Distinguished Alumni 2012

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

GEORGE B. DAVIS AWARD: Timothy F. Hagan, BA '75

Timothy F. Hagan epitomizes how Levin College alumni contribute to local governance and public service. The fourth longest-serving member (and former president) of the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners, Hagan held office from 1982-98 and again from 2004-10. As commissioner, he was involved in such Cleveland developments as the Gateway project, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and the new Medical Mart/Convention Center. A former chair of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, his public service has focused on health and human service issues.

At Levin College, Hagan established the Ada and Robert Hagan Scholarship in honor of his parents. He also has taught classes and been involved in the College's internship and civic forum programs. In 1997, he received CSU's In Tribute to the Public Service award and in 1998, the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law awarded him an honorary degree. He lives in Olmsted Township.

William J. Centa, MBA '77

William J. Centa is the president of Mayfran Holdings, Inc, Mayfran International. The firm is a global leader in engineered solutions for scrap, filtration and coolant management systems in metalworking, recycling and solid waste processing. Before co-founding Mayfran, he was chief operating and financial officer of iPower Logistics, LLC.

A member of the Visiting Committee of the Monte Ahuja College of Business since 2008, Centa was a member of the 2009 inaugural class of inductees into the College of Business Hall of Fame. He also supports scholarships for CSU business students.

Centa is a member of the Cleveland Sports Commission board, was a member of Leadership Cleveland's Class of 2010, and twice has been a finalist for Ernst & Young's Northeast Ohio Entrepreneur of the Year. He lives in Kirtland.

Dr. Daniel J. Keenan, Jr., Ph.D. '05

Daniel J. Keenan, Jr., Ph.D. has been superintendent of the Westlake City Schools since 2007. The district is highly ranked for both student achievement and fiscal management.

Dr. Keenan taught a class on business management and facilities at CSU this past spring semester. He is the recipient of the Founder's Day Educator Award and the National Education Administration Scholarship Award.

Since 2010, he has served on the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation grant distribution committee. He also is involved with a number of professional and service organizations, including the Greater Cleveland School Superintendents Association, West Shore Chamber of Commerce, and Westlake-Bay Village Rotary. He lives in Westlake.

George J. Palko, BS '88 and MBA '93

George J. Palko is the president and CEO of Great Lakes Construction Co. He began his career at Great Lakes as a co-op student and joined the firm full time following graduation in 1988. He worked as an estimator, field superintendent and contracts manager before being named president in 1997 and CEO in 2000.

Through his alumni involvement and financial support, Palko has helped advance CSU and the Fenn College of Engineering. He serves on the Visiting Committee for Civil and Environmental Engineering, and chairs the advisory board of the University Transportation Center, which focuses on highway work zone safety. He participates in the Engineering Alumni Speaker Series, regularly engages with the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and employs Fenn co-op students at Great Lakes. He lives in North Royalton.

Larry H. James, JD '77

Larry H. James is a partner with Crabbe, Brown & James LLP, a firm he joined in 1981. A respected litigator, he is general counsel to the National Fraternal Order of Police, Ohio FAIR Plan and USA Track and Field board of directors. In 2011, he was selected by The Ohio State University to represent student-athletes in NCAA investigations.

James has been a member of the C|M|Law National Advisory Council since 2001 and is a longtime leadership supporter of C|M|Law's annual campaign. This year, he and his wife, Donna, were named the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus Humanitarians of the Year. He lives in Columbus.

Dr. Ruth D. Peterson, BA '69 and MA '73

Dr. Ruth D. Peterson is professor emeritus of sociology at The Ohio State University. A respected scholar and one of the nation's most prominent criminologists, she is a Distinguished Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and directed OSU's Criminal Justice Research Center for 12 years.

Dr. Peterson delivered the annual Butler A. Jones lecture at Cleveland State in 2011. She received OSU's Distinguished Faculty Service award in 2010, and the Edwin H. Sutherland Award from the American Society of Criminology in 2011. Her extensive civic and community involvement includes having served on the board of advisors to the Justice League of Ohio. Dr. Peterson also coordinates the activities of the Racial Democracy Crime and Justice Network which, among other functions, is devoted to enhancing the academic prospects of young faculty from underrepresented groups. She lives in Columbus.

Thomas E. Hopkins, MA '82

Thomas E. Hopkins has been corporate officer and senior vice president of human resources at The Sherwin-Williams Company since 1997. He joined the firm in 1981 as an intern, and early on created a management trainee program that has become the talent development engine for the company.

Hopkins is vice chair of the Cleveland Leadership Center, serves on the Board for Vocational Guidance Services executive committee, chairs the Northern Ohio Minority Supplier Diversity Council, and sits on the Cleveland Commission on Economic Inclusion.

He is a member of the CSU Foundation board of directors, chairs the Visiting Committee for the College of Sciences and Health Professions, and has been instrumental in raising scholarship funds for the College. Hopkins recently received the Archer Lifetime Achievement Award in Human Resources from Crain's Cleveland Business. He lives in Chagrin Falls.

Erin Dee Huber, BS '09 and MS '11

Erin Dee Huber is the executive director of Drink Local. Drink Tap., a nonprofit organization she founded in 2009 to focus on water sustainability, locally and globally. Most recently, she filmed a documentary to help provide water for children in Uganda. The movie is being funded and will be released in 2013.

Huber cofounded CSU's Student Environmental Movement. As the driving force behind the CSU Recreation Center's rooftop garden, she and a fellow undergraduate raised funds, designed the space and planted greenery. Huber also was instrumental in bringing a farmers market to campus. She was named one of Cleveland Magazine's Most Interesting People for 2012. She lives in Lakewood.

Sheila A. Niles, BSN '84

Sheila A. Niles also holds a master's degree and certificate of authority for advanced practice nursing as a clinical nurse specialist. She is a certified master trainer for the chronic disease self-management programs developed by Stanford University.

During an 18-year career with the Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio, Niles was director of mental health and elder services, as well as director/principal investigator for the award-winning Healthy Town and Ready Seniors programs. Niles was director of Vision on 22nd Street, the education practice program that integrated community-based curriculum within the Visiting Nurse Association of Cleveland.

Since her retirement in 2009, she has been a healthcare consultant and educator, working with the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging and Ohio Department of Aging on a five-county Healthy You: Take Charge of Your Health program.

Niles has taught CSU nursing classes as an adjunct faculty member. She lives in Shaker Heights.