Distinguished Alumni 2000

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


Keith E. Brown holds a 1989 bachelor’s degree in urban studies from the Levin College of Urban Affairs. He is the founder, broker and president of Progressive Urban Real Estate, a self-financed enterprise that has grown from a one-person storefront in Tremont to a 21-agent, six-person staff in a renovated, company-owned building in Ohio City.

Emily Lipovan and Keith E. Brown received the Northern Ohio Live 1999 Award of Achievement for Neighborhood Revitalization. They are being honored with the Alumni Special Achievement Award for their collaborative work on the Tremont Ridge Project, which uses the grid of the original 20-foot-wide housing lots plotted just after the Civil War to maintain the historic pedestrian nature of the neighborhood.

There are now 39 homes completed - bungalows and colonials priced between $130,000 and $150,000 and featuring 10-foot ceilings, loft balconies, hardwood floors, fireplaces, two-story living rooms, above-ground English-style basements, and rooftop decks. When completed, Tremont Ridge will total 60 units, including townhouses and scattered sites. Neighbors also benefit from the project, with homeowners able to apply for interest-free loans to rehab their homes.

CIVIC ACHIEVEMENT: William M. Denihan, ‘97 BA

William Denihan enrolled at CSU in 1971 but was unable to complete his degree. He re-enrolled in 1997 and a year later, earned a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from the Levin College of Urban Affairs. He lives in Cleveland.

Called a “leader’s leader,” Mr. Denihan has the ability to anticipate major issues, position himself as a change agent, and structure participatory processes within and across organizational boundaries to address those issues. For the past 20 years, prominent public leaders in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and Ohio have tapped his expertise to tackle the toughest public problems with citizen-first vision.

Selected by the Cuyahoga County Commissioners to serve as executive director of the Department of Children and Family Services (his current position), Mr. Denihan also was appointed Police Chief and Director of Public Safety by Mayor Michael White, and director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources by former Governor Richard Celeste.

His long and distinguished career also includes stints as director of the city’s Department of Public Service and the Ohio Department of Highway Safety, chairman of the Nuclear Power Emergency Evaluation Committee, director of the Ohio State Employment Relations Board and Cuyahoga County personnel director.

He serves on the advisory boards of the Levin College’s Local Officials Leadership Academy and Public Works Management Program and is active with numerous civic organizations.


K. Mark Kevesdy received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Education in 1992. He is a teacher at Big Creek Elementary School in the Berea City School District. He lives in Bay Village.

Described as an exceptional teacher, Mr. Kevesdy is the leader of a multi-age team of three teachers that works with more than 80 children in grades three through five. He has served as a staff development trainer for other teachers, inside and outside the Berea district, on the subjects of multi-age teams and teaching teams. He and a colleague have published a book entitled Creating Dynamic Teaching Teams in Schools.

A recognized leader, he serves as teacher-in-charge of his 847-student building, a leadership position that requires him to fill in when the principal is absent.

But his greatest achievement is his quality teaching. A gifted communicator, he works hard to give his students a well-designed academic program in a warm and encouraging classroom environment. He makes learning come alive for his students as he strives to make their learning relate to real-life solutions.


Dr. Dezso J. Ladanyi graduated magna cum laude from Fenn College in 1942 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. He went on to earn a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University. He lives in Cleveland.

In 1944, he joined NASA as one of only 14 rocket scientists in the country. Thirteen years later, he left to start his own company, Advanced Dynamics, which produced temperature sensors. In 1971, he started another company, Noral Inc., which has grown to become one of the leading suppliers of thermocouples and other temperature sensors used in the plastics industry. The firm, which recently doubled its size and tripled its manufacturing capacity, has involved three generations of the family. Dr. Ladanyi serves as chief executive officer.

Dr. Ladanyi’s two sons graduated from Cleveland State University and his wife graduated from Fenn College. For 29 years, he taught night classes in chemical engineering at Fenn and CSU.

He is the former vice president of the Ludlow Community Organization, an honorary trustee of the First Hungarian Reform Church, has been an active Mason for more than 25 years, and is a member of the Magyar Club, a Hungarian Professional Club that embraces its heritage through music, food, and cultural events.


Fred Lick, Jr. earned his JD from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1961. He lives in Strongsville and was the chairman, president and chief executive officer of the Central Reserve Life Corporation, now the Ceres Group, where he serves as a chairman.

Mr. Lick has unselfishly given himself to the country, serving eight years of active duty with the U.S. Army and 10 years with the Ohio Military Reserve, where his titles included major general, commander of the OMR, and commander of the Joint State Area Command. He is a graduate of the National Defense University, Industrial College of the Armed Forces; U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College; and The Judge Advocate General’s School.

Since his graduation 39 years ago, Mr. Lick has remained active with the College of Law. During his 1967-68 presidency of the Law Alumni Association, he initiated the Annual Alumni Luncheon, which now draws over 1,000 attendees to honor alumni for their significant achievements in the law community.

Since his student days, he also has been deeply involved with Delta Theta Phi, the national legal fraternity, holding offices at both the local and national level. Since 1977, he has been the National Deputy Chancellor.

After serving several years on the Miami University board of trustees, he was recently elected the board president.


Emily Lipovan holds a 1990 bachelor or arts degree in real estate development, city planning and architectural design from the Levin College. As the executive director of Tremont West Development Corporation, she has overseen four multi-million dollar real estate developments and has spearheaded marketing and publicity efforts for Tremont. She was listed in Crain’s Cleveland Business 40 Under 40.

GEORGE B. DAVIS AWARD: James C. Mastandrea, ‘70 BBA

James Mastandrea holds a 1970 bachelor’s degree from the College of Business Administration. He lives in Cleveland.

Mr. Mastandrea has had a long and distinguished career in real estate, managing several major firms in Illinois and Ohio. He has been the top executive of First Union Real Estate Investments; Midwest Development Corporation; Triam Corporation; and Continental Homes of Chicago, Inc.; as well as a vice president of Continental Bank and financial analyst of Mellon Bank.

Since 1998, he has been the chairman and chief executive officer of Eagle’s Wings Capital Corporation, a private investment group.

A tireless and generous supporter of Cleveland State University, his service began as an undergraduate when he organized the Student Economics Club and served as its president. Mr. Mastandrea is a director of the Cleveland State University Foundation and the chairman of its Nominating Committee. He chairs the College of Business’ Visiting Committee, has devoted many hours to the College’s strategic planning process, and has served on the search committee for a business dean.


George J. Palko is a two-time alumnus, earning a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Fenn College of Engineering in 1988 and a master’s of business administration from the College of Business Administration in 1993. He lives in North Royalton.

As a student in CSU’s cooperative education program, Mr. Palko received hands-on training at the Great Lakes Construction Company. Upon graduation, he continued work for the firm – as an in-house engineer, project engineer, superintendent of various ODOT and city of Cleveland projects (including I-90) and contracts manager. In August 1997, he was named president of Great Lakes.

Mr. Palko has quadrupled the number of co-op students the firm employs, serves as a member of the College of Engineering’s Visiting Committee, and has taught Construction Planning and Estimating as an adjunct faculty member in CSU’s Civil Engineering Department.