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The Alumni Circle of Excellence Award is the highest honor bestowed upon CLAS alumni. It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated sustained excellence and leadership in their field.
2010 Award Winners
Ricky Arnold graduated from FSU in 1985 with an accounting degree and returned in 1988 to earn his teacher certification. While not an actual graduate of any of the CLAS programs, Ricky became interested in the sciences during his time at FSU while taking biology classes. This led him to earn a master’s degree in Marine and Estuarine Science through the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. He subsequently worked as a marine scientist on an oceanographic vessel and taught science and math in Waldorf, Md., Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Romania.
Arnold learned that NASA was seeking teachers with a science and math background to become part of its astronaut corps, and he was selected in 2004. After completing NASA’s two-year astronaut candidate training program, he became a mission specialist, a dream that began when he was a boy following the Apollo missions.
Arnold was part of STS-119 in March 2009, when the Space Shuttle Discovery delivered and the crew installed critical final pieces of the International Space Station. On that mission, Arnold performed two of the three spacewalks.
In 2007, Arnold was also part of NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission), a training and research mission aboard the underwater habitat Aquarius. The “aquanaut” mission simulated the level of gravity on the moon, but it was also a “dream come true” for the former marine scientist.
2009 Award Winners
Ron Forrester, History
Ron Forrester is currently a Senior Military Analyst for Science Applications International Corporation supporting the Director for Operations, U.S. Joint Staff, Department of Defense, in the Pentagon. He spent 26 years in the United States Air Force as a missile and space operator, had two tours as a detachment and squadron commander and retired in the grade of Colonel in 1993 while serving in the Pentagon. Ron graduated in 1967 from FSU, Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with a History major and a Psychology minor. In 1976, he earned a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma. As a student, he was a Freshman Senator, Vice President of the Sophomore Class, Alpha Delta Chi Fraternity Founding Father/Secretary, and President of the Student Union his senior year. He also received the History Departmental Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement his senior year. Currently, Ron serves as the President of the FSU Alumni Association and is a strong financial supporter of the FSU Annual Fund and the FSU Foundation.
2008 Award Winners
Mary Clapsaddle, Geography and Sociology
Mary is a 1983 magna cum laude graduate of FSU with a B.A. in Geography and Sociology. She earned her Master of Regional Planning from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She began her career as Assistant to the County Manager of Chatham, North Carolina. She later served as Research Associate for the National Association of Counties in Washington, DC. Mary then began her career in Maryland, first with the Department of Legislative Services in the Maryland General Assembly, then as Director of Policy Development with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. In 2002, she was appointed Assistant State Superintendent for Business Services with the Maryland State Department of Education. She currently serves as Legislative Manager for the Maryland Department of Legislative Services in Annapolis.
Daniel P. Hunt, M.D., Mathematics
Dan is 1977 summa cum laude graduate of Frostburg State College with a B.S. in Mathematics. He received his M.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and his postdoctoral training was in the area of internal medicine.
Dan is a clinician-educator, with expertise and considerable experience in the care of patients, but with emphasis on education. He began his career in Houston, Texas where he successfully practiced medicine at the Texas Medical Center for 11 years while also serving as a part-time clinical faculty member with the Baylor College of Medicine. He then joined the full-time faculty at Baylor where he was eventually promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. While at Baylor, he served in consulting and attending physician positions at a number of hospitals in the Houston area. In 2005, he joined the faculty of Harvard University as Associate Professor of Medicine. He is also Director of Inpatient Clinician Educator Services in the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Shirley Giarritta, Art Education
Shirley earned her Bachelor of Arts in art education from Frostburg State University in 1970. She received a Master of Arts in painting and sculpture from James Madison University. Shirley began her career teaching art and supervising the arts program for Frederick County Public Schools in Winchester, VA. She then taught art at Allegany College of Maryland. From 1972 to 1977, she served as co-owner of The Art Shop in Winchester, VA and Cumberland, MD. She is currently the owner and manager of Connoisseur Interiors and Gallery in Cumberland.
Shirley has been instrumental to the growth of the arts community in Cumberland. She was a founding member of the Cumberland Theatre Board of Trustees and was honored with the renaming of their auditorium as "The Nick and Shirley Giarritta Playhouse." Shirley was appointed to serve on the Maryland State Arts Council for three terms and previously served as president. She was awarded the Maryland Medici Award for "Outstanding Individual Support of the Arts" by former Maryland Governor Schaefer, Maryland State Arts Council and the Maryland Citizens for the Arts.
Her many community service activities include membership in the Downtown Cumberland Business Association, Allegany Art Alliance, and Allegany Arts Council. She has served on the Cumberland Cultural Foundation Board of Trustees and as Chair of the Artistic Committee.
Richard Whelan, Political Science
Rick graduated from FSU in 1979 with a B.S. in Political Science. After moving up the ranks of the company, he now serves as President of Marketing General, Inc., a diversified direct marketing solutions agency located in Alexandria, VA.As president, he oversees a company of 60 marketing specialists who together have the day-to-day responsibility for the strategic marketing and creative needs of 45 organizations in 11 states and the District of Columbia.
Prior to joining Marketing General 21 years ago, his experience included service with a general advertising agency and as an account executive for a full-service graphics art studio and production house. He has also worked closely with dozens of associations in the educational, public service, and health care fields. He is a frequent speaker and author on association membership and marketing topics.
Tony Zook, Biology
Tony is a 1982 graduate of FSU where he earned a B.A. in Biology. While at FSU, he was active on the varsity baseball team. He also holds an associate's degree in chemical engineering from Penn State University.
Tony began his career in the pharmaceutical industry at Berlex Laboratories, where he held various positions, including district sales manager; marketing director; vice president, national accounts; and then vice president, sales. He joined Astra USA in 1997 as vice president, marketing and sales, and became vice president, sales in 1998. He then became Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, AstraZeneca US, responsible for leading the company's marketing and sales organizations. He now serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of AstraZeneca LP, directing the company's largest market, the United States.
Tony is a member of the Board for the Pennsylvania Division of the American Cancer Society and is Chairman of the Executive Council for the National Pharmaceutical Council.
2007 Award Winners
Krista McGowan, Political Science
Krista is a 1982 summa cum laude graduate of FSU with a B.S. in political science. She earned her J.D. from Ohio State University in 1985.
Krista is now an attorney with Miles and Stockbridge, one of the largest real estate and development firms in Frederick. She represents commercial and residential real estate developers, appearing before various city and county commissions on behalf of clients. Projects with which Krista is currently involved include Frederick Airport Park, Brunswick Crossing (a residential development and commercial office/research center) in the City of Brunswick, and the Villages of Urbana and Lake Linganore residential developments. planned giving program.
Barry Phillips, Chemistry
Barry is a 1969 FSU graduate with a B.S. degree in chemistry. Following his graduation from FSU, he earned a doctorate in organic chemistry from WVU. In 1977, Barry joined Bayer Corporation as a senior chemist in the Polyurethane Research Department. Today, he is Head of Site Management Americas for Bayer Material Science, LLC in Pittsburgh, PA. He holds several patents and has authored numerous technical papers.
John Pipino, History
John is a 1981 graduate of FSU with a B.S. in History. He began his career as communications director for a Silicon Valley startup. He now serves as Director of Technology Strategy for Doblin, Inc. in Chicago. Doblin is a management consulting firm with clients that have included Alama Rent-A-Car, Citigroup, and MasterCard.
John was featured in the cover story for the March 20, 2006 edition of Business Week magazine, being quoted on how to create an innovative culture as your company grows.