All information is as appeared in the 1994 Distinguished Alumni Awards progarm.
Colonel Henry Gariepy is recognized for his exceptional, enduring achievements and leadership with the Salvation Army to which he has dedicated his life. His achievements have brought much pride to Cleveland State University, for his accomplishments exemplify the true spirit of this award.
Henry began his work nearly 30 years ago. He pioneered the Salvation Army’s Hough Multi-Purpose Center in what was at the time the riot-torn Hough neighborhood of Cleveland. It proved to be an innovative program and the largest of its kind in the country with over 10,000 members and 1,000 different persons coming through its doors for essential services. Henry directed the Center and its operations for six years, establishing programs and services that have become models for many social service centers across the country. Thanks to his vision, today the Center continues to provide vital service to the Hough area.
Henry is currently Editor-in-Chief of national publications for the Salvation Army in the United States. He is responsible for the bi-weekly publishing of War Cry with over 500,000 copies in circulation and is responsible for the new direction in format and content of the national publication. Also the author of seven books, Henry has travelled the world cataloging the missionary works of the Salvation Army while helping to better the lives of those in need.
Henry earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1972 and completed his Master of Science in Urban Studies in 1973. “I will always be grateful for my educational opportunities at Cleveland State,” he says. “The curriculum in sociology and urban studies provided a foundation both of theoretical an empirical knowledge that I have been able to apply many times in my varied fields of service. It also professionalized my credentials through my student work with community and organization leaders. Thus, as a student you are on the cutting edge, addressing real issues and exposed to a creative curriculum that interfaces with community leaders. Cleveland State’s lasting legacy continues to enrich my personal life and professional work.”
As Vice President of Hospital Services for University Hospitals of Cleveland since 1991, Linda Stephens Gipson has been responsible for the Managed Services of the 943-bed, multi-hospital system with an operating budget of $44 million dollars. This appointment occurred just prior to her completion of the Master of Business Administration degree in Cleveland State’s College of Business in 1991.
Linda’s accomplishments include the elimination of $18 million in avoidable, non-salary operating expenses while increasing revenues by 1500% in retail operations; creating high-performance work teams with decentralized accountability and self-directed authority; and providing a practice environment where doctoral candidates can perform hypothesis research and master’s degree candidates can complete internship opportunities.
Linda’s volunteerism transcends many areas of community service, as the numerous awards and honors bestowed upon her over the years readily attest. She has served as a volunteer probation officer for Cuyahoga County, as a volunteer instructor with the American Heart Association, and as a volunteer instructor with the Children’s Health Issues with the Cleveland Public Schools. In addition, she is a trustee for LifeBanc and volunteers at the Free Clinic of Cleveland.
“My career has been a testament to the words of J.M. Clark who said that, ‘Knowledge is the only instrument of production not subject to diminishing returns,’” she says. “Cleveland State’s graduate business program provided me with the knowledge to translate mission, vision, and values into consistently superior outcomes. I am confident that the curriculum was so broad-based and programmatic that it will continue to serve my career extremely well in a rapidly changing and highly competitive environment.”
Gerald Gordon is an alumnus who has dedicated himself to serving Cleveland State University as a University trustee from January 1984 until May 1992. During his tenure as a trustee, he served as Board Treasurer for five years, was chairman of both the Building and Grounds Committee and the Finance Committee, and was instrumental in the building of the CSU Convocation Center.
Recently, Gerald distinguished himself as the latest appointment by Governor George Voinovich to the Ohio Board of Regents, a very prestigious position which he will hold for eight years. The president and chief operating officer of Sun Media Corporation, Gerald earned both his baccalaureate and master’s degrees from Cleveland State University, his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1971 followed by the completion of a Master of Science degree in Urban Studies in 1972.
“If CSU as an institution wasn’t available along with some very understanding faculty who understood the needs of part-time night students, I would not be as successful as I am toady,” he says. He cites sociology professor Mareyjoyce Green and economics professor Vijay Mathur as two of his most influential mentors who are now his friends.
And while most people think that having had an influence upon the Convocation Center would be his most rewarding and memorable experience at CSU, he insists it is not. Instead, the most rewarding experience has been the opportunity to positively influence the lives of many of the graduates.
“At Sun Newspapers, a division of SunMedia, almost ten percent of our workforce are CSU graduates,” Gerald notes. “I have seen these people develop as professionals and individuals, which is most gratifying.”
Judge Linda Rocker is recognized or her outstanding civic and professional achievements which have contributed to the betterment of the community and humanity. She is dedicated to being an active participant in the “action of my times and making a positive difference in doing so.”
Presently, Linda has been nominated for a federal judgeship position and is awaiting confirmation. Since 1990, she has served as a Judge for the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, presiding over trials, ruling on issues of law, deciding motions, authoring opinions and establishing procedures for settlement of civil litigation.
She began her professional career as an English teacher for East Cleveland’s Board of Education, followed by a teaching position at Case Western Reserve University, later assuming the position of Assistant Principal at Shaker Heights High School. In 983, she completed her Juris Doctor degree at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Magna Cum Laude, and initiated her career in the legal profession.
The recipient of many civic awards and academic honors – including the Case Western Reserve University Centennial Celebration Outstanding Alumnus, the Cuyahoga County Federation of Community Planning’s Most Treasured Volunteer and induction into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame – Linda has also distinguished herself through her volunteer work as a founder of the Zelma George Shelter for Homeless Women and Children and the Cleveland Biafran Relief Fund. She is also a trustee on the boards of the YWCA, WomenSpace and the American Jewish Committee.
“Cleveland State prepared me for a license to practice law,” she says. “I chose CSU because of its diverse student body, not only in terms of ethnic and racial diversity, but its diversity of ages as well. A number of people there were like me, working toward a second career. The competition was tough, I had to work hard, yet fortunately I found the faculty to be open, responsible, and accessible.”
She cites her family as a great influence and source of inspiration to her legal career, noting that her father was a judge and her grandfather a lawyer. “Law has been the bread and butter of dinner-time discourse in my family for a very long time,” she says. “My involvement in the civil rights and women’s movements also had a tremendous impact on me, and illustrated how the social issues of our time are addressed through legal discourse and dissertation.”
Melody Stewart’s professional and civic accomplishments demonstrate exceptional leadership and achievement. An Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and an adjunct instructor, Melody has worked diligently and successfully in the area of minority recruitment and retention of law school students. She is both tutor and mentor to first-year law students. In addition, she participates in the Young Scholars Program, an initiative that seeks to enhance successful college study for students in the Cleveland Public Schools.
Melody is a founding member of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association and the Legal Advisory Board of Cleveland Works, Inc. and is also involved in local and national bar associations. She is an active member of the Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association and its Alumni Mentorship Program and is a member of its Board of Trustees. As an avid supporter of the arts, Melody provides the opportunity to expose young children to art and music as part of her service to the community. She is also a member of the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity and Mu Phi Epsilon music fraternity.
Melody completed her Juris Doctor degree at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1988 as a Patricia Roberts Harris Fellow. As a student, she was a staff member and associate editor of the Journal of Law and Health in addition to being a member of the Moot Court Board of Governors.
“I would need ten pages of a notebook to explain how Cleveland State has prepared me for my career,” she says. “At CSU I received a lot of exposure into Cleveland’s legal community by networking with alumni and by being a member of the nationally recognized CSU Moot Court team. I also had exposure and access to faculty who were internationally recognized for their research and writing.”
She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts degree in music at Cleveland State. “For the first time in my life,” she says, “I am enrolled in classes to pursue something that I really love and not just for fulfilling a degree.” She received an undergraduate degree in music from the University of Cincinnati and thinks about some day combing her interest in law with her love of music. “As my friends say, it was inevitable for me to go into music considering my name.”