Distinguished Alumni 1998

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

EMERGING LEADERSHIP: Carmen R. Adams, ‘86 BCE/’92 JD

Carmen R. Adams is a 1992 graduate of The Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and is registered to practice in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. She received a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree from Cleveland State University in 1986. Ms. Adams is the only African American female patent attorney in Northeast Ohio, and is one of only about 150 African American patent attorneys in the country.

An associate at Calfee, Halter & Griswold, Ms. Adams practices intellectual property law concentrating in the areas of patent, trademark, copyright and licensing law. Prior to joining Calfee, Halter & Griswold, Ms. Adams was Vice President and Assistant Counsel in the Law Group of KeyCorp in Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to her legal responsibilities at KeyCorp, Ms. Adams participated in KeyCorp’s corporate-wide diversity initiative as a diversity trainer/facilitator.

Ms. Adams is the president of the Norman S. Minor Bar Association, the local affiliate of the National Bar Association. She serves as Vice Chairperson of the Intellectual Property Law Section of the Cleveland Bar Association and Co-Chairperson of the Cleveland Bar Association’s Juvenile Justice/Law School Visitation Committee. Her other professional affiliations include membership in the National Bar Association, the Ohio Bar Association and the Cleveland Intellectual Property Law Association. 

Her many civic and social commitments include serving as Legal Chairperson of the College Fund/UNCF Telethon Fundraising Committee for the past four years, being a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and Jack & Jill of America, Inc. She participates as an advisor in Calfee, Halter & Griswold’s Law Exploring post and is co-founder and secretary of the Frances Ellen Harper Literary Society.

Ms. Adams was recently chosen as one of Crain’s Cleveland Business’ “40 under 40.” She and her husband, Lemuel, have one son, Jahi, age seven.

CIVIC ACHIEVEMENT: Maria Isabel Boss, ‘77 BA

Maria Isabel Boss came to the United States as an American Field Service student. She graduated from Brecksville High School and never left. After making America her home, Ms. Boss, a native of Colombia, is now the Director of Programs for the Cleveland Scholarship Program, Inc. (CSP). She serves as the primary liaison between the CSP, community agencies, local colleges, universities and the Cleveland Public Schools. In addition, Ms. Boss has responsibilities for the development, enhancement, modification, and evaluation of current and new programs. 

Before joining the CSP, Ms. Boss was the Executive Assistant to the Director of the Cuyahoga County Department of Entitlement Services. In this capacity, she directed the Investigations, Administrative Compliance and Quality Assurance Divisions. As a divisional manager, Ms. Boss analyzed policy initiatives and conducted community needs analyses while developing and monitoring the Department’s $51 million budget.

Ms. Boss began her career in public service in 1976 as an Admissions Counselor at Cleveland State University and has not stopped working. Ms. Boss serves as a Trustee for the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the Cleveland International Program. She has also worked with Esperanza, Inc., the Cleveland Children’s Museum, the Women’s Community Foundation Creative Philanthropy, and the Hispanic Leadership Program. Additionally, Ms. Boss has showed her commitment to Cleveland State University through her service on the Alumni Association Board of Trustees.

A distinguished and dedicated civic professional, Ms. Boss was named the 1992 Hispanic Woman of the Year by the Northeast Chapter of the National Conference of Puerto Rican and Hispanic Women. She was also honored through her selection as a U.S. delegate to the 1985 World Peace Conference. Ms. Boss states, “I believe my twenty plus years of service to the community is just a beginning . . . I am not finished yet.” 

Ms. Boss resides in Hinckley, Ohio with her husband, Randy, and three children, Michael, David, and Vanessa.

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT: Dr. Christopher Fox, ‘71 BA 

Christopher Fox is the associate dean for research in the College of Arts & Humanities at the University of Notre Dame. He earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D, both in English, from SUNY-Binghamton. Dr. Fox won The Distinguished Dissertation in the Humanities and Fine Arts Prize when he received his Ph.D.

When Dr. Fox became chair of the English department at Notre Dame, he proposed to the Keough family that the University could serve an important intellectual service on a national level by creating, on its campus, a research center and doctoral program in Irish studies, since there was no such center anywhere in North America. Dr. Fox was awarded $2 million, to be used to support a Keough professional chair, doctoral fellowships, as well as purchases of manuscripts and books for the rare book library. Now in its fifth year, the Center for Irish Studies is generally recognized as the national center for this field. 

Included among his many achievements is the founding of the interdisciplinary Notre Dame Eighteenth-Century Seminar. This organization plans a series of scholarly meetings, including the national meeting of the American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies (1998) in conjunction with an international meeting on the Great Irish Rebellion. 

Dr. Fox has served on many collegiate committees, lectured widely in the United States and abroad, and has been the author, editor and/or co-editor of several books.

He and his wife, Judith, have four children, Geoffrey, Sean, Anne, and Ashley.


Jana Stone is President of Jana Stone and Associates, a marketing, communications and fund raising consulting firm. She also heads the public relations program at Ursuline College and has been an adjunct faculty member in the Communication Department at Cleveland State University for nine years, teaching public relations courses.

Her 30-year career includes serving as vice president of marketing and communications for the Greater Cleveland Growth Association for seven years; director of public relations and promotions for Lang, Fisher & Stashower Advertising for three years; director of public affairs for the Ohio Motorists Association for two years; and director of public relations for The Higbee Company for 10 years.

If Ms. Stone’s professional career is not impressive enough, here are but a few of her civic responsibilities: Trustee of the American Lung Association, Vice President of the English-Speaking Union, Vice President and Trustee of the Lyric Opera, Public Relations Advisory Council for The Salvation Army and Regional Director of the Fashion Group International. She has also been a past board member for numerous other organizations.

Over the years, Ms. Stone has demonstrated her leadership to her profession by serving as Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce Communications Council, President of the Advertising Club, Persident of the Public Relations Society of America, Member of the Ohio Council of Fundraising Executives and Member of the Association for Education in Journalism Mass Communication.

Ms. Stone has found time to serve Cleveland State University in a volunteer capacity by sitting on several search committees to hire public relations professionals. Her leadership and knowledge of the public relations field provided much to the searches.

Ms. Stone resides in Novelty, Ohio with her husband, Stanley. Daughter Julia Van Vliet, lives in New York City.

GEORGE B. DAVIS AWARD: Hon. Gary C. Suhadolnik, ‘73 BIE/’95 MBA

The Honorable Senator Gary C. Suhadolnik was born and raised on Cleveland’s West Side. He received a degree in Industrial Engineering from Cleveland State University in 1973 and began his career as an elected official for the Parma Heights City Council in 1977. Senator Suhadolnik has successfully won re-election to the Ohio Senate for subsequent terms since 1980. He continued his education at Cleveland State University and received an Executive Master of Business Administration degree in 1995.

Senator Suhadolnik has an impressive list of committee assignments and is a member of the Senate Energy, Natural Resources and Environment Committee as well as the Senate Health Committee. He also serves as chairman of the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.

The Senator has provided key strategic support for Cleveland State University during both the operating budget and capital budget processes. The 17th and 18th Street Block Project and the Hazardous Materials Training Program (Hazmat) are just two examples of his involvement. Because of Senator Suhadolnik’s leadership and support, Cleveland State University has obtained the maximum possible support in the Ohio Senate.

In addition to his political interests, the Senator serves on numerous community organizations. He continues to add Cleveland State University to his list of commitments by currently serving on the Visiting Committee of the College of Engineering and on the Visiting Committee of the College of Business Administration. He has committed many hours over the years to speak to classes and become involved in on-campus activities for both of his colleges and the University.

Senator Suhadolnik and his wife, Nancy, also a 1973 graduate of Cleveland State University, have two children, Tim and Jena.

SPECIAL RECOGNITION: Nicole Howell Crawford

Nicole Howell Crawford is the founder and executive director of Broken Connections, a non-profit homeless shelter in East Cleveland. She decided to start the shelter after working briefly as a volunteer with the chemically dependent. The home was started in 1996 in a grand old Euclid Avenue mansion in East Cleveland and has taken more than 20 homeless women with children off the streets. Ms. Howell Crawford started the shelter because she felt that these women and children needed to know someone cared about them.

Operating the shelter has not been an easy task. Ms. Howell Crawford works full-time at the Ohio Lottery Commission as an administrative assistant and attends school part-time. Nearly all her free time is spent at the shelter, where she now lives. She keeps the doors open with private donations, foundation grants and the support of the Broken Connection board members. Ms. Howell Crawford has made many sacrifices to keep the shelter open, including refinancing her home twice. She recently won a grant from the Job Corps to renovate the home, but needs financial assistance for supplies.

It is evident through Ms. Howell Crawford’s many sacrifices for the people she cares for, that this shelter is truly a labor of love.