Honoring alumni excellence

By Megan Bradshaw & Kyle Hobstetter on May 31, 2018

The Celebration of Excellence comes to a close with the 2018 Distinguished Alumni and Deans’ Recognition Awards Banquet

2018 Distinguished Alumni and Deans’ Recognition Awards Banquet
Recipients of the Distinguished Alumni and Deans’ Recognition Awards pose with Towson University President Kim Schatzel, and Anthony Hamlett, president of the TU Alumni Association. 

The 2018 Towson University Distinguished Alumni Award recipients couldn’t be more different.

Patrick McAvinue, ’11 is one of the most dynamic fiddle players in the music industry. Michael C. Ford ’80 is responsible for developing and executing Boeing’s global strategy on diversity and inclusion. 

One of the few things they have in common is their TU roots. On Thursday, May 24, both were honored during the 2018 Distinguished Alumni and Deans’ Recognition Awards Banquet at the University Union’s Chesapeake Rooms.

McAvinue received this year’s Distinguished Young Alumni Award. After graduating in 2011 with a B.M. degree in jazz performance, the Hereford, Maryland, native went on to win the 2017 International Bluegrass Music Association Fiddler of the Year award. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Grand Ole Opry, and all over the world.

Ford received the Distinguished Alumni Award. The Baltimore native earned his B.S.  degree magna cum laude in Geography. He currently serves as vice president of global diversity and inclusion for the Boeing Company.

Along with the Distinguished Alumni awards, TU honored six alumni with the Deans’ Recognition Awards, each representing one of TU’s colleges. This year’s honorees are:

  • Alla R. Kashlinskaya ’96, College of Business and Economics
    Kashlinskaya earned her B.S. degree in accounting, graduating summa cum laude. She is a director with KPMG LLP. 

  • Karen Blair ’74, College of Education
    Blair had spent 42 years at Towson University, serving in 11 positions across four decades, including assistant dean of the College of Education and director of the Master of Education in reading education program. 

  • Judith Dolan ’70, College of Fine Arts and Communication 
    Dolan received her B.A. degree in art. She has designed costumes for several of director Harold Prince’s productions, including “Candide,” for with she received a 1997 Tony Award.

  • Rear Adm. Susan Orsega ’90, College of Health Professions
    As chief nurse officer, Rear Adm. Orsega leads the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service Nurse Professional Affairs. She advises the Office of the Surgeon General and the Department of Health and Human Services.

  • Ray Brusca ’80, College of Liberal Arts
    Brusca is the chief human resources officer at Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd., a $6 billion global manufacturer of power tools, hand tools, outdoor equipment and floor-care products.

  • Georgeine Smith ’86, Fisher College of Science and Mathematics
    Smith is a surgical physician assistant at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, repeatedly named one of the top 10 hospitals (U.S. News & World Report).

The Distinguished Alumni and Deans’ Recognition Awards Banquet was the final event in the university’s Celebration of Excellence. The Celebration of Excellence series took place over the final two months of the academic term and is celebrated the success and outstanding accomplishments of TU faculty, staff, students and alumni.

TU kicked off its annual Celebration of Excellence with the ninth-annual environmental conference on April 4 at the University Union. Seventeen-year-old Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, an indigenous climate activist and hip-hop artist, delivered the keynote address.

On April 16, TU held the BTU Partnership Awards at the South Campus Pavilion. Over 100 community partners and their on-campus colleagues gathered to celebrate the achievements of these partnerships in the greater Baltimore area.

The celebration continued on April 18 with the Research and Creative Inquiry Forum, which allows undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines to present their research and creative activities at the university’s annual celebration of student scholarship.

The Senior Colleagues’ Reception was held eight days later in the Minnegan Room, followed by the Student Affairs Leadership Award Ceremony on May 1.

The Student Affairs Leadership Awards honor outstanding students, faculty, staff and more than 200 organizations that promote the spirit of active campus participation. This includes those who excelled in student government, community service, student employment, student leadership and more.

Remarks from Honors College Rector and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Terry Cooney, Provost and Executive Vice President Timothy J.L. Chandler, and gymnast and double major Lauren Cahalan ’18 highlighted the Honors Convocation on May 6. Michelle Weber Laird ’03 was recognized as the Alumna of the Year for her contributions to the field of medical research.

Just one day later, the Department of Athletics gathered to celebrate the achievements of the 2017–18 year at the Golden Paws Athletic Banquet at SECU Arena. Individual and team achievements on the field and in the classroom were showcased through a series of awards.

TU hosted its 49th-annual Service Award Celebration at SECU Arena, honoring current employees with five to 45 years of service. The longest-serving employee recognized was accounting professor Barry Buchoff who arrived on campus in 1972.

The Celebration of Excellence’s penultimate event was the May 11 Foundation Scholars Luncheon, which brings together donors, faculty and staff with the hundreds of scholarship and financial aid recipients they’ve helped toward a college education.