Rufus and Joan Darkortey Receive CSU Alumni Recognition Awards
The Fenn Tower ballroom was sizzling – and not because it was 60-plus degrees on a mid-January evening. It was sizzling with excitement, cheers and applause as a standing-room-only audience saluted the first recipients of CSU’s Alumni Recognition Awards.
“These awards recognize individuals who, through their engagement and service, are having a positive impact on CSU, its students and the community,” said Kathy Jennings, MBA ’09, president of the CSU Alumni Association.
Congratulations to the first class of Alumni Recognition Award recipients.
OUTSTANDING CHAPTER PROGRAM AWARD
Monte Ahuja College of Business Chapter – During homecoming 2016, the business alumni chapter introduced a new executive speaker series focusing on timely topics for alumni of all ages. The series provides an excellent showcase for faculty and alumni experts in various fields.
ALUMNI ASSOCIATION PRESIDENTIAL CITATION FOR STUDENT LEADERSHIP
Geraldine Klohs – Klohs was instrumental in helping rebrand the Student Alumni Association into the 1964 Society to better connect students and alumni. She was the first 1964 Society president and a Presidential Student Ambassador.
Paul All – All graduated this May with a degree in finance. He served as president of Sigma Phi Epsilon and was one of two student representatives to the CSU Board of Trustees. A Presidential Student Ambassador and former treasurer and president of the 1964 Society, he assisted with Senior Series events which help graduating students navigate life after CSU and with development of the Viking Traditions website.
OUTSTANDING CORPORATE CHAPTER
Sherwin-Williams – CSU’s first corporate chapter has been a trailblazer for chapters that have followed. With some 650 alumni worldwide, Sherwin-Williams is a model for workplace engagement and involving alumni in social events, networking, recruiting, mentoring, education and philanthropy that benefits CSU and its students.
Jessica Sutherland – A 2006 alumna, Sutherland launched Homeless to Howard, an online fundraising campaign that in one week raised enough money to pay for freshman year at Howard University for a young man she met while volunteering at a homeless shelter. She then launched Homeless To Higher Ed, a nonprofit dedicated to helping homeless and at-risk students escape poverty through education.
OUTSTANDING YOUNG ALUMNI
Eugene Malinskiy – A biomedical innovator with a passion for medicine and technology, Malinskiy was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for Manufacturing and Industry. A native of Ukraine, he graduated from the Washkewicz College of Engineering with a master’s degree in biomedical engineering and founded DragonID, a Cleveland Heights-based biomedical engineering and innovation firm that has already created a device that reduces the risk of strokes following transcatheter aortic valve replacement.
DAVID BALINT OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER SERVICE
Anna Gibson – Gibson is a two-time alumna with a bachelor of business administration degree in 2012 and a master’s in labor relations and human resources in 2014. She is a human resources administrator at Lincoln Electric and has been a member of CSU’s Young Alumni Council since its start in 2014.
OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER SERVICE
Dave Guinther – Guinther was one of the initiators, and prime backers, of the Champions Campaign and Heritage Project which raised more than $250,000 for improvements that will keep Busbey Natatorium one of the top swimming facilities in the nation for years to come. An engaged alumnus and strong supporter of both CSU and the swim program, he lives in California and leads the Bay Area Alumni Chapter.
Dave Huiett and Bill Schutte – From their student days until the present, both men have promoted Greek life on campus. They were instrumental in starting CSU’s Greek Alumni Council and most recently worked with students on the successful rechartering of a Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter on campus. Huiett graduated in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. He holds the distinction of serving as the last president of Lambda Tau Delta and the first president of the Ohio Nu (CSU chapter) of Sigma Phi Epsilon. Schutte graduated in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and is equally engaged with Sigma Phi Epsilon. Both spend countless hours engaging with students to ensure that their CSU and Greek experiences are exceptional.
OUTSTANDING PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS
William Denihan – Denihan earned a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from the Levin College in 1998. His legacy of public service includes: director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources; police chief and director of public safety and public service for the city of Cleveland; executive director of the Department of Children and Family Services; CEO of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, and more.
Hannah Belsito – Belsito earned a master’s degree in urban planning, design and development from the Levin College in 2011. The vice president of destination development and community affairs for Destination Cleveland, she leads efforts to advance Cleveland as a visitor destination and enhance the visitor experience.
Rufus Darkortey and Joan Curran Darkortey – This alumni couple co-founded the Liberia Economic Development Initiative, a non-profit organization that works to reduce poverty and change lives by building public libraries in Liberia. He is a senior financial analyst with Forest City Realty Trust and a two-time alumnus. She is a senior RIM analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
PRESIDENTIAL CITATION FOR EXEMPLARY SERVICE TO THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
Steve Adams – Adams is the manager of Elements Bistro, the site of many University, Advancement and Alumni-hosted luncheons and special events. Without fail, he and his team ensure that no detail is overlooked and every event is memorable.
Gail Lill – Lill is the supervisor of CSU’s printing and duplicating department. She and her team consistently deliver a superior product and excellent customer service to Alumni Affairs and the entire University. “While Steve and Gail are not alumni, they are special friends of CSU and the Alumni Association and we are proud to salute them,” said Brian Breittholz, assistant vice president of alumni relations.