Distinguished Alumni 1990

Past award recipient bios as they appeared in that year's event program (*deceased)

Dr. Patricia A. Ackerman, ‘74 Med 

As the designer and principal of Taylor Academy, an alternative high school program, Pat Ackerman has helped at-risk students in Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District reach their full potential. Overcoming early charges of racism, the school has developed into a model for educating underachievers. Ackerman has often been asked to share Taylor Academy’s unique academic program with other professional educators, and she is currently developing a video and writing a book about the school so the program can reach more children.

Ackerman recently completed a two-year term as president of the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE). In that position, she helped establish the NABSE Foundation and the Charles D. Moody Research and Development Institute on African American Education, the professional development arm of the NABSE. She has often appeared at CSU as a speaker during the annual Black Aspirations Week. 

Monte Ahuja, ‘75 MBA/’01 D. Bus.Adm.

As founder of Transtar Industries, Monte Ahuja took what started out as a business with two employees and virtually no capital and turned it into a leader in the transmission product industry. With eight operating outlets and 8,000 customers in the U.S. and abroad, the company has been named to the Weatherhead 100 list for two years in a row. 

Despite his busy schedule, Ahuja has remained active at CSU as a member of the President’s Club and a director of the CSU Foundation. He sponsored the endowment for the Indian Scholar Program and has been involved in many other events on campus as well.

Ahuja is also active in his community, engaging in a variety of cultural activities, youth counseling and scholarship programs. 

Update: Alumnus Monte Ahuja Donates $10 Million to CSU, College of Business Named in His Honor.

*Joseph E. Andry, ‘74 BBA/’75 BS 

Joseph Andry spent his career helping fellow veterans find jobs. After completing his education at CSU, Andry joined the Veterans Administration as a placement coordinator and benefits specialist. From there he moved to the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service of the U.S. Department of Labor, first as assistant director and then as state director, providing job training, counseling, and placement for veterans. In his position with the Ohio Disabled American Veterans, Andry managed finances and advanced the cause of disabled vets through state and national lobbying efforts. 

A disabled veteran of the Vietnam War, Andry received numerous service awards from the United States Army, including the Purple Heart and the Vietnam Service Medal. He received local and national citations for his service to fellow veterans, including recognition as the Outstanding Federal Handicapped Employee. 

Dr. Danute Bankaitis-Davis, ‘80 BS/’81 MSCHM

Danute Bankaitis-Davis’ known to friends as “Bunki” mixed athletics with her education throughout her academic career. As a member of CSU’s women’s varsity volleyball team, she was named CSU Female Athlete of the Year and was the Division I MVP in 1979, just one year before graduating summa cum laude. While pursuing her Ph.D., she continued in athletics as a competitive cyclist.

A world class cyclist, Bankaitis-Davis competed in the 1985 World Cycling Championships while still a doctoral student. She competed in multiple world championships, as well as the 1989 Tour de France and the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

In an age when sports are marred by drug use and the lure of money, Bankaitis-Davis provides a positive example of the benefits of hard work and perseverance. 

June Gibbs Brown, ‘71 BBA/’72 MBA

June Gibbs Brown’s distinguished career with the federal government has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal. In her present position with the Pacific Fleet, she is responsible for the inspection and management analysis of a $4.8 billion budget. She has also held positions with NASA, the Departments of Defense and the Interior, the Bureaus of Land Management and System Design and Reclamation, and the Navy Finance Center. She is a certified public accountant, holds a law degree as well, and is a 1982 graduate of the Harvard Advanced Management Program.

The mother of six, Brown postponed her college education until age 36. Graduating summa cum laude from CSU in 1971, she received the President’s Award, the highest honor conferred upon an undergraduate senior. 

*Hon. Anthony J. Celebrezze Jr., ‘73 JD

Since first being elected Attorney General in 1982, Anthony Celebrezze has devoted himself to protecting the rights of Ohioans. He has been faced with some of the most important issues of the day, including drugs, organized crime, hazardous wastes, and abuse of the elderly. His “Practical Politics” program for high school students and “Ohio Mock Trial Program” earned Celebrezze honor medals for excellence from the National Freedoms Foundation.

Celebrezze began his political career as a state senator. During his four-year term as Ohio Secretary of State, he established new records for voter registration and turnout. Celebrezze is also involved in a number of veterans’ organizations and services as a captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He remains active at CSU as a trustee of the Cleveland Marshall College of Law Alumni Association. Celebrezze is currently an Ohio gubernatorial candidate.

Alcillia J. Clifford, ‘83 Med 

Alcillia Clifford joined the Marotta Montessori Schools in 1984 as administrative principal and became executive director in 1988. Her certification from the Association Montessori Internationale allows her to reach primary and secondary Montessori education anywhere in the world. As an elementary teacher for 11 years Clifford developed many unique programs for her schools’ including a personal hygiene program for fifth and sixth grade girls, an individualized reading program for first and second graders, and a reading competency program, which she established with a grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation.

Clifford is involved in many professional and civic organizations and is board member of the Ohio Montessori Training Institute, Cleveland Works, and the Cleveland Opera House. She is also a member of the Leadership Development Training Committee and a minority mentor for Kent State University. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D in urban education at CSU.

William H. Compton, ‘41 BEE/’97 D.Sc.

As vice president of Comptrol Inc., William Compton manages new product development for the firm’s largest division. He holds patents for many products, including an electronic transducer. Compton demonstrated his commitment to future engineers by establishing the CSU Engineering Student Enrichment Program (ESEP), which raises over $70,000 each year to support engineering student programs and awards. He plays an active part in coordinating the Annual Monte Carlo Fun Night, the proceeds of which support the ESEP.

Compton has received the Cleveland Engineering Society’s Gold Medal and Leadership Awards. He is a paste president of the Fenn College of Engineering Alumni Association and was one of the first recipients of the Outstanding Engineering Alumnus Award. He has also served on the board of the CSU Alumni Association and is an honorary lifetime member of the CSU Foundation. In recognition of his support, the University dedicated the William and Donna Compton Engineering Alumni Lounge in Stilwell Hall in 1988.

*Dr. Daniel D. Drake, ‘71 Med

Throughout his career as a school teacher and administrator, Daniel Drake has initiated programs designed to help individual students excel and realize their full potential. As an educator in the Milwaukee, Sioux Falls, S.D., and Cleveland public school districts, Drake’s educational philosophy has focused on three points: individual student potential, self-esteem, and total community involvement.

Drake is an active member of many professional organizations, including Phi Delta Kappa, the National Alliance of Black School Educators, and the American Association of School Administrators. He is listed in Who’s Who Among Black Americans and has received numerous fellowships and awards, including the Phi Delta Kappa Service Key and an award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement from Delta Alpha Lambda Chapter of the Alphi Phi Alphi Fraternity. During his 14 years as a principal in the Cleveland schools, he concurrently served as an adjunct professor in CSU’s Department of Educational Specialists.

J. Edward Easler II, ‘72 BA

After being honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force, Ted Easler determined that he was not going to return to the Cleveland “ghetto” in which he had grown up. He realized early on that education was his key to success. In his development post at Tuskegee University, as well as in earlier positions at the Morehouse School of Medicine and the University of Charleston, Easler has been instrumental in raising funds to help others achieve their dream of an education.

Easler served as regional director of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, playing an integral part in raising funds for the historic renovation project. His career as a philanthropic executive was cited as exemplary in the book How to Rate Your Development Office. Easler was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Urban Affairs in 1987.

Jose C. Feliciano, ‘75 JD/’84 MBA

Since graduating from CSU’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law fifteen years ago, Jose Feliciano has built an impressive list of professional accomplishments. A partner in one of the most prestigious law firms in the city, Feliciano was appointed a White House Fellow in 1984. Before joining Baker & Hostetler, he worked as an adjunct professor at John Carroll University, an assistant public defender for Cuyahoga County, and an attorney for the Cleveland Legal Aid Foundation. He is a founding member and a former vice president of the Ohio Hispanic Bar Association.

Feliciano’s civic background is equally broad and well-rounded. He currently serves on the board of trustees for over a dozen local organizations, including the Cleveland-Marshall Law School Alumni Association. He has received awards and recognition from his peers in the legal profession and from numerous community organizations. In 1985 Feliciano was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in American by the United States Jaycees. 

John J. Ferchill, ‘65 BEE

Since John Ferchill founded J. Christopher Enterprises Inc. 12 years ago, it has grown into one of the most successful real estate development companies in the area. As president of the Jeffersonian Corporation, Ferchill has contributed to the revitalization of Cleveland by restoring historical buildings and developing first-class commercial industrial complexes. Among his notable developments are north Point in downtown Cleveland, the Bridge Building in Rocky River, and the medical office building of St. Vincent Charity Hospital.

Ferchill was recognized by the Downtown Business Council for his work on North Point and received the Office Building of the Year award from the Business Owners and Managers Association for the renovation of Marina Park Condominiums, a luxury downtown lakefront development. He currently serves as a trustee of Ursuline College and the Ronald McDonald House.

Besides his professional and community affiliations, Ferchill has remained active at SCU and has served on the Visiting Committee of the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs and is a member of the Viking Club. 

Myron Filarski, ‘71 BA 

Over the past 18 years, Mike Filarski has risen through the ranks at the Transohio Savings Bank, serving in various management capacities and ultimately becoming chief executive officer and president. He is also the director and executive vice president of TransCapital Financial Corporation.

Active in the area civic organizations, Filarski has put his financial expertise to work for the betterment of the greater Cleveland community through his involvement with United Way, Cleveland Action to Support Housing, and other efforts. He has been a loyal supporter of CSU as a member of the CSU Foundation, the Fine and Performing Arts Committee, the Alumni Association Board of Governors, and National Chairperson for the 1988 and 1989 Alumni/Friends Annual Appeal, part of CSU’s Annual Sustaining Fund effort.

Filarski completed studies at the University of Oklahoma’s Graduate Executive Development School and the Institute of Financial Education, where he also served as a director. A history major at CSU, his professional success and civic accomplishments exemplify the value of a liberal arts education.

George L. Forbes, ‘62 JD/’98 LL.D.

George Forbes was elected to Cleveland City Council in 1964. He served as Council president for seventeen years, resigning from that position in 1989 to devote time to his private law practice. During his years in City Council, Forbes’ record included the establishment of RTA, the creation of city set-asides for minority and women vendors, and consumer regulations on smoking in public places and the disposal of hazardous materials. Prior to joining Council, Forbes acted as a city housing inspector and taught in the Cleveland Public Schools.

Throughout his Council presidency, Forbes initiated and maintained programs in support of CSU. He helped establish an internship program at City Hall for CSU students, has given numerous lectures on campus, and supported the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs “In Tribute to Public Service”program. He also hosted a celebration for the installment of Dr. John A. Flower as President of CSU.

Hon. Timothy F. Hagan, ‘75 BA/’99 LL.D. 

Tim Hagan’s career has been one of dedication to public service. He has held administrative positions in city, country, regional, and state governments and is currently serving his second four-year term as Cuyahoga County Commissioner. During his term in office, Hagan has helped the county maintain an AA bond rating, the highest rating determined by Moody’s Investor Service. An active Democrat, he was chairman of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party for four years. He also has served as County Recorder. Throughout his career as a public servant, Hagan has been especially concerned with improving services to children. His focus has been on such areas as foster care, adoption, and prenatal care.

In addition to his professional involvement, Hagan takes an active part in his community as a trustee of the Malachi House hospice and as a member of the St. Malachi church community. A member of the NAACP and the League of Women Voters, he also serves on the national board of the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation. Prior to his involvement in politics, Hagan worked as a steel worker, social worker, baker, and construction worker.

Update: Recipient of the George B. Davis Award, 2012 Distinguished Alumni Awards

Dr. Margaret J. Raub Hunt, ‘80 MAMTH 

As chairperson and teacher in the mathematics department at Strongsville High School, Margaret Raub tries to instill in students the same enthusiasm about math that she feels. Her dedication and zeal have won her local and national recognition, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics, the Strongsville Teacher of the Year Award, and the Martha Holden Jennings Master Teacher Award. Recently, she was chosen by the Ohio State Department of Education to represent Ohio in “Leadership in Mathematics in the 21st Century.”

Raub is Northeast Ohio District Director of the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics and president of the Greater Cleveland Council of Teachers of Mathematics (GCCTM). She has also served as South District Director for GCCTM. She has participated in the EQUALS/SEQUALS program in CSU’s College of Education and the Fenn College of Engineering’s JETS Contest.

Paul S. Malchesky, ‘77 MSCHE/’83 D.Eng.

Paul Malchesky’s contributions to the field of artificial organs are many and varied. He holds five patents in separation technologies and is the author or coauthor of over 225 scientific papers. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Center for Artificial Organs and Transplantation and the International Society for Artificial Organs. He has received the Ohio Innovator Recognition Award from the state’s Thomas Edison Program.

Malchesky is currently serving as chairman of the Board of Trustees of Lakeland Community College and as Director of LCC’s Foundation. 

In addition to his position at the Clinic, he is an adjunct associate professor in Case Western Reserve University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. He has also coordinated and maintained a cooperative education program between CSU and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation’s Department of Artificial Organs.

*Leon M. Plevin, ‘57 JD

Leon Plevin is a successful and well-respected civil trial lawyer. He has used his position as managing partner of Nurenberg, Plevin, Heller & McCarthy to help give others a chance at success and has hired nearly one hundred Cleveland-Marshall students as law clerks. As past president of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Alumni Association, he established the Life Membership program. He also set up an ad hoc scholarship committee for the college, which has raised over $50,000 annually for tuition grants for needy students.

Plevin has served as president of Temple Amanu El, as a trustee for the Bureau of Jewish Education, and on the National Governing Board of the Union American of Hebrew Congregations. His professional affiliations include the American Arbitration Association; the Citizens League; and the Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and American Bar Associations. He has received merit awards from the Ohio Legal Center and the Cleveland Bar Association. He received the Dean’s Achievement Award at CSU and was recognized as 1988 Alumnus of the Year by the College of Law.

Dr. Dorothy C. Salem, ‘72 BA/’73 MA

As Director of Cuyahoga Community College’s Institute of Human Relations, Dorothy Salem has coordinated a training program which is currently utilized by 26 area high school and in which over 200 students have already participated. She is also the developer and coordinator of the Martin Luther King Youth Leadership Institute at CCC. An expert on African American and women’s studies, Salem has lectured extensively on both topics to a wide range of community and scholarly organizations. Her book To Better Our World (Carlson Publishing, 1990) is No. 14 in the first series ever published focusing upon black women in American history.

Besides her professorship at Tri-C, Salem is also an adjunct professor and mentor in the Women’s Comprehensive Program at CSU. She has received the Besse Award for Teaching Excellence and the National Teaching Excellence Award of NISOD. She is active in many civic organizations, including the Greater Cleveland Roundtable, United Way Services, and WomenSpace.

Richard J. Schindler, ‘63 BEE

Richard Schindler joined Ohio Bell after graduating from Fenn, and has served in a variety of engineering and managerial positions with the company since 1963. An active member of the Cleveland Engineering Society (CES) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), he has organized many student programs for both organizations, including the Edison Lecture Series and career day programs for IEEE and industry visitation programs for CES.

Besides his professional involvement, Schindler has a keen interest in the education of others. He is a past chairman of the Annual Monte Carlo Fun Night, which raises funds for the Fenn College of Engineering Student Enrichment Program. He has also served as president of the Engineering Alumni Association and as vice president of the CSU Alumni Association. He was recognized as Outstanding Engineering Alumnus in 1989. Schindler was recently asked to serve as chairman of the Junior Class Division of the St. Ignatius High School Parents Annual Fund Campaign, in which his objective will be to raise over half-a-million dollars for the school. He is also currently “minority” member of the Board of the Cleveland Research, Evaluation and Development Organization, a nonprofit organization which analyzes the progress of blacks in the greater Cleveland area.

Kenneth J. Semelsberger, ‘72 MBA/’02 D. Bus.Adm.

A member of the first class to graduate from CSU’s James J. Nance College of Business Administration, Kenneth Semelsberger often takes time out of his busy schedule overseeing Scott Fetzer’s twenty-three operations to promote CSU’s business college. In addition to providing financial support to the college, he has been a member of its Visiting Committee and is currently acting as chairman of the Corporate Relations Committee. He has also been a guest lecturer for CSU’s Yugoslavian exchange program. A director of the CSU Foundation, Semelsberger was recently named to the President’s Club. 

Besides his active involvement at CSU, Semelsberger takes part in numerous professional and community organizations. He is also a trustee of the Direct Selling Association and of the Playhouse Square Foundation and presently serves as chairman of the Playhouse Square Foundation’s annual fundraising drive.

Carl L. Stern, ‘66 JD/’75 LL.D.

During his twenty-three years as a court correspondent for NBC News, Carl Stern has covered some of the nation’s most historical hearing and trials, including Watergate, Sam Sheppard, Patricia Hearst, and Oliver North. Before joining NBC’s national news team, Stern was a reporter and political editor for WKYC-TV in Cleveland.

Stern has received many awards in recognition of his journalistic excellence, including the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Gavel Award and the Ted Yates Award from the Washington, D.C., chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He holds honorary law degrees from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and the New England School of Law. A licensed attorney, Stern has served on several boards of the ABA.

Stern was instrumental in revealing the FBI’s attempt in the early 1970s to “neutralize” left wing political organizations, and he was the primary plaintiff in the 1973 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought against the bureau. For his work in that case, Stern was awarded the George Foster Peabody Award, the highest honor in broadcast journalism.

Hon. Louis Stokes, ‘53 JD/’89 LL.D.

When he was elected to Congress in 1969, Louis Stokes became the first black member of Congress from the State of Ohio. He was also the first black to head a major Congressional investigation and has served on numerous Congressional committees, including the prestigious Education and Labor Committee, and the committees which investigated the assassinations of Martin Luther King and John Kennedy and the Iran-Contra arms deal. In 1980 he was the recipient of the coveted William L. Dawson award, granted by his colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus, for his “unique leadership in the development of legislation.” 

Ebony Magazine has named Stokes one of the One Hundred Most Influential Black Americans each year since 1971. He has received sixteen honorary doctorates and is listed in six Who’s Who publications. He is active in many civic organizations and currently serves on the executive committee of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, the Cuyahoga County Bar Association, and numerous other organizations. Stoke is a former member of the CSU Board of Trustees.

*J. Maurice Struchen, ‘43 BBA/’93 D. Commerce 

Former Society National Bank chairman J. Maurice Struchen has hardly slowed down since his retirement. He remains active as a member of the Board of Trustees of Society Corporation and the Society Trust Corporation. He also serves on the boards of Davey Tree Company, Dinner Bell Foods, and Forest City Enterprises.

Struchen’s professional achievements are matched by a strong commitment to community and civic organizations. He is currently a trustee for United Way, Health Cleveland, Ohio Northern University (ONU), Lutheran Hospital, and the Lutheran Foundation. He holds honorary doctorates from ONU and Dyke College and has received the Viking Award from CSU. A former president of the CSU Alumni Association, he has also chaired the CSU Board of Trustees and the CSU Foundation. 

Update: J. Maurice Struchen Leadership and Service Scholarship

*Thomas S. Watson Jr., ‘70 BBA/’76 MBA

The head of one of the nation’s leading accounting and consulting firms, Thomas Watson has used his position to promote accountancy and small businesses throughout the United States and abroad. He is licensed by seven states and the District of Columbia. Among his recent accomplishments was organizing Export ‘89, the first American/European small business trade congress. The congress brought together 200 Americans and 800 Europeans to form joint ventures and discuss trade issues, products, and services.

A graduate of Leadership Cleveland and a founding member of Leadership Washington, Watson also completed the Harvard Business School’s Owner/Presidents Management Program and the Case Western Reserve University Chief Executive Program. He has also worked on Joint Engagement Concept of the American Institute of CPAs, bringing large and small CPA firms together in joint ventures. In addition to his advocacy of small business operations, Watson is strongly committed to improving minority involvement in the business community. He is a lifetime member of the NAACP and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and has served as national president of the National Association of Minority CPA Firms.