Distinguished Alumni 1995

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

CIVIC ACHIEVEMENT: Hon. Gregory F. Clifford, ‘80 JD

Few can match Gregory Clifford’s level of community involvement. Helping families and children is the common thread running through his host of civic and professional activities. He currently serves as Deputy Chief Referee of Cleveland Municipal Court and has previously served as Assistant County Prosecutor and as a private practice attorney. Clifford has a long history of involvement with charitable and social service agencies of the Cleveland Catholic diocese. Including Parmadale, where he has served as a board member and president and Catholic Charities Corporation and its social service arm, where he has served as a trustee. This experience has enabled him to raise money and provide oversight and direction for Catholic social service agencies. He has been very active with the Substance Abuse Initiative of Greater Cleveland, where he has been a leader in efforts to reduce alcohol and drug abuse among Cleveland’s youth. Clifford has also served as a board member and past chair of the Cuyahoga Youth Services Advisory Board. Under his leadership a mentoring program was developed and implemented by the Minority Concerns Committee of Marshall Law Alumni Association. He was also instrumental in developing the position of Assistant Dean for Minority Affairs at Marshall. 

GEORGE B. DAVIS AWARD: Michael L. Climaco, ‘71 JD

Michael Climaco’s broad civic and legal experience makes him one of the city’s top lawyers. Mr. Climaco is President and Managing Director of Climaco, Climaco, Seminatore, Lefkowitz & Garofoli, LPA, a 54-member Cleveland law firm. He has served as a member of Cleveland City Council, as counsel to Gateway Development Corporation, which was vying for state funding, he successfully intervened when Gateway and CSU’s 17th 18th Block project were competing for scarce state dollars, helping to give CSU a solid presence in Columbus. He has served as a member of the Visiting Committee of Marshall School of Law, the CSU Alumni Association and Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity, Leadership Cleveland, and is active with various local charities and legal associations.

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT: Kathleen H. Crowther, ‘90 MSUST

Kathleen Crowther is Executive Director of the Cleveland Restoration Society, a local non-profit organization which works to preserve area landmarks with historical and/or architectural significance. She is credited with having been instrumental in preserving the Society for Savings Building, the War Memorial Fountain, the Allen Theater, and in shaping the design of the Cleveland Public Library East Wing. She started Cleveland’s first Neighborhood Historical Preservation Program targeted at Wade Park, East Boulevard, Franklin Boulevard and three Cleveland neighborhoods. She also continues to be a supporter of the College of Urban Affairs constituent organization activities, and was named the College of Urban Affairs 1994 Distinguished Alumna.

EMERGING LEADERSHIP: Kathryn M. Oko Powers, ‘84 BSED/’93 Med

As a teacher and now principal of Stafford Elementary School in Maple Heights City Schools (640 students, K-6), Kathryn Oko has demonstrated strong and innovative leadership initiatives. She has directed Stafford School through the Venture Capital program established by the Ohio Department of Education, and her leadership has helped her school win such awards as the Ohio Edison Beautification Award and the Ohio Department of Education School Conflict Management Grant. In the past she served as the Assistant to the Principal, and was the school’s liaison to their corporate partner, Twin Valu. She was Stafford School’s Computer Coordinator, and the school district’s elementary representative on the Ohio Math Leadership Committee and for the Northeast Regional Teacher Training Center.

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT: Dr. Stephen R. Sroka Sr., ‘67 Med

Dr. Stephen Sroka serves as a consultant/teacher responsible for health education including the areas of sex, drugs and violence, and is involved in crisis intervention for the Cleveland Public Schools. He is an Adjunct Professor of Health Education at CSU and an Adjunct Professor at the School of Medicine, Center for Adolescent Health, at the Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Sroka is President of Health Education Consultants, serving as a local, national and international health education consultant. He is an author of health related publications, including the Educator’s Guide to AIDS and other STDs, one of the first publications for HIV/AIDS education (1984), now in its 41st printing (in English and Spanish). Among his honors, he was named 1975 Health Education Teacher of the Year by Cleveland Public Schools, 1981 Phi Delta Kappa Young Educator of America, 1993 Outstanding School Health Educator Award by American School Health Association, and was named the 1994 Outstanding Health Educator by Walt Disney Company. He also notes that his six-year-old daughter considers him “smarter than the cartoon character, Inspector Gadget.” He also holds a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University (1978).

LIFETIME LEADERSHIP: *John J. “Chips” Sutula, ‘53 JD

While most people aspire to one successful career in a lifetime, John J. “Chips” Sutula has had two. Sutula was employed for 22 years with General Electric Company, rising to Manager of Personnel Accounting, before embarking on a full time practice of law in 1970. In 1972 he established the law firm of John J. Sutula & Associates. He became a general partner in the law firm of Chattman, Garfield, Friedlander and Paul in 1989. He is a member of the Cleveland and Cuyahoga County Bar Associations. Sutula has also been active in civic affairs and community development. He has served on the Board of Trustees of Notre Dame College, and was a founding member of the Sierra Club, East. In 1977, he helped to found the House of David home for homeless and disadvantaged youth, and he continues to serve on its Board of Trustees. He has served on the Lexington Square Foundation, a community organization dedicated to improving the Hough-Lexington neighborhood. Chips has been an active member of the Board of Trustees of the Marshall Law Alumni Association, serving as its president in 1988-89. He is a Life member of both the Marshall Law and CSU Alumni Associations. He has also served on the CSU Alumni Association Board of Directors, and was president in 1992-93.