CSU Salutes Outstanding Alumni
Congratulations to recipients of CSU’s third-annual Alumni Recognition Awards and to the fourth class of Fascinating Alumni.
2019 Recognition Awards
Dallas Chapter for Outstanding Chapter Program. The chapter hosted the first Texas visit by President Harlan Sands, as well as CSU’s first Then and Now presentation.
Sherwin-Williams for Outstanding Chapter. S-W has been a trailblazer for corporate chapters that have followed.
Merissa Price, BBA ’15, Drew Anderson, BBA ’09, and Peter Bode, BS ’12, for Outstanding Young Alumni. Price is vice president of the Young Alumni Council. Anderson is the co-founder of Cleveland Kraut. Bode is the project manager, Central Lake Erie, West Creek Conservancy.
Timothy Tramble, MPA ’01, and Beverly Pettrey, BA ’15, for Outstanding Public Service. Tramble is the executive director of Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc. in Cleveland’s Kinsman area. Pettrey is a lieutenant in CSU’s Police Department.
Dorann Block Taylor, BEd ’69 and MEd ’75, and Evelyn Finley, BBA ’72 and MEd ’79, for David Balint Outstanding Volunteer Service. They co-chair the Alumni Association’s Education Chapter and have been committed volunteers for more than three decades.
Michael Ryan, JD ’96, for the Resilience Award. Ryan is a judge on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division who overcame a childhood marked by poverty, hunger and other issues.
Amanda Pacanovsky and Martin Barnard for Student Leadership. Both are Presidential Student Ambassadors and leaders in CSU’s 1964 Society.
Joseph Paoletta for the Presidential Citation for Exemplary Service to the Alumni Association. The catering director at CSU creates menus and dishes that help ensure the success of every alumni event on campus.
Berinthia R. LeVine for Honorary Lifetime Alumni Association Membership. LeVine has led CSU to new levels of philanthropic support and alumni engagement as vice president for University advancement and executive director of the CSU Foundation.
2019 Class of Fascinating Alumni
Douglas Rohde, MS ’92. As supervisor of chemistry and toxicology at the Lake County Crime Laboratory for 19 years, he identified the poison used in a high-profile murder as well as the chemical used to poison a barking dog.
Robert McGee, JD ’80. McGee holds 23 academic degrees, including 13 doctorates. The world champ in karate, taekwondo and kung-fu holds 238 gold medals as of December 2018.
Chuck Debelak, MEd ’03, and Helene Debelak, MEd ’92. They are the founders of Birchwood School of Hawken on Cleveland’s west side. He is Head of School and teaches mathematics. She is director of curriculum and teaches literature.
Danny Kastner, BMus ’86. The songwriter, musician and producer was fired by Donald Trump on the third season of The Apprentice.
Lisa Langford, MFA ’16. The actor, writer and playwright received a Joyce Foundation Award for her play Rastus and Hattie.
Sara Ziemnik, MA ’04. A history teacher at Rocky River High School for 18 years, she was named the Gilder Lehrman National History Teacher of the Year in 2017.
Jeremiah O’Callahan, BBA ’15. He is a NASA federal contracting officer, co-founder of the Rescue Inn animal rescue organization, and vice chairman of the Lake Erie Native American Council.
Pamela Tropiano, MPA ’97. The vice president for clinical services at AssureCare has 37 years of experience in nursing, including 20-plus years in health care and health plan administration.
Shawn Douglas, MEd ’00. He has been with the Lake County Department of Job & Family Services for 20 years and currently manages workforce programs.
Dennis Congos, BS ’72. This retired educator has provided training on supplemental instruction to more than 100 administrators and staff in more than 30 countries.
Christopher Kraska, MEd ’03 and BA ’17. This divemaster, underwater photographer and member of the Maritime Archaeological Survey Team has explored numerous shipwrecks, including a WWII destroyer escort that sank in 1942 with his father onboard.
Anthony Niederriter, BSN ’12 and BSHS ’12. A Marine who served in Iraq, he is now an Air Force Reserve captain, mental health officer and registered nurse at the Cleveland VA Medical Center.
Santino Bianco, BSME ’18 and MSME ’19. The aerospace/controls engineer at NASA Glenn Research Center has aided in the planning of a space mission to Venus.
Matt Ghaffari, BBA ’84. Ghaffari represented the United States at the 1992 summer Olympics in Barcelona and won a silver medal at the 1996 summer games in Atlanta.
Ken Bray, BSHS ’17. Bray, a cancer survivor, is a champion powerlifter who holds three national, one American and four Ohio records.
Also in this Issue...
Alumna Carrie Kidd (BA '17) sat in an airport in Wuhan, China, during an eight-hour layover on the night of December 30, 2019. As she waited for her next flight, she scrolled through Chinese news sources on her phone. Suddenly, she spotted a headline with Wuhan in the title. Read more >>
The Cleveland Foundation has awarded a $2.2 million, one-year grant to the Internet of Things Collaborative (IoTC), a partnership between Case Western Reserve University and CSU. Created in 2017 to position Cleveland as a leader in digital innovation, the partnership is bringing together industrial, governmental, educational, neighborhood and non-profit entities to harness the IoT’s vast potential. Read more >>
Helping students succeed through Say Yes to Education is the Parker Hannifin Corporation, a longtime partner of CSU. Read more >>
Water leaks… burst pipes… they can be an expensive problem for homeowners and municipalities alike. But researchers at Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University are helping the city of Lakewood stop leaks before they happen. Read more >>