The awards will be presented during URI’s fourth annual Distinguished Achievement Awards celebration Saturday evening, Oct. 17 at the Westin Providence, One West Exchange St., Providence.
The black-tie optional event begins with guest registration at 5:30 p.m., followed by a grand reception at 6 p.m. Dinner and the awards ceremony will begin at 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $100 per person and $30 for children under 12. For more information, call 874-9455, RSVP@advance.uri.edu, or go to advance.uri.edu/programming.
“The University of Rhode Island has many alumni who do incredible things and make substantial contributions to the world, the country, and/or their communities,” says Robert Beagle, vice president, University Advancement. “Each year, we get a chance to recognize some of those individuals who bring such distinction to themselves and to the University. This year’s recipients are as the URI brand implies, some of our BIG thinkers, who are making a BIG impact and we want to applaud their efforts. “We’re also excited that this year our new President, Dr. David M. Dooley, will get to know our distinguished alums and be part of the celebration.”
President’s Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients
Patricia Miller Anton ’79 (Music) of Henderson, Nev., president of the Anton Family Foundation, played the flute, sang in the choir, and participated in the URI Ram Band. She applied her operational and organizational talents to an extraordinary career in airport foodservice. She is the former president and CEO of Anton Airfood, Inc. a company she co-founded with her husband, William Conrad Anton in 1989 as a small company operating food and beverage concessions at Washington National Airport. The company grew into one of the premier airport food and beverage operators in the industry, carving out a market niche in the airport world while raising industry standards across the board. Anton’s created more than 45 original and proprietary concepts and 30 branded concepts in airports across the nation.
James Diller ’57 (Physics) appeared on the cover of Electronic Business magazine in 1989 as one of the world’s “New Mavericks” in the semi-conductor industry. The physics alumnus has lived up to that moniker. In 1984, Diller founded Sierra Semiconductor, which initially produced chips for the computer industry. The company went public on NASDAQ in 1991. As the Internet exploded the networking business grew dramatically and became the focus of the company. At this point, the company changed its name to PMC-Sierra, the name of the division producing these products. After retiring briefly in 1997, Diller joined Elantec Semiconductor as CEO and helped turn the company around. In 2000 he retired a second time although he remains active. Today, the Portola Valley, Calif. resident is vice chairman of the board of PMC-Sierra, Inc and director of Intersil Corporation, an analog and semiconductor company. He is also a director of two private companies: Avago Industries and Summit Microelectronics. He and his wife, June, have been involved in philanthropy on both coasts. At URI, they established one of the largest endowed scholarships for students majoring in a science.
Edward M. Rudnic ’78, M.S. ’82, Ph.D. ’83 (Pharmacy) of Potomac, Md. is founder, former chairman, and CEO of MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals. He has more than 25 years of experience in the development and commercialization of a wide range of pharmaceutical products. His interest in delayed release, sustained release and continuous release oral drug delivery systems was developed at URI. Prior to founding Middlebrook, Rudnic directed U.S. research and development activities for Shire Pharmaceuticals, building a research team and product portfolio of Pharmavene, a drug delivery company that merged with Shire in 1997. The products he invented or co-invented, including Adderall XR have enjoyed more than $8 billion dollars in cumulative sales. Rudnic is the lead inventor or co-inventor on more than 80 U.S. and international patents.
Prize-winning journalist Richard Kerr ’77 Ph.D. (Graduate School of Oceanography) of Bethesda, Md,. is a national leader in scientific journalism. His interest in journalism began at URI when he enrolled in communication classes while pursuing his doctorate. Today he is senior news writer at Science magazine, considered the world’s leading outlet for scientific news, commentary, and cutting-research. Kerr has written more than 1,000 articles on earth and planetary sciences since 1977. He won a half-dozen awards for his coverage on dinosaur extinction, ozone depletion, and climate change, including the first American Geophysical Society’s Award for Sustained Achievement in Science Journalism. His freelance pieces have appeared in Discover, The Washington Post, and other publications.
Distinguished Achievement Awards Dean’s List Recipients
In addition to the four President’s Distinguished Achievement Award recipients, URI’s colleges and the Graduate School of Oceanography will honor the following individuals representing their areas:
Arts and Sciences; Business; Continuing Education; Engineering; Environment & Life Sciences; Human Science & Services; Nursing; Oceanography; Pharmacy
College of Arts and Sciences
Phillip Kydd ’81 of Warwick, R.I. was both a scholar and an athlete while earning his studio art degree. The Athletic Hall of Famer captained one of the University’s most successful basketball teams in URI history. Today, he is the assistant director of administrative services at the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. His leadership led to the establishment of a $12 million Transportation Center of Excellence at URI, as well as, the availability of $5 million in grants for training and research. He maintains a consistent level of commitment to and involvement in numerous URI activities. He is a past president of the URI Alumni Association and a trustee of the URI Foundation. He continues to serve on a number of steering committees, advisory councils, construction committees while supporting various funds and campaigns.
Carol J. Makovich ’75 of Roxbury, Conn. has served as the senior communications executive for a global public company, headed communications for a global business unit of IBM and has been lead spokesperson for two Fortune 500 companies. As a principal of Owen Blicksilver Public Relations, Inc. a New York-based top 10 communications counseling agency, her primary responsibilities are strategic program development, media relations, crisis and financial communications, and executive coaching and support. She has served on several non-profit boards and advisory councils, including director for Project Renewal for 10 years, a New York-based organization serving the city’s homeless. She chaired the board of Poets & Writers, an organization dedicated to providing support and resources for the literary community. An active alumna, she recently agreed to serve on URI’s Advisory Council of the Harrington School of Communication.
Anthony Perrotti ’62 is president of R.I. Analytical Laboratories, which has specialized in the analysis of water, wastewater, soil, air and bulk materials since 1976. He turns good science into good business that improves the quality of life in the community. His company, which has offices in Warwick, R.I. and Hudson, Mass., did the environmental testing of Chafee Social Science Center that found PCBs in caulking, light ballasts, HVAC units, and gaskets. Throughout the testing, retesting, and analyses, he earned the trust of the faculty, staff, and administration for his integrity and his concern for the URI community. In addition, he gives his alma mater his time, his talent, and his treasure. He serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Arts and Sciences and his company has donated air-monitoring equipment to the URI Center for Pollution Prevention and he has supported several performances in the arts.
College of Business Administration
After graduating from URI with a degree in accounting, Michael Morrow ’77 of Roswell, Ga., joined Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP and was admitted to the partnership in 1986. During his career he has served a variety of complex multinational clients principally in the consumer and industrial products sector. He is experienced in mergers and acquisitions, organizational restructurings, global operations, corporate governance and internal controls. He has held a wide variety of practice leadership positions, most recently as the leader of the East Coast assurance practice. In addition to his client responsibilities he was recently elected by his partners to serve on PwC’s global Board of Directors. Additionally, he serves as the lead director on the U.S. Board of Partners. While active in a variety of community organizations, he has served as chairman of the board of Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries for a number of years.
David B. Lea Jr. ’59 of Barrington, R.I. has been in the insurance business for 46 years. After gaining experience in firms in Virginia and New York City, he returned to Rhode Island in 1972 and joined with the late Edward R. Anderson in founding Brokers’ Service Agency, Inc., which today is Brokers’ Service Marketing Group. Today as chairman of BSMG, as it is commonly called, he heads one of the leading insurance brokerage firms in the country. Headquartered in Providence, the firm has offices in Massachusetts and Virginia. Active in insurance associations, he founded and chaired the National Association of Life Underwriters. He served as a University of Rhode Island Foundation trustee for 15 years and is a member of the URI College of Business Advisory Council for four years. He instituted a charity invitational golf tournament through BSMG for the past eight years, which has raised approximately $325,000, which is split between the Amos House in Providence and Child & Family on Aquidneck Island.
With more than two decades of financial investment services experience, Margo L. Cook ’86 of Chicago is the executive vice president of investment services at Nuveen Investments, LLC. She serves as the key liaison with Nuveen’s affiliate managers, which includes eight asset management companies and five sub-advisors. She is a member of the firm’s capital markets committee, investment products committee and works closely with product development on new and existing products. Prior to joining Nuveen, she served as global head of Bear Stearns Asset Management Institutional Business and held leadership roles within the Bank of New York Mellon’s asset management business. After earning a bachelor’s degree in finance from URI, she earned her Executive MBA from Columbia University. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter holder.
Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Continuing Education
Barbara Ann Roberts ’83, MS ‘93 of Plymouth, Mass. is a change agent who sensitized others to the needs and rights of people with disabilities. As director of URI’s disability services, she greatly expanded the scope of services available to students with disabilities, including the “Handy-Van” and accommodations to individuals with learning disabilities. She became widely recognized as an expert by state and national disabilities experts. She moved to MIT in the 1990s, where she was recognized for revamping its disabilities programs, improving accessibility to several campus buildings and setting up an adaptive computer laboratory for use by all students. She has since retired.
After years of work in the convention and visitor industry, John Flaherty ’87 became director of research and communications at Grow Smart Rhode Island, a statewide public interest group representing a broad coalition of partners fighting sprawl and leading the charge for better-managed growth through innovative policies and programs. While juggling family and work responsibilities, he has found ways to give back to URI, his community, and his profession. He serves on two statewide committees: the Public Transit Alliance and the R.I. Division of Planning Safe Routes to School Feasibility Study Steering Committee. A Slatersville, R.I. resident, he had served on various committees and currently serves as chair of the Branch Village Revitalization Task Force of Smithfield. He served on the Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Continuing Education’s Community Advisory Board providing expertise and guidance to the college administration. He is married to Melissa Latraverse-Flaherty, whom he met at college and has three children.
While juggling family, work and school, Mary Ann Shallcross Smith ‘85 of Lincoln, RI, is now affectionately known as Dr. Day Care. After graduation, she soon realized she would have to continue on until she earned a doctorate in education to pursue her lifelong love of providing a broad range of childcare services. Now, the CEO of the Dr. Day Care Family, she and her staff of professionals oversee 26 day care centers in Rhode Island, provide child care consultation services, and coaching and counseling services. In 2008, she became a state representative for the Lincoln and Pawtucket district. She also serves as a member of the Lincoln Democratic Town Committee, R.I. Foster Parents Association, Lincoln Juvenile Hearing Board and R.I. Legislation Commission on Child Care and volunteers as a court-appointed Special Advocate for Children.
College of Engineering
Barry Gertz, ’76, president of Neptune-Benson, followed his father’s footsteps to URI and like his late father, Junius “Babe” Gertz ’50, earned an engineering degree. After graduating he joined the family business which he expanded and relocated in Coventry, R.I. The company designs and manufactures aquatic filtration and recirculation systems. More than 6,000 installations in the world’s most prestigious water parks, resorts, aquariums and swimming pools bear the Neptune-Benson name. Gertz, an East Greenwich resident, serves on the College of Engineering Advisory Council and, with his wife Sandra Gertz ’86, is a generous donor to the endowed Gertz Family Engineering Endowed Scholarship.
When Krishnan Balasubramanian MS ’70 arrived at URI he was 18 with just $8 in his pocket to pursue a master’s of science degree in electrical engineering. When meals weren’t served on Sunday he and a friend ate apples from a tree on campus. Today, the Missouri City, Texas resident is retired from a 37-year career at Texas Instruments, one of the world’s largest designers and manufacturers of semiconductors. At the time of his retirement in 2006, he was president and chairman of the board of Texas Instruments, Japan, where he was responsible for executive management supervision, regulator matters, and technological operations. He is currently a board member of MetroCorp Bancshares, Inc., the holding company for MetroBank, N.A. and Metro United Bank.
Anthony Zuena ’74, president and CEO of SEA Consultants Inc., a consulting firm comprised of scientists, engineers, and architects serving municipal, state, federal, transportation, energy, and higher education clients throughout New England. The Cambridge, Mass. company has offices in Maine, Mass., N.H. and Conn. The civil and environmental engineering alumnus joined SEA in 1984 and by 1987 he became the water group manager and a principal of the firm. He became Cambridge office manager and senior vice president in 1994. By 2001, he became COO and functioned in that role until he was promoted to his current position. He and his wife Paulette B. Zuena ’74 reside in Andover, Mass.
College of the Environment and Life Sciences
Wayne K. Durfee ’50 of Saunderstown, R.I., Professor Emeritus in the Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Sciences, taught poultry science at URI for 26 years and is known as the international expert on the Rhode Island Red. During the 1970s as the poultry industry contracted in the state, Durfee focused his research and teaching efforts on an emerging area of state interest: shellfish aquaculture. His research on and commitment to the Rhode Island Red, however, has made a significant impact on its rebounding population. Recently, he hatched 25 chicks and created a heritage flock, an unbroken line of pedigree birds. This has ensured the preservation of this valuable breed and has provided public access to the state bird of Rhode Island. Over the years, he and his wife Bernice ’49 have support numerous other campus initiatives. They remain committed to helping provide financial assistance for deserving students: the Wayne K. and Bernice A. Durfee Aquaculture Merit Scholarship for students studying aquaculture and the Hope Lodge #25 Masonic Scholarship is awarded to a student who is a member or a close relation to a member of the lodge.
Peggy Boyd Sharpe of North Kingstown, R.I. is a loyal friend to the University and one of Rhode Island’s greatest advocates for environmental stewardship, preservation, and education. Through numerous personal and family contributions, she exemplifies the leadership, passion, and commitment that URI seeks to embody in its graduates. She has served on the board of governors of the Nature Conservancy, headed the citizen’s advisory board to the R.I. Solid Waste Management Corp., was appointed to the Natural Heritage Preservation Commission Governor’s Advisory Council, and established the Mary Elizabeth Sharpe Street Tree Endowment, which led to the planting of more than 2,000 trees in Providence. She currently oversees the Conservation Law Foundation of New England. She and her husband, Henry D. Sharpe, Jr. won the Helm Award for Outstanding Philanthropic Citizens. In April of 2001, the two received the John H. Chafee Lifetime Service Award from the United Way to honor their continuing tradition. The Sharpes also received the coveted Paris V. Sterrett Award for leadership, dedication and generosity to the community.
College of Human Science and Services
Since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies, Linda D’Amario Rossi ’68 of Providence, R.I. has been deputy commissioner of the Texas Youth Commission, director of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and twice the director of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families. Since 1998, she has served as a marketing and government relations executive with Public Consulting Group in Boston. Her community commitment is reflected by her service on the board of directors of Tides Family Service and as the first female member and current vice president of the Aurora Civic Association. She is the recipient of an outstanding achievement award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the Verrazano Award from the R.I. Verrazano Committee, and the Woman of the Year Award from the Rhode Island Women’s Guild.
Marie Campopiano DiBiasio ’61, MOA ’68 (Human Sciences and Services) of East Greenwich, R.I. has a remarkable and sustained commitment to improving elementary and secondary education in Rhode Island. A former faculty member at URI, she has served in numerous capacities for the Rhode Island Department of Education. She was also deputy superintendent for the Bristol Public Schools, consultant and president of Phoenix Education Group, and dean of the Roger Williams University School of Education. She has been active in the International Reading Association, serving on its board of directors. She currently chairs the Rhode Island Department of Education Statewide Advisory Committee. She has chaired the URI Alumni Fund Drive and served as president of the URI Alumni Association and has established an endowed scholarship at URI.
Michael Nula ’96 MPT of East Greenwich, R.I. is a board certified physical therapist and the sole proprietor of Elite Physical Therapy, Inc., a successful practice that he began seven years ago and expanded to two locations in Rhode Island. In keeping with his vision and the philosophy of Elite PT, he and his handpicked, highly qualified staff of physical therapists provide the best one-on-one treatment for their patients. Prior to starting Elite PT, he worked as a physical therapist for Health South Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation, a nationwide firm where he honed his skills. As part of his preparation to become a physical therapist, Mike taught science and math and coached sports at St. Raphael Academy and the Portsmouth Abbey School in R.I. Nula finds time to contribute his time and expertise to URI and has established an endowed scholarship.
College of Nursing
Holly Powell Kennedy ’99 Ph.D., the first Helen Varney Professor of Midwifery at Yale School of Nursing, is an internationally known midwifery researcher with broad experiences as a clinician, researcher, educator, and policymaker. Her pioneering research began during a time when fear of childbirth and lack of trust prevailed. She was instrumental in developing the concept of optimal maternity care, which strives to achieve maximum outcome with a minimum amount of interference in the woman’s obstetrical, medical, and social background. The Branford, Conn. resident, a widely published and a sought-out international speaker is the recipient of multiple honors and awards and named a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in 2007 and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She holds visiting faculty appointments at King’s College London and at the University of Basel, Switzerland.
Elaine D. Sullivan ’75, ’86 MSN is on the front line of the worldwide epidemic of diabetes as associate director of clinical education programs at the acclaimed Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. She is responsible for domestic and international clinical and educational programming with a focus on helping new affiliates understand and embrace Joslin philosophy and practice. The Watertown, Mass. resident is also responsible for innovations in diabetes in skilled nursing facilities. Before starting her current position in 2004, Sullivan worked five years as center manager for the Joslin Diabetes Center affiliate at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London and in Mystic, Conn. There she developed and managed a comprehensive hospital-based diabetes and endocrinology center providing education, treatment and support. The program has registered more than 6,000 patients since opening in 1999.
Deborah K. Zastocki ‘74. Very few nurses become leaders of hospitals. The job requires a keen business sense, as well as a true appreciation for excellence in patient care. Deborah K. Zastocki ’74 wears both of those hats. As President and CEO of Chilton Memorial Hospital in Pompton Plains, N.J. since 2004, she has turned a 5 percent operating loss into a 2 percent gain. She initiated major renovation projects including a family care center. Under her guidance, the hospital has achieved national and state recognition for quality outcomes for heart attack, stroke, rapid response teams, and pressure ulcers. This year, Zasktocki was awarded the Garden State Magazine’s 2008 Woman of the Year for Healthcare and “Gets It” Award.
Graduate School of Oceanography
Christopher Langdon ’88 Ph.D. of Miami, Fla., an associate professor in the Department of Marine Biology and Fisheries at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, is co-founder of the South Florida Coral Reef & Climate Change Laboratory. The lab is the first of its kind to tackle the global problem of the impact of climate change on corals. Langdon who earned his doctorate in biological oceanography in 1988 has considerable knowledge of the biology of corals. He is especially interested in the relationship of climate change and the reduction of pH in the ocean as a result of the increases in dissolved carbon dioxide.
When the Obama administration wants the best science-based understanding of climate and global change, its looks for advice from Jerry L. Miller MS ’83 a senior policy expert for ocean sciences and related matters at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in Washington, D.C. The office advises the president on the effects of science and technology on domestic and international affairs and serves as a source of scientific and technological analysis and judgment for the president with respect to major policies, plans, and programs of the federal government. Miller has expertise in global development, management and execution of complex interdisciplinary research and development programs and extensive experience in academia, government and non-profit sectors and works closely with U.S. and international science communities.
Michael P. Sissenwine ’75 Ph.D. is past president of the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) in Copenhagen, Denmark, which advises European governmental bodies on marine ecosystems and human activities that impact them. He currently chairs the ICES Advisory Committee. He served as director of scientific programs and was chief science advisor for the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service. With more than three decades of experience as a research scientist, he had authored more than 100 scientific reports and publications on a wide range of topics including ecosystem dynamics, fisheries oceanography, resource assessments and fishery management theory and case studies. He has convened several international scientific conferences and has given testimony to the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament. In 2001, he was awarded the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award by President George W. Bush. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and an independent marine and a science consultant with projects worldwide.
College of Pharmacy
Scott Campbell ’77 of Wakefield, R.I. was captain of the Rhody baseball team. Today, as the owner of the independent Ocean Pharmacy in Charlestown, R.I., he continues to hit home runs for his alma mater. He is the first person to raise his hand when the college is looking for volunteers. He became a URI preceptor for pharmacy students in 1986 and has continued that role uninterrupted to this day. He is a mentor to 12 members of the pharmacy class of 2012. A consultant for the South Shore Mental Health, he also sits on the McKesson National Independent Advisory board. In 2008 he was named winner of the Wyeth Pharmacist of the Year for the state of Rhode Island.
Paul J. Desjardins ’72 of Maplewood, N.J. considered one of the world’s experts in developing an acute pain model in humans is an expert on how to relieve that pain. After earning his bachelor’s degree with honors, he earned his doctor of medical dentistry from Tufts University and a doctorate in pharmacology from Georgetown University. Today he is the senior vice president, Global Clinical and Medical Affairs for Wyeth Consumer Healthcare where he leads a multidisciplinary group of 40 physicians, dentists, pharmacists, and clinical research scientists to develop new over-the-counter analgesics, multivitamins, cough and cold, and personal care products. His teams provide medical support for Wyeth Consumer Healthcare Products around the world.
Eleanor M. Perfetto ’80, MPharm ‘88 of Annapolis, Md. has more than 20 years of experience in health services and pharmaceutical research and practice. She earned her doctorate at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health. Her background includes executive positions in business and product development, health outcomes, the pharmaceutical industry, government agencies, and professional agencies. As senior director of reimbursement and regulatory affairs at Pfizer Inc., she monitors and analyzes prescription drug and health care coverage and reimbursement issues. She is a member of the national Pharmacy Quality Alliance and co-chairs its research coordinating committee. She was appointed to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advisory Committee and to the National Pharmaceutical Council’s Senior Advisory Group. As a caregiver of a family member with dementia, she is active on behalf of patients with head-trauma-related dementias and their care. She serves on the board of directors for the Sports Legacy Institute, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to research and education on sports-related brain injury.