This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Alumni Association to introduce new award

Published: March 31, 2005

Reporter Contributor

"Excellence Must Be Celebrated" will be the theme of the UB Alumni Association's 2005 Celebration of Excellence award ceremony, to be held at 6 p.m. April 15 in the Four Points Sheraton, 2040 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga.

President John B. Simpson and Alumni Association President Jennifer B. Wozniak, M.B.A. '96, B.A.'92, will present the awards. Susan Banks, news anchor for WKBW-TV, will emcee.

A new award, The Richard T. Sarkin Award for Outstanding Teaching, will be instituted in honor of the late Richard T. Sarkin, M.D., Ed.M. '98, and he will be the first honoree.

An accomplished pediatrician, Sarkin was renowned for his teaching expertise and was a member of a small cadre of educators who championed and legitimized teaching skills curricula in medical schools across the country. Sarkin believed that effective teaching and evaluation are not only key to learning, but also lead to high-quality patient care and patient satisfaction.

He was a three-time recipient of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences' Louise A. and Ruth Siegel Award, which recognizes medical school faculty members for excellence in teaching, and was honored in 1998 with the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Sarkin died in a plane crash last October while traveling to a conference on humanism in medicine.

The alumni association's highest honor, the Samuel P. Capen Award, will go to Elizabeth Pierce Olmsted Ross, M.D. '39, D.Sc. '03. Olmsted Ross has championed issues related to the blind and visually impaired for six decades. The first female ophthalmologist in Western New York, she has been involved with the former Blind Association of Western New York, now known as the Elizabeth Pierce Olmsted, M.D., Center for the Visually Impaired, since she began practicing medicine. A generous philanthropist, Olmsted Ross established the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences' Ira G. Ross and Elizabeth P. Olmsted Ross, M.D. Chair in Ophthalmology. UB in 2003 received a $3 million challenge grant from her to establish a center of excellence devoted to vision research, education and clinical care that will be called the Ira G. Ross Eye Institute in honor of Olmsted's late husband. The institute will consist of two sites: a free-standing complex at 1176 Main St. next to the Elizabeth Pierce Olmsted, M.D., Center for the Visually Impaired, within the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC), and research facilities on the UB South Campus.

Frank Jen, professor emeritus in the School of Management, will receive the Walter P. Cooke Award, presented to a non-alumnus for notable and meritorious contributions to the university. Jen's contributions toward implementing a School of Management executive education program in Dalian, China, through the National Center for Industrial Science and Technology Management Development led the Chinese Ministry of Education to label it the "best foreign degree program in management in China." UB received millions of dollars from the U.S. government and leading American companies to administer the program, which ended in the aftermath of Tiananmen Square. Jen's efforts set the stage for the development of other UB efforts in Beijing and Singapore.

The Clifford C. Furnas Memorial Award will be presented to Lawrence Peckham, M.B.A. '74, B.S. '69. Peckham founded LPA Software, a major player in commercial software systems for inventory control, warehousing, defect management and supply-chain management. LPA was named one of Rochester's fastest-growing companies for eight years before Peckham sold it. He is a member of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences' Dean's Council and a past recipient of the school's highest honor, the Dean's Award. A recent five-year gift from Peckham and his wife, Nancy, was designated to upgrade undergraduate labs throughout the school.

Five alumni will receive the Distinguished Alumni designation in recognition of their exceptional career accomplishments, community or university service, or research and scholarly activity. They are:

  • William F. Balistreri, M.D. '70, B.A. '66, professor of medicine and director of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at the University of Cincinnati. Considered to be one of the leading pediatric hepatologists in the world, Balistreri is medical director for liver transplantation at Cincinnati's Children's Hospital Medical Center and has served as the president of the leading professional societies in hepatology. Balistreri has achieved excellence in medical/scientific leadership, clinical skills and scientific research, and has been named among the best doctors in America.

  • Juanita K. Hunter, Ed.D. '83, M.S. '74, B.S. '71, spent 20 years as a faculty member in the School of Nursing. Her career of more than 50 years also includes a significant role in the establishment of the Nursing Center for the Homeless of Buffalo. She is a past president of the New York State Nurses Association; was honored by Sigma Theta Tau, the professional nursing society; and was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 1990. Hunter has maintained exceptional standards of performance as an educator, researcher and leader in her profession and community.

  • Hadi Makarechian, B.A. '72, B.S. '72, is chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president of Capital Pacific Holdings, a diversified real estate company with operations in four states, including its home state of California. Makarechian's business acumen has propelled him to the top echelon of the U.S. building industry. One national ranking organization places CPH as the 78th largest builder in the U.S., and another organization in April 2004 ranked it as the 53rd largest builder of new homes in the nation. After earning his two degrees simulaneously from UB, Makarechian returned to his native Iran to work in his family's development and construction company. He returned to the U.S. after the Iranian Revolution.

  • Mark W. Nusbaum, M.Arch. '85, B.P.S. '83, was the project architect for the restoration of New York City's Grand Central Terminal, which was referred to by Architectural Record as "The Holy Grail of the landmark preservation movement." An associate at Beyer, Blinder, Belle Architects and Planners, he spent three years in the facility and headed the team ensuring contractor compliance with the specifications and drawings of the restoration. Nusbaum also is the principal of MWN Properties, a new company that restores old homes in Buffalo. He is a member of the Alumni Association's board of directors and annually leads alumni tours of Grand Central Terminal

A special Distinguished International Alumni Award is being inaugurated this year that will be presented to Hsin-Huang Hsaio, Ph.D. '79, M.A. '76, executive director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Area Studies in Taipei and a professor in the Department of Sociology at National Taiwan University. Hsiao also is a national policy advisor to the president of the Republic of China. A leading researcher in Southeast Asia for 25 years, he has played a major role in shaping the course of economic, political and social development in Taiwan. He has authored or co-authored more than 70 books and is past president of both the Institute of National Development and the Taiwanese Sociological Association.

The Philip B. Wels Outstanding Service Award will be given to Kenneth A. Manning, J.D. '77, B.S. '74. A tireless volunteer, Manning is chair of the Dean's Advisory Council for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and a member of the Dean's Advisory Council for the UB Law School. He is managing partner and a trial lawyer at Phillips, Lytle in Buffalo, as well as a legal author. An advocate and volunteer leader for both schools who participates each year in UB Day in Albany, Manning in 2003 received the Law School's Distinguished Alumni Award.

The Honorable John T. Curtin, J.D. '49, will receive the Community Leadership Medal in recognition and appreciation of his outstanding accomplishments in making the UB community a better place to live and work. Curtin, who has served on the federal bench for 37 years, is known throughout the United States as an eminent jurist whose commitment to justice and equality is unsurpassed. He has presided with wisdom and courage over some of the most important cases in Western New York history, including those dealing with the Attica Correctional Facility, Love Canal and Bethlehem Steel.

Four UB students also will be awarded $500 scholarships at the Celebration of Excellence award ceremony. The J. Scott Fleming scholarship is presented to full-time undergraduate and graduate students whose volunteer and leadership efforts have helped to promote student involvement at UB and have enhanced the student experience through their extracurricular work. This year's recipients are Christopher Gorri, a senior studying business administration with a dual concentration in human resource management and marketing; Jennifer Pugh, B.A. '04, a medical student; Sujata Sofat, a senior majoring in biomedical sciences with minors in Spanish, medicinal chemistry and biochemical pharmacology; and Mario Tlatenchi, a senior political science and geography student