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Congratulations to the 2016 award winners.

On May 5, the UB Alumni Association recognized 12 outstanding alumni and friends for their achievements and bringing distinction to UB. This year's on-campus celebration included dignitaries, alumni, colleagues, family and friends.

Alumni accomplishments significantly benefit both society and our university community, advancing the common good and inspiring others with passion and creativity.

The University at Buffalo and the UB Alumni Association honor the accomplishments of these individuals:

The 2016 Honorees

Frank Clement, BS ’66

Watch Frank Clement's speech

Frank Clement is a past member of the School of Management Dean’s Advisory Council and the UB Alumni Association national board. He worked to build the alumni presence in Seattle, hosting alumni events for then-UB presidents Bill Greiner and John Simpson. He was chairman of the board for Caravali Coffees, the wholesale division of Starbucks, and a board member of Red Hook Ale Brewery. Retired as vice president of investments at UBS Financial Services (formerly Paine Webber), Clement’s generous gifts to the School of Management created the Frank and Marilyn Clement Undergraduate Community Hub and the Clement Café. He was given the school’s alumni service award in 2004.

Watch Frank Cerny's video

After helping to establish a children’s lung center at Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, Frank Cerny joined the UB faculty in the School of Public Health and Health Professions, eventually becoming chair of the physical therapy, exercise and nutrition sciences department. His research led to global recognition that physical activity should be part of standard care for patients suffering from cystic fibrosis. He retired from UB in 2004. Having completed a master’s of divinity degree, Cerny became a pastor of Pathways Christian Fellowship, which founded the Rural Outreach Center (ROC) that serves hundreds of rural residents of Western New York. Cerny is executive director of the center.

Diane Christian and Bruce Jackson

Watch Diane Christian and Bruce Jackson's video

Diane Christian and Bruce Jackson met at UB after each arrived to teach in the English department, Jackson in 1967 and Christian in 1970; they married and carved out varied and successful careers at UB and beyond. They are writers, filmmakers, distinguished professors and community-minded citizen-activists. As co-directors of the UB Center for Studies in American Culture, they founded the highly popular Buffalo Film Seminars in 2000. They also share a commitment to leaving a legacy at UB, pledging a $1 million bequest in honor of their mothers to establish undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships for UB students in the creative and performing arts. 

Robert Bennett, MS ’76

Watch Robert Bennett's video

Robert Bennett spent 23 years at the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, the last 15 as president and CEO. He developed many initiatives, including the Child Advocacy Center for victims of child sex abuse, and the Family Resource Centers in the Schools. Bennett also spent two decades on the New York State Board of Regents. He was elected as Eighth Judicial District regent in 1995, served three terms, then was elected chancellor in 2002, a position he held through 2009. During his tenure, he oversaw the toughening of high school graduation requirements, raised awareness of the importance of early childhood education programs and was a champion of career-focused programs. 

Richard Kurin, BA ’72

Watch Richard Kurin's video

Richard Kurin is provost and undersecretary for museums and research at the Smithsonian Institution, overseeing all the national museums and research from astrophysics to zoology. Long involved in cultural heritage work, he helped draft an international preservation treaty and oversees emergency projects around the globe. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Kurin actively supports UB; he hosted UB’s presidential event at the Smithsonian Castle in 2015, served on the College of Arts and Sciences dean’s advisory council and on the Humanities Institute advisory board.

Eileen Silvers, BA '70

Watch Eileen Silvers' video

Eileen Silvers had a prominent career in law and business, spending some 20 years as a partner at the firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, then holding significant positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb; Deloitte & Touche, and Genpact Limited. She made a generous pledge to help establish the Eileen Silvers WBFO Visiting Professorship in the Arts and Humanities. Silvers serves on the College of Arts and Sciences dean’s advisory council and the UB Foundation board. 

Ashutosh Sharma, PhD ’88

Watch Ashutosh Sharma's video

Ashutosh Sharma was named secretary of the Department of Science and Technology for the Government of India in 2015. He also served as the chair of the chemical engineering department at the Indian Institute of Technology and was the founding coordinator of the Nanosciences Center and the Advanced Imaging Center at the school in Kanpur. While at UB, he worked closely with Eli Ruckenstein, a National Medal of Science recipient. 

Meherwan Boyce, MS ’64

Watch Meherwan Boyce's video

Meherwan Boyce has nearly 50 years of experience in turbo machinery, in industry and academia. He is managing partner and chairman for the Boyce Consultancy Group, LLC, an alliance of engineering and industrial consultants with keen knowledge and experience in power generation. As a mechanical engineering professor at Texas A&M University, Boyce founded the TurboMachinery Laboratories and Symposium. A fellow of four professional engineering societies, and author of several engineering texts, Boyce has lectured at universities worldwide and has received numerous honors.

Thomas Nochajski, PhD ’90, BA ’82

Watch Thomas Nochajski's video

Thomas Nochajski is a research professor in the School of Social Work, where he is lauded as an outstanding teacher and mentor to students and to his fellow faculty members. Nochajski co-directs the school’s Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care. He also serves as an associate research scientist at the Research Institute of Addictions, where his work focuses on prevention of alcohol and drug problems, including how mental health and behavioral risk factors influence treatment and prevention outcomes. 

Brian King, PhD ’10, MPH ’06, BS ’04

Watch Brian King's video

Brian King is deputy director for research translation in the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He joined the CDC as an epidemic intelligence service officer in 2010 and works to provide sound scientific evidence to inform tobacco control policy at state, national and international levels. He has authored or co-authored more than 70 peer-reviewed scientific articles pertaining to tobacco prevention and control.

Watch Jeremy Jacobs' video

Jeremy M. Jacobs is chairman of Delaware North, a global leader in hospitality and food service. He also is owner of the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League and chairman of the league's Board of Governors. His family recently gave $30 million to name the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the first school naming in UB history. The gift propelled the Jacobs’ family total giving to UB to more than $50 million. A member of the UB Council since 1997, he has served as chairman since 1998; he previously served as chair, trustee and director of the UB Foundation, chair of the President’s Board of Visitors and advisor to the School of Management.