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The University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering will honor John A. Jurenko as its 2007 Distinguished Alumnus at its Distinguished Alumni Banquet April 4. Six other alumni and one student also will be honored at the event.
In commenting on this year's honorees, Gerald Holder, the U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering at Pitt, noted, "Since 1964, the School of Engineering has recognized our best and brightest through the Distinguished Alumni Awards, and we are delighted to have such a remarkable group this year. With all but one of our honored alumni coming from other parts of the United States, this year's class also demonstrates the widespread accomplishments our 25,000 alumni are having not just here in Pittsburgh, but throughout the country."
Jurenko earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at Pitt in 1956. After three decades in the electronics and telecommunications industry, He cofounded a Huntsville, Ala., start-up company in 1986 called ADTRAN, which designs and produces high-speed data communications products. With Jurenko as vice president of sales and marketing, ADTRAN grew from a company with no sales and a staff of seven to having $250 million in sales and 1,000 employees by 1997. Jurenko retired from ADTRAN that year but still consults and participates on the board of directors of several start-up companies.
Jurenko is a longtime member of the engineering school's Board of Visitors and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the electrical engineering department (now electrical and computer engineering, or ECE) in 1999. He has established numerous endowed funds supporting undergraduate scholarships, a graduate fellowship, a professorship, and an unrestricted facilities fund for ECE. His support created the John A. Jurenko Computer Architecture Laboratory in 1998. He recently funded the creation of John A. Jurenko RFID Electricity and Magnetism Characterization Laboratory, which is one of three testing laboratories in the school's RFID Center of Excellence. In 2004, Jurenko was inducted into Pitt's Cathedral of Learning Society, which recognizes individuals whose lifetime support to Pitt exceeds $1 million.
The 2007 Distinguished Young Alumni Award honors Michael J. Fasolka, director of the Combinatorial Methods Center (NCMC) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and leader of the Combinatorial Methods Group in the Polymers Division of NIST in Gaithersburg, Md. The young alumni award goes to graduates in the early stages of their careers making significant contributions to engineering. Fasolka received his bachelor's degree in materials science and engineering in 1994. He began his research career at Pitt in 1991 as an undergraduate assistant to Anna Balazs, now the Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and Robert von der Luft Professor in Pitt's chemical and petroleum engineering department. Fasolka's career at NCMC began in 2000 with a National Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellowship. For his achievements at NCMC, Fasolka was awarded a U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal in 2005. His current focus is on accelerating the discovery of nanomaterials. His research also earned a Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering in 2004.
The 2007 Student Leadership Award honors Daniel E. Armanios, a senior in the University of Pittsburgh Honors College pursuing political science and mechanical engineering degrees. Armanios was named a 2007 Rhodes Scholar and also made "USA Today's" 2007 All-USA College Academic First Team, a group of 20 academic elite. Daniel was a member of the All-"USA Today" College Academic Second Team in 2006. In addition to these awards, he has also been named a 2005 Truman Scholar and a 2004 Goldwater Scholar. Upon graduation this spring, he plans to attend the University of Oxford in England to study for master's degrees in management research and dryland science and management. His later plans include obtaining a Ph.D. in engineering systems and graduate work in public policy and resource management.
Pitt's chemical and petroleum engineering department will honor Michael Bilirakis, a former congressman and a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Parliamentary Assembly. Bilirakis graduated in 1959 with a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for Florida's ninth congressional district in November 1982 and served for 24 years. He served on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he became chair of the Health Subcommittee. He was also the vice chair of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee and chair of its oversight subcommittee, where he helped secure additional resources for Florida's veterans. As subcommittee chair, Bilirakis was a vocal advocate in the passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. He retired from Congress at the end of 2006. Bilirakis received the Veterans of Foreign Wars Congressional Award for his outstanding service to the nation's veterans.
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will honor Dennis P. Yeskey, senior managing director of national real estate services for Deloitte & Touche, a global consulting firm in New York City. Yeskey earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering in 1972 and 1973, respectively. He joined Deloitte in 1995 as head of Tri-State/New York City real estate services. He was later named national director of real estate capital markets. Yeskey is the author of the Deloitte report, "2006 Real Estate Capital Markets Industry Outlook: Top Ten Issues." His clients have included Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel, Rockefeller Center, and Citibank.
The electrical and computer engineering department will honor Thomas D. Mino, chief executive officer, president, and director of Lumera, Inc., in Bothell, Wash., near Seattle. Mino earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1968. Lumera has developed materials using nanotechnology techniques to improve the design, performance, and functionality of devices used primarily in bioscience, communications, and computing.
The industrial engineering department will honor Aldo Zini, president and CEO of Pittsburgh-based Aethon, Inc. Zini received his bachelor's degree in 1975. Zini leads the nation's largest healthcare robotic company focused on automating delivery and transportation applications within hospitals. Aethon's core product, the Tug, is the first low-cost autonomous robot that is positioned to change the way hospitals and other industries manage the movement and delivery of goods.
The mechanical engineering and materials science department will honor Craig Staresinich, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman Corp. Mission Systems Sector in Fairfax, Va. In 1969, Staresinich received his bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering. After graduating, Staresinich worked at NASA's Johnson Space Center for 14 years. He joined Mission Systems at Northrop in November 2001, where he served as vice president and deputy of programs. He was program manager for Program 072 and the Chandra program, an initiative that provides X-ray images to scientists and astronomers worldwide.
About The University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering
Founded in 1787 as a small, private school, the Pittsburgh Academy was located in a log cabin near Pittsburgh’s three rivers. In the 220 years since, the University has evolved into an internationally recognized center of learning and research.
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