Cleveland State University

Alumni & Friends

Distinguished Alumni Awards - 2006

All information is as appeared in the 2006 Distinguished Alumni Awards progarm.

Edson R. “Ted” Arneault, ’78 MBA

Edson R. “Ted” Arneault earned a master of business administration degree from the Nance College of Business in 1978. He lives in New Cumberland, W. Va., and is the president and chief executive officer of MTR Gaming Group, Inc., whose wholly owned subsidiaries include Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort, Speedway Casino and Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas, and Scioto Downs in Columbus.

Arneault became CEO of Mountaineer in 1995 and has turned the company in to a financial success that has been recognized by Forbes, Fortune, Business Week and other national financial media. He serves on the board of the Cleveland State University Foundation.

Edward A. Bernetich, ’72 BS/’78 Med

Edward A. Bernetich is a two-time graduate of the College of Education and Human Services, with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1972 and a master’s degree in administration in 1978. He recently retired after a 35-year career in public education, including the past 18 years as principal of Beachwood Middle School. He lives in Brecksville.

Under his leaderships, Beachwood Middle School received two U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Awards, an Intel Achievement Award for technology, and was named a Litehouse School for Technology in the United States. Beachwood Middle School was the first school in Ohio to provide each student and staff member with a laptop computer – a program he initiated.

Dr. Michael A. Centanni, ’73 BES/’83 JD

Dr. Michael Centanni earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering science cum laude with a major in physics from the Fenn College of Engineering in 1973. He also holds a JD from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He lives in Parma and is the chief patent counsel for STERIS Corporation, managing all intellectual property matters worldwide for the firm.

Dr. Centanni holds 25 U.S. patents with 18 more U.S. patents applications on file. He has maintained close ties to Cleveland State University, teaching physics classes and sharing his corporate and management expertise with students. This year, he accepted the role of chairman of the first College of Science Visiting Committee.

Dr. Ralph A. DiFranco, ’73 BA

Dr. Ralph A. DiFranco received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish in 1973 from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. He lives in Denver, Colo. and is a professor of Spanish at the University of Denver.

He is the author of numerous publications on Spanish literature and the recipient of more than $1 million in grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Dr. DiFranco created and maintains the Bibliografia de la Poesia Aurea, a database that includes more than 91,000 first lines of poetry taken from nearly 2,500 sources held at 60 libraries in 11 countries on three continents. The database helps scholars access key information necessary for research into the Golden Age of Spanish poetry.

Hon. Frank G. Jackson, ’77 BA/’79 MS/’83 JD

Mayor Frank G. Jackson holds three degrees from Cleveland State University – a bachelor’s degree in history from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences in 1977, a master’s degree in urban studies in 1979 from the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, and a JD from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1983.

Before being elected mayor last November, Jackson served three years as president of City Council and 16 years as the Ward 5 representative to City Council. Mayor Jackson is dedicating himself to improving Cleveland’s inner city neighborhoods, the entire city, and the region. His mayoral campaign motto, “Moving Cleveland Forward,” has been modified to “Moving Greater Cleveland Forward” as he reaches out to establish partnerships with mayors throughout Cuyahoga County. Bringing excellence back to the public schools, attracting and maintaining jobs, and healing the rifts that have divided the city are among his priorities.

James G. MacMillan, ’89 BME

James MacMillan received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Fenn College of Engineering in 1989. He lives in Cuyahoga Falls.

As vice president of Karpinski Engineering Inc., he has been responsible for the design and construction of major campus projects, including the new recreation center and Parker Hannifin Administration Center, and renovations of Parker Hannifin Hall, University Plaza, Bert L. Wolstein Hall, and more. Recognized by his peers for making buildings more environmentally friendly, MacMillan was the first engineer in Ohio to receive accreditation form the U.S. Green Building Council.

Hon. Terrence O’Donnell, ’71 JD

Justice Terrence O’Donnell received a JD from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1971. He lives in Rocky River and has been a member of the state judiciary for more than 25 years.

His judicial career began in 1980 when he was elected to the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, a seat that he held for 14 years. In 1994, he was elected to the Eighth District Court of Appeals and served eight years until being appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court in May 2003.

GEORGE B. DAVIS AWARD: Sheryl King Benford, ’79 JD

Sheryl King Benford earned a JD from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1979. She is general counsel and deputy general manager for legal affairs for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA). She lives in Shaker Heights.

Except for four years in private practice, King Benford’s career has been entirely in the public sector. She has been a teacher and principal in the East Cleveland Schools; an adjunct faculty member at both the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs; assistant law director for the city of Cleveland (twice); and law director for the city of Shaker Heights. At RTA, she directs all legal activities and is responsible for the Risk Management and Safety departments and Office of Equal Opportunity.

King Benford is a former assistant dean of admissions and student affairs at the College of Law and has served on the law school’s Visiting Committee and as president of the Law Alumni Association, where she is a life member and continues to service on the board of trustees. She is a member of the law school’s Development Council and is co-chairing this year’s College of Law Annual Fund Drive.

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