Cleveland State University's 23rd annual Distinguished Alumni Awards will salute 11 outstanding graduates for their service, leadership and career achievements. This year's honorees are: Kabir Singh, Martin J. Sweeney, Louis Stokes, Joseph C. Krysh, Dr. Robert A. Mengerink, Rebecca A. Bompiedi, Teresa K. Demchak, Thomas F. O'Toole, John C. Vitullo, Nickie J. Antonio and Susan L. Collier.
The awards ceremony will be held Friday, Oct. 18 at the Bert L. and Iris S. Wolstein Center, 2000 Prospect Ave. Tickets are $125 each; sponsorships and tables are available. The evening includes a reception at 5:45 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards program at 6:45 p.m. Valet parking is included.
GEORGE B. DAVIS AWARD FOR SERVICE TO THE UNIVERSITY -- Recognizesa graduate’s generous dedication to the growth and advancement of Cleveland State University. Alumnus Davis, for whom the award is named, received a BBA in 1941 and an MBA in 1981.
Louis Stokes, JD law ’53, has championed social and economic justice, education, health care, veterans’ issues and more throughout his distinguished career.
A native Clevelander and the first African American to represent Ohio in Congress, Stokes was a highly respected national leader during his 15 terms (30 years) in the U.S. House of Representatives. His many prestigious appointments included membership on the House Appropriations Committee, where he was influential in bringing revenue to Cleveland; chair of the Congressional Black Caucus; chair of the House Select Committee on Assassinations; and membership on the House Iran Contra Panel. After retiring as Dean of the Ohio delegation in 1999, he served as senior counsel for Squire, Sanders & Dempsey.
Stokes was instrumental in helping CSU and Northeast Ohio Medical University establish the Urban Primary Care Initiative, a collaboration that is training primary care physicians for urban areas, and he co-chairs its advisory committee.
As a member of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law National Advisory Council for the past eight years, he provides sound advice on issues related to legal education. He supports law students through the Louis Stokes Scholarship Fund and serves on C|M|LAW’s Alumni Association board of directors.
His numerous honors include the Congressional Distinguished Service Award, CSU’s In Tribute to the Public Service award, and an honorary doctor of laws degree from C|M|LAW. He lives in Maryland and Cleveland.
Kabir Singh is the first recipient of this new award recognizing international alumni for their career achievements. The family business, Sigma Group, comprises six companies (one in Troy, Mich.; the others in area of New Delhi, India) that manufacture and market automotive components.
Believing that the United States offered the best opportunities for higher education, the Singh family sent eldest son Kabir from New Delhi to Cleveland to enroll at CSU. He earned a master of business administration degree from the Monte Ahuja College of Business in 1997. Other family members soon followed in his footsteps, with brothers Preet earning a bachelor of science in industrial engineering in 2000 and Jagmit earning a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering in 2000.
Following graduation, Singh joined the family business. He credits his education with his success in growing Sigma Group into a leading global enterprise. Today he is president of Sigma Vibracoustic Pvt. Ltd. and Sigma-Freudenberg-NOK Pvt. Ltd. in New Delhi.
PRESIDENT'S ALUMNI AWARD FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE -- A new award recognizing alumni for their service to the Greater Cleveland community.
Martin J. Sweeney, BA political science '88, has been president of Cleveland City Council since December 2005. Born and raised in Cleveland's Ward 18, he has represented that neighborhood since first being elected as a member of City Council in January 1997.
During his time on Council, more than $350 million in economic development has been invested in Ward 18, creating more than 1,500 jobs. On his watch, the stability of Ward 18's residential and business districts has been maintained and even enhanced in the face of daunting economic challenges.
As Council President, Sweeney recognizes that to strengthen the city, Cleveland's neighborhoods must be revitalized. He has worked tirelessly with the Jackson Administration to make improvements, including safer streets, more police visibility, a stable housing stock, more jobs and responsive city government. He also has been deeply involved in the redevelopment of downtown and such projects as the Convention Center, Horseshoe Casino, Flats construction, and expansion of CSU.
At CSU, Sweeney was a member of the legendary 1986 Viking basketball team that advanced to the Sweet 16 Round of the NCAA Tournament.
A Leadership Cleveland Class of 2004 graduate, he lives in Cleveland.
COLLEGE AWARD CATEGORY
Monte Ahuja College of Business
Joseph C. Krysh, BBA accounting ’80 and MBA finance ’81, is the founder and managing partner of Regency Business Partners, which represents entrepreneurs and investors seeking to buy small to mid-sized companies. His 30 years of business experience also includes serving as an executive vice president for Medical Mutual of Ohio and as co-founder of Orion Consulting Inc., a national management and healthcare firm.
Krysh, a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program, is a nine-year member and current chair of the College of Business Visiting Committee. An Eagle Scout, he is an executive board member for the Greater Cleveland Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He lives in Westlake.
College of Education and Human Services
Dr. Robert A. Mengerink Jr., MEd education administration ’74, is superintendent of the Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County, which impacts the pre-K through high school education of some 160,000 students by providing school districts with curriculum development, fiscal management, leadership training, technology assistance, grant writing, and more.
For 21 years, Dr. Mengerink served as superintendent of the Kettering and Northmont City Schools in the Dayton area. He was named Ohio Superintendent of the Year in 2008, received the national Excellence in Educational Leadership Award from the University Council for Educational Administration, and twice received the Exemplary Educational Leadership Award from the state association for school superintendents. He lives in Hinckley, Ohio.
Fenn College of Engineering
Rebecca A. Bompiedi, BS chemical engineering ’84 and MS industrial engineering ’90, recently accepted the position of senior vice president, business transformation, for Philips Lighting Americas.
For the past 23 years she has been with GE Lighting, most recently as lighting transformation/strategic initiatives leader where she led a $500 million restructuring and transformation initiative due to the global phase out of incandescent and certain types of linear fluorescent lighting. During her 23 years with GE, she led the Six Sigma corporate quality initiative and held leadership roles in engineering and technology in the areas of product development, manufacturing capacity management, quality, and research and development.
Bompiedi serves on Fenn College’s Visiting Committee and has provided experiential learning opportunities for students at GE Lighting. She lives in Chagrin Falls.
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
Teresa K. Demchak, BA social work ’70 and JD law ’76, is the retired managing partner of Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian (now Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho) in Oakland, Calif. A respected litigator, she was with the firm for 22 years before retiring last December.
Demchak’s professional experience includes election to the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and serving as a Wasserstein Civil Right Fellow at Harvard Law School and an adjunct professor at Hastings College of Law. She is a member of C|M|Law’s National Advisory Council and established the Teresa K. Demchak Scholarship for students interested in careers in public interest law. She lives in Houston, Texas.
College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
Thomas F. O’Toole, BA ’79 communication and MA applied communication theory and methodology ’87, is senior vice president of marketing and loyalty/president of MileagePlus at United Airlines. He is responsible for all marketing, ancillary revenue, ecommerce, loyalty, co-brand credit cards, distribution and product management for the company.
O’Toole joined United in 2010. Since then, he has advanced steadily, holding the positions of senior vice president and chief marketing officer, senior vice president and chief operating officer of MileagePlus, and senior vice president and president of MileagePlus.
His career also includes 14 years with Global Hyatt Corporation, where he was chief marketing officer and chief information officer. He lives in Chicago.
College of Sciences and Health Professions
John C. Vitullo, Ph. D. regulatory biology ’84, is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Omega Laboratories, Inc., one of only six hair drug-testing laboratories in the world.
Dr. Vitullo completed two post-doctoral fellowships at the Cleveland Clinic, where he was recognized for his work on the effects of cocaine on the cardiovascular system. He also has done biomedical research at the Veterans Administration Hospital at Wade Park and Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine, and was a partner in a forensic laboratory which provided evidence analyses for more than 30 law enforcement agencies.
He recently completed a three-year term on the College of Sciences and Health Professions Visiting Committee and established the John and Florence Vitullo Endowed Scholarship in honor of his parents. He lives in Cleveland.
Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs
Nickie J. Antonio, BS education ’80 and MPA public administration ’92, is serving her second term in the Ohio House of Representatives for District 13, which includes Lakewood, Linndale and parts of Cleveland. She chairs the Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus and serves as the highest ranking member of the Heath and Aging Committee.
Antonio served for five years as an at-large member of Lakewood City Council. She was the first openly gay member of both the Ohio House and Lakewood Council.
A former special education teacher and nonprofit administrator, Antonio has taught women’s studies and public administration courses at CSU. She serves on the board of the Cleveland Tenants Organization. She lives in Lakewood.
School of Nursing
Susan L. Collier, BA English ’76 and BS nursing ’86, is vice president of nursing/chief nursing officer at Hillcrest Hospital, ranked as one of the top 50 hospitals in the nation. She also is the mother two School of Nursing alumni.
Affiliated with the Cleveland Clinic Health System since 1977, Collier operationalized the integration of care management across the Cleveland Clinic system as associate chief nursing officer for care management. She also was the chief nursing officer at South Pointe Hospital for 15 years, and held positions as director, nurse manager, nursing supervisor and staff nurse at South Pointe and Huron Hospital. For many years she has helped provide clinical training placements for CSU nursing students at Clinic facilities.
Now pursuing a doctor of nursing practice degree at Case Western Reserve University, Collier has been recognized by the Plain Dealer as a “Best of the Best” nurse. This year she received the Center for Health Affairs’ Northeast Ohio Nursing Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in Claridon, Ohio.