the award-winning New York City firm Kaitsen Woo & J. Raible Architects that has a notable reputation for the conservation and restoration of historic buildings. Since 2003, Woo has volunteered as a mentor to UB students, providing internships and assisting them in networking and making a connection between their education in architecture and the world of professional practice.

Student Awards

Yasmin Adamy, BA ’06, of Cowlesville, NY, is pursuing her advanced degree in law with a focus in family law and child welfare. She is cochair of the Domestic Violence Task Force and outreach coordinator for the Federalist Society, active as a student defender for Sub-Board I Inc. and a member of Phi Alpha Delta Fraternity.

Przemyslaw Garbaczewski, a native of Rzeszów, Poland, is a senior majoring in business administration in finance, international business and economics. President of the School of Management undergraduate student body and the International Business Association, he is a member of the School of Management Alumni Association board of directors, Academic Adjudication Standing Committee, Committee on Academic Appeals, Golden Key International Honor Society and Tau Sigma National Honor Society. He is a teaching assistant for macroeconomic theory and Polish language, a practice interviewer for the School of Management Career Resource Center, and a mentor for School of Management freshmen.

Peter Grollitsch, of Williamsville, NY, is a senior majoring in international business. He is president of the Student Association, a member of the Sub-Board I Inc. board of directors, a Student Association senator and a UB Believer. He is an active member of the UB ski team, the College Republicans and Schussmeisters Ski Club.

Rajavi Parikh, of West Seneca, NY, is a senior majoring in international health with a minor in global gender studies. She is president of the Association for Pre-Medical Students, a member of the Indian Student Association, a UB STAR, a student blogger for UB Undergraduate Admissions, a volunteer women’s health counselor, a campus tour guide and an academic assistant. Parikh also is an active member of the National Residence Hall Honorary, Residence Hall Honorary and Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Honor Society, and is the co-membership coordinator for Mortar Board Senior Honor Society.