Distinguished Alumni 1997

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

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT: Grace Kilbane, ‘77 MS/’82 JD 

Alumna Grace Kilbane is the administrator for the Office of Work-Based Learning in the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training. She oversees federal job training programs for workers dislocated from their jobs by foreign trade, mass layoffs, or plant closings. Ms. Kilbane is also responsible for the United States One-Stop Career Center System. 

How many of us can say we administer a budget totaling $1.4 billion in funds annually? Well, Ms. Kilbane does just that!

Prior to serving in her current capacity, Ms. Kilbane served as the Director of the One-Stop Career Center system, Director of the Immigration Act of 1990’s Task Force and Regional Administrator for the Department of Labor in Kansas City, Missouri. With such an extensive background with the U.S. Department of Labor, she was asked to serve as their representative at the Belmont Conference in New Zealand.

Ms. Kilbane’s leadership ability was recognized in 1976 when she became the Director of the Witness/Victim services Center and Family Violence Programs here in Cuyahoga County. While working full time, she earned her Master’s degree in Public Administration and her J.D. from Cleveland State University.

Grace credits Cleveland State University as the “ticket” to get her where she is today. “I have always been grateful to Cleveland State for having evening programs that work around a person’s work schedule. I could not have done it otherwise.”

Through her hard work, Ms. Kilbane has rightfully earned several awards, including: The Dean’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1992 from Cleveland State University’s College of Urban Affairs and the National Public Service Award (ASPA) in 1995.

Grace now resides in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband, Robert Fenton.

LIFETIME LEADERSHIP: Alex Machaskee, ‘74 BBA/’95 D.H.L.

Alex is Publisher, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Plain Dealer, Ohio’s largest newspaper. In that capacity, he is responsible for the overall policy, operation, and direction of the newspaper.

Mr. Machaskee joined The Plain Dealer in 1960. Before being named Publisher in 1990, he had served five years as Vice President and General Manager. Previously, he served as Director of Labor Relations and Personnel, Assistant to the Publisher, and Promotion Director.

Born in Warren, Ohio, Mr. Machaskee worked as a sports reporter and general assignment reporter for The Warren Tribune before joining The Plain Dealer. Mr. Machaskee was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by Cleveland State University in 1995.

If Mr. Machaskee’s professional career is not impressive enough, here are but a few of his civic responsibilities: Vice President of the Musical Arts Association, board member of The Cleveland Foundation, The Ohio Arts Council, The Greater Cleveland Growth Association, Cleveland Tomorrow, The Great Lakes Science Museum, United Way Services and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Alex has found time to serve on the board of the Cleveland State University Foundation, Inc. His efforts have led to the establishment of several scholarship programs through The Plain Dealer. Also, he has worked with the College of Business in establishing the Executive MBA program as well as a Yugoslavian Training program.

Mr. Machaskee is interested in the performing arts and is an accomplished musician. He and his wife Carol live in Bratenahl, Ohio.

CIVIC ACHIEVEMENT: Hon. Maureen O’Connor, ‘80 JD

Maureen O’Connor has come a long way since graduating. She has successfully served two years as Summit County’s prosecutor and was elected in November, 1996 to a four year term of office.

As the Summit County Prosecutor, Ms. O’Connor prosecutes all felony cases against adults and juveniles. She also oversees the civil division, which is the legal advisor for all townships, the country’s council, the board of elections, all county offices, and all county boards, including all tax supported libraries.

During her first year in office, Ms. O’Connor reinstituted the career criminal prosecution program whereby repeat, violent offenders face swift prosecution and lengthy prison sentences. Prosecutor O’Connor implemented a direct indictment program for felony offenders in 1996. This program has successfully expedited the court process, thereby reducing the amount of county tax dollars used to house inmates in the Summit County Jail.

Prosecutor O’Connor is also the Director of the Summit County Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). Since Ms. O’Connor became the Summit County Prosecutor, the CSEA has experienced a 50% increase in paternity establishments.

Prosecutor O’Connor has also established criminal non-support prosecution whereby parents who neglect to pay court-ordered child support face criminal charges. Her restructuring of the CSEA resulted in a more responsive staff. Clients are now able to contact their case workers directly, and administrative hearings are available within two to three weeks rather than the previous six-month timetable.

Maureen resides in West Akron, Ohio with her two teenage sons, Alex and Eddie.


Paul, a native Clevelander, is currently Vice President of Human Resources at The MetroHealth System, one of the nation’s most successful publicly owned hospitals. MetroHealth, the tenth largest employer in greater Cleveland, employs over 4,700 workers and is the region’s designated trauma center. Mr. Patton provides leadership in the areas of labor relations, compensation and benefits, employee services, diversity management, organizational development and strategic planning.

Prior to joining MetroHealth, Mr. Patton was the Executive Assistant to Mayor Michael R. White. In this cabinet position, he directed the development and implementation of personnel policy for over 9,000 city of Cleveland employees, allocated over 10 million dollars of job training funds, and provided guidance to the departments of Human Resources, Port Control, the Community Relations Board, the Civil Service Commission and the Office of Equal Opportunity.

He also gained personnel management experience at Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court, Centerior Energy Corporation, Leaseway Transportation and Blue Cross of Northeast Ohio.

Mr. Patton received his Master’s in Public Administration at Cleveland State University. He also participated in the Senior Executive Program for State and Local Government at Harvard University. He holds an adjunct faculty appointment at Cleveland State University and lectures on Human Resources in Public Administration.

Mr. Patton has participated in several civic activities including serving as Vice Chairman of the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, special projects for Cleveland Scholarship Programs, and the Black-Jewish Dialogue committee. In 1996, he was appointed to the College of Urban Affairs’ Visiting Committee where he co-chairs the program committee. Paul currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio.

GEORGE B. DAVIS AWARD: *Roland L. Rainone, ‘40 BBA

Rollie, as friends call him, has been described by many as the “sparkplug” to the reorganizing of Fenn College’s Beta Beta Alpha Fraternity. Rollie, who graduated in 1940, has spent the last fifteen plus years working to keep the Fraternity’s alumni group going.

In 1981, roughly forty years after the Fraternity’s members graduated, Rainone worked to reunite the members through a golf outing. Rollie pooled together addresses and sent out the first Beta Beta Alpha Fraternity Newsletter in 1982. He used his own money to generate the first newsletters. The annual newsletter is now distributed to over 30 BBA alumni who graduated during the World War II era – 1937 to 1946.

The forerunner to Tau Kappa Epsilon (Tekes) Fraternity, the group holds quarterly lunches and “naturally” annual golf outings. Rollie continues to update the mailing list and write the newsletter.

Rainone, a retired auditor for the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. credits his college for their present ties, “Basically, we were all good students and have done well in business because Fenn College was a well grounded school.”

As an undergraduate, in between the Fraternity;s full social calendar, Rollie ran track for Fenn College. However, his fondest memories are of the Fraternity. As college students, the Fraternity brothers were about as active as humanly possible. They held hayrides, banquets, and their own dance, The Harvest Prom, every fall. “We even held a mock convention, like a presidential election, with floats and everything,” remembers Rainone.

Rollie resides in Shaker Heights, Ohio with his wife, Mary. They are the proud parents of 5 children and 9 grandchildren.


Dr. Owen began her nursing career in the hospital nursing program at Mt. Sinai Hospital where she received a diploma in 1953. She continued her education at CWRU by first receiving a BSN in 1966 and a MSN in 1972 with a focus on Administration. Higher Education Administration was the major focus of her Ph.D. from Kent State University in 1983.

Her nursing career at Cleveland State University began in 1975, when she asked to teach health assessment part time “for a quarter.” Beginning in 1978, she became a full time academic. She served as Program Coordinator from 1989-92 and ahs been the department chairperson, first as interim, and since 1993 a chairperson.

During her tenure in the Department of Nursing, Dr. Owen is credited with developing a variety of materials, including the student and faculty handbooks, laboratory and office protocols, faculty manuals for the learning laboratory (in conjunction with M. Verbic, Lab Coordinator), and for teaching nearly every course in the RN and basic student curriculum. Submitting grants to the Helene Fuld Fund has resulted in numerous acquisitions for the student’s hands-on learning laboratory.

Dr. Owen is credited with founding Nu Delta, the CSU Department of Nursing’s chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, nursing’s honor society. Most recently, as the result of her friendship with a former CSU graduate, now an attorney, the department was the recipient of a $104,000 endowment.