Seven to be Honored at UB’s Annual Alumni Awards Dinner

By Mary Beth Spina

Release Date: March 28, 2001

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A retired, small-town physician who has been an active and generous University at Buffalo alumnus, an internationally known authority on autism and a leader for change in his native Nigeria are among the seven individuals who will be honored on April 20 at the UB Alumni Association's annual awards dinner in celebration of excellence.

The dinner will be held at 6 p.m. in the Center for Tomorrow on the UB North (Amherst) Campus. Tickets are $60 per person. Call 829-2608 for further information or to make reservations before April 6.

The awards will be presented by master of ceremonies Charles Swanekamp, J.D. '79, M.B.A. '80, a member of the UB Alumni Association board and chair of the 2001 awards dinner planning committee. He is a partner with the Buffalo law firm of Jaeckle, Fleischmann & Mugel.

George M. Ellis Jr., M.D. '45, a generous and devoted alumnus of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences for more than half a century, will receive the Samuel P. Capen Award, the alumni association's most prestigious prize.

The award is presented for notable and meritorious contributions to the university and its family.

A retired physician and surgeon, Ellis and his wife, Kelly, who served as his nurse, provided quality and personalized medical care in a small, semi-rural Indiana community.

An active alumnus since graduation, he never missed a class reunion, has often planned special class events and frequently visited campus.

More recently, he established the George M. Ellis Jr. M.D. Endowment Fund for Medicine, as well as charitable remainder unitrusts to benefit the UB medical school.

He also donated a rare, first edition of "De conceptu et generatione hominus," written by Jacob Rueff and published in Zurich in 1554, to mark the University Libraries' acquisition of its three-millionth volume.

Ellis lives in Connersville, Ind.

The Clifford C. Furnas Memorial Award will be presented to Van P. Carey, M.S. '76, Ph.D. '81, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California-Berkeley.

The annual award is presented to a graduate of the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences or within the disciplines of natural sciences and mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences who has distinguished himself or herself in a field of science, bringing honor to the university.

Internationally known as a leader in the field of heat transfer, Carey began working on experimental refrigerants and on heating, ventilation and air-conditioning designs when he worked at Harrison Radiator, soon after he graduated from UB. His industrial work became the basis for his internationally known university research.

Carey's research has led to patents that have impacted the design of many of today's heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

He lives in Albany, Calif.

The Walter P. Cooke

Award will be presented to Paul V. Marrone, retired vice president of Veridian Engineering -- formerly Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory (CAL) -- in Cheektowaga.

The Cooke Award is given to a non-alumnus who has made notable and meritorious contributions that have influenced the university's growth and improvement, and stimulated others to show an active interest in and give material support to UB.

Marrone is recognized for giving his time and expertise to help get funding from the National Science Foundation to bring the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research -- now known as the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research -- to UB.

He joined CAL after receiving an undergraduate degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Note Dame, and graduate degrees from Princeton University and the University of Toronto.

Marrone lives in Snyder.

Four alumni will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards for their exceptional career accomplishments, community or university service, research or scholarly activity.

They represent achievement in a variety of areas, including the arts, the sciences, the professions and community service.

Sandra L. Harris, Ph.D. '69, is an internationally recognized expert on autism.

Her research, which has demonstrated that autistic children can be aided by careful tutoring and behavioral control, has changed the direction of diagnosis and treatment of the condition, affecting the lives of thousands.

Without her work, many autistic youngsters would have been consigned to a state hospital instead of living independent and self-sufficient lives.

She is professor and dean of the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology and director of the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers University.

Harris lives in Piscataway, N.J.

Ihechwukwu C. Madubuike, Ph.D. '73, is a consultant, scholar, educator and politician who has made important contributions to his native Nigeria and to UB.

After graduating, he taught briefly in the UB Department of Black Studies and at The Ohio State University.

In 1977, he returned to Nigeria, where he conducted research, taught African literature and authored several books.

Two years later, he was elected to the Imo State Congress and appointed his country's first post-military minister of education, establishing universities committed to science and technology. After a period of national unrest, he was appointed to the National Constitutional Conference and helped write a new constitution and develop Nigeria's first heath-care plan.

Secretary of UB's alumni association chapter in Nigeria, he lives in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria.

William A. Niese, L.L.B. '61, retired last year as vice president, general counsel and assistant secretary of the Times Mirror Co. and its primary operating unit, The Los Angeles Times.

He is a longtime leader in various organizations in Los Angeles that promote and improve the community. Among them are the American Red Cross; the Puente Learning Center, which teaches people to read and become computer literate; the Pfaffinger Foundation that provides grants to community organizations and the working poor, and Whittier Lutheran Towers, a low-income housing residence.

An active member of the UB Law School Alumni Association, he also is on the executive committee of UB's "The Campaign for UB: Generation to Generation."

Niese lives in Diamond Bar, Calif.

Abbe L. Raven, B.A. '74, who heads the History Channel, is dedicated to the idea that cable programming should be instructive, as well as entertaining.

Raven taught English and drama, and worked behind-the-scenes in off-Broadway and regional theater in New York City before launching her career in cable television as a "temp" at the forerunner of Lifetime Network.

She helped launch and became a vice president of A&E, the Arts and Entertainment Network, and later, its History Channel.

Influenced partly by her father's experiences in World War II, Raven incorporated a style and substance into the History Channel's programming that allows viewers to experience history and not just watch it.

She lives in Scarsdale, N.Y.