19 to Be Honored by UB Alumni Association

By Barbara A. Byers

Release Date: February 28, 2008 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Alumni Association will honor 19 individuals with achievement awards at a gala to be held April 5 in the Adam's Mark Hotel, 120 Church St.

A cocktail reception at 6 p.m. will be followed by dinner and the awards presentations starting at 6:45 p.m.

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 will be awarded J. Scott Fleming Scholarships, and new to the ceremony this year is the Volunteer Service Medal, which will be given to four outstanding volunteers.

UB President John B. Simpson and UB Alumni Association President Marc A. Adler, M.A. '83, M.B.A. '82 & B.A. '79, will present the awards. Susan Banks, M.A. '94, former news anchor for WKBW-TV, will emcee.

Tickets for the Alumni Association Achievement Awards are $100 per person, or $1,000 for a table of 10. Call the UB Office of Alumni Relations by March 28 to make reservations, at 1-800-284-5382.

The alumni association's highest honor, the Samuel P. Capen Award, will be presented to Wilson Greatbatch, M.S. '57, of Buffalo. 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 multi-billion dollar medical device business. In 1984, the pacemaker was chosen as one of the 10 greatest engineering contributions to society during the past 50 years by the National Society of Professional Engineers. Greatbatch is the inventor or co-inventor on more than 300 patents, a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the founder of numerous companies and current president of GRI LLC.

Four Distinguished Alumni Awards will be presented in recognition of exceptional career accomplishments, community or university service, or research and scholarly activity. The recipients will be John M. Canty Jr., M.D. '79, of Snyder; Patricia T. Castiglia, Ph.D. '76, M.S. '65 & B.S. '62, of Hamburg; Paul A. Mayewski, B.A. '68, of Castine, Maine; and posthumously to Blair A. Rudes, Ph.D. '76, M.A. '74 & B.A. '73, of Charlotte, N.C., who died unexpectedly on March 16.

Canty is Albert and Elizabeth Rekate Chair in Cardiovascular Disease and director of UB's Center for Research in Cardiovascular Medicine, chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, a professor of physiology and biophysics and vice chair for research in the Department of Medicine in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. His research has led to novel approaches to repair diseased heart muscle and grow new blood vessels, as well as to better identify patients at risk of developing sudden cardiac arrest. In addition, Canty heads the Cardiovascular Disease Group in UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, serves on several UB 2020 committees and is a member of the newly integrated UBMD faculty practice plan.

Castiglia joined the full-time faculty in the UB School of Nursing in 1977 and served as assistant professor, associate professor, associate dean and interim dean until 1990. She co-founded the first professional nursing corporation in New York State, Professional Nurse Consultants, and worked with the State Legislature in an effort that successfully allowed nurse practitioners to practice in New York. Castiglia also served as dean of the College of Health Sciences, professor and assistant to the president for health affairs at the University of Texas-El Paso.

Mayewski is director of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, a glaciologist, explorer and an internationally recognized expert in polar glacier research and climate change. He is founder and chair of the executive committee for the International Trans Antarctic Scientific Expedition (ITASE). As chief scientist and field leader for U.S. expeditions, he has led the team across 5,000 miles and obtained more than 13,000 feet of ice cores. Mayewski's primary research interests are changes in climate and chemistry of the atmosphere, showing the dynamic nature of Antarctica's ice cover and the impact of global climate change on its extent.

Rudes was an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. A renowned linguist, Rudes specialized in the language of the Tuscarora, the Iroquois nation in Lewiston, N.Y., and compiled a comprehensive dictionary, "The Tuscarora-English/English-Tuscarora Dictionary," which has become an authoritative reference on the language's vocabulary. He consulted on major motion pictures, translating native languages and training both directors and actors, including The New World, a film about Jamestown, Virginia, that starred Colin Farrell and Christopher Plummer.

The Clifford C. Furnas Award, presented to engineering, natural sciences or mathematics alumni who have distinguished themselves in a field of science, will be given to Chrysostomos L. "Max" Nikias, Ph.D. '82 & M.S. '80, of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. As provost of the University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering, Nikias has recruited a number of new deans and senior administrators and launched initiatives to improve the student experience, advance doctoral education, promote the arts and humanities and explore new research frontiers. His fundraising efforts drew more than $220 million in gifts and new endowments to the school during his four years as dean, and a historic $52 million naming gift from Andrew and Erna Viterbi in 2004 drew worldwide attention. Nikias is also founding director and principal investigator for USC's Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC), and he is internationally recognized for pioneering research on digital communications and signal processing, digital media systems and biomedicine.

Cynthia Hoover, Ph.D. '95, will receive the George W. Thorn Award, which is given to alumni under 40 in recognition of outstanding national or international contributions to their career field or academic area. She is director of electronics research and development at Praxair, Inc. in Tonawanda, N.Y., where she is responsible for the identification, development and commercialization of new products for the electronics industry. The holder of several patents, Hoover began her career as a research chemist and joined Praxair in 1997 as a development associate, also serving as manager of Praxair's organometallics research and development. In 2004, she received an Innovation Award from Praxair for her work in developing materials for new semiconductor devices, and in 2005 she received the Young Eminent Engineer Award from the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). That same year, she was one of 88 of the nation's brightest young engineers who were selected to participate in the NAE's 11th annual Frontiers of Engineering symposium.

Reserved for non-alumni who have made notable and meritorious contributions to UB, the Walter P. Cooke Award will be presented to Ying-Kit Leung, of Hong Kong, China. He received his medical degree from the University of Hong Kong and lived in Buffalo from 1984-89 while completing his Buswell Fellowship. During that time he was also an attending physician in Children's Hospital and an assistant research professor of pediatrics in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Leung was instrumental in creating a UB Alumni Chapter in Hong Kong and serves as its honorary president, hosting receptions for alumni, students and administrators. He also hosted President John B. Simpson and other UB administrators during a visit in 2005 and accompanied the university's leadership to China in 2003 for the signing of medical school partnerships. In May 2004 Leung was appointed honorary clinical professor of pediatrics by the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in

recognition of his service to UB's international programs. He also serves on the school's Dean's Advisory Council.

The Dr. Richard T. Sarkin Award for Excellence in Teaching will be presented to Michael F. Buckley, B.S. '78 & B.A. '76, of West Seneca, N.Y. Buckley is a highly respected lecturer and teacher in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. His projects include The UB Talker and the DISCO (Disabled Interactive Coordination Sensory Opportunities) System, both of which involved students from his senior-level computer science courses. The UB Talker enables speech-impaired persons to communicate using a touch-screen laptop computer, resulting in natural two-way conversations. The DISCO system provides a programmable light and sound station for use in teaching physically handicapped, autistic and developmentally delayed children.

Buckley has taught programming and software engineering for 16 years and is an experienced software architect in industry and government. He also helped start Applied Sciences Group, a company dedicated to providing employment to Buffalo-area engineers that today boasts many UB graduates.

Irene S. Snow, M.D. '80, of Snyder, N.Y., will be given the Community Leadership Medal. Snow is medical director of Buffalo Medical Group, PC, and a clinical assistant professor at the University at Buffalo 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. In September 2007 she was appointed by New York State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., to a new board that will govern the combined Erie County Medical Center and Kaleida Health systems.

The Dr. Philip B. Wels Award will be given posthumously to Northrup R. Knox, recognizing his achievements that have greatly enhanced the quality of life of the entire UB community. Knox was a banker, community leader and staunch supporter of the university for decades, continuing a long family tradition. He served as director of the University at Buffalo Foundation, a member of its executive and investment committees and was one of the original architects of the policies governing the foundation's investment procedures.

Knox served as national chairman of UB's Pathways to Greatness fundraising campaign, the first in the school's history as a public university and, at the time, the second-largest ever conducted within the SUNY system. The effort raised $56.3 million, concluded two months ahead of schedule and raised $4 million over its goal. As chairman and director of the Seymour H. Knox Foundation, he pledged $1 million to endow programming at UB's newly established Center for the Arts in 1998. He was a member of the University Founders, an honorary society of individuals whose philanthropic commitments to UB totaled $50,000 or more, and in 1994 he received the UB President's Medal for his significant contributions to the university's development and quality of life. Two years later, he was the recipient of an honorary SUNY doctorate of humane letters at UB's sesquicentennial convocation.

His son, Northrup R. Knox, Jr., will accept the award.

Four students will receive the J. Scott Fleming Scholarship.

Yasmin Adamy, B.A. '06, of Cowlesville, N.Y., is pursuing her advanced degree in law with a focus in family law and child welfare. She is the co-chair of the Domestic Violence Task Force and the outreach coordinator for the Federalist Society. She is also active as a student defender for Sub-Board I, Inc., and is a member of Phi Alpha Delta Fraternity.

Tonawanda resident and native of Rzeszow, Poland, Buffalo's sister city, Przemyslaw Garbaczewski is a senior majoring in business administration in finance, international business and economics. He is president of both the School of Management undergraduate student body and the International Business Association, a member of the School of Management Alumni Association Board of Directors, Academic Adjudication Standing Committee, the Committee on Academic Appeals, the Golden Key International Honor Society and the Tau Sigma National Honor Society. He is a teaching assistant for macroeconomic theory and Polish language, is a practice interviewer for the School of Management Career Resource Center and a mentor for School of Management freshmen.

Peter Grollitsch, of Williamsville, N.Y., is a senior majoring in international business. He is president of the Student Association, a member of the Sub-Board I, Inc. (SBI) Board of Directors, a Student Association senator and a member of UB Believers. He is an active member of the UB ski team, the College Republicans and Schussmeisters. Previously Grollitsch served as treasurer and assistant bookkeeper of the Student Association.

Rajavi Parikh, of West Seneca, N.Y., 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 is also an active member of the National Residence Hall Honorary, Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Honor Society and is the co-membership coordinator for Mortar Board Senior Honor Society.

New to the awards program this year is the Volunteer Service Medal to recognize outstanding volunteer contributions to the university. It will be presented to Richard L. Friend, M.B.A. '70 & B.S. '68, of Williamsville; Alfred T. Caffiero of Palm Springs, Calif., and Depew; Jay R. Friedman, Ed.M. '00 & B.A. '86, of Amherst; and Kaitsen Woo, M.Arch. '92, of Flushing, N.Y.

Friend has volunteered for the UB Division of Athletics since 2001, establishing a system that ensures the timely processing of medical bills for injured athletes. He frequently travels with UB teams on road trips, and assists with the UB Blue & White Club's annual fund drive. In 2004 Friend received the Gugino Award for his significant contributions of time and resources to the university's athletic programs.

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

Friedman has been a member of the UB Alumni Association board of directors since 1996 and also serves on the board of United University Professions. 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 raised more than $125,000 for the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and as a team captain for the Blue and White Club, he has helped raise more than $15,000 for athletic scholarships. Friedman is also the co-race director of the Linda Yalem 5K Run for Safety.

Woo is principal of an award-winning architectural firm, Kaitsen Woo Architect, based in New York City, 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 professional practice.