Daemen Honors Distinguished Alumni

By | October 26, 2018
Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients 2018

(L-R) Rafael Genao, Faustino “Chuck” Rodriguez (accepting on behalf of Carmen Ramos Rodriguez), MaryEllen Swartzenberg Elia, Dr. Adair White-Johnson, Annie Stoll, and Dr. Margaret Sullivan Hopson.

Daemen College honored the accomplishments of six outstanding graduates at the college’s 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner held on Oc. 26.

“We are proud to recognize this year’s impressive group of honorees and to acknowledge their contributions to their professions, communities, and to our college,” said Daemen President Gary Olson. “Their achievements and leadership truly exemplify the highest standards of Daemen excellence. Congratulations to all our award winners.”

At the awards celebration, Olson presented the Distinguished Alumna Award, the highest honor bestowed to a graduate, to Dr. Adair White-Johnson ’86 of Powder Springs, Ga. The award recognizes a graduate who has achieved distinction in their career and in the community and has shown outstanding dedication to the college.

White-Johnson is a best-selling author and leading authority on motivating and inspiring others to make positive changes in their lives to overcome life’s challenges. She created The Empowerment House, where she coaches teens and women to become more resilient through life changes, and she also developed an empowerment and resiliency curriculum for teens.

Other 2018 awardees, who were selected by the National Alumni Board of Governors, include:

  • Distingjuished Alumna Award 2018

    Jacki Rizzo, chair of the National Alumni Board of Governors; Dr. Adair-White Johnson, Distinguished Alumna Award recipient;
    and Daemen President Gary Olson.

    Advancement in Career – MaryEllen Swartzenberg Elia ’70 of Albany, New York State education commissioner and president of the University of the State of New York.

  • Dedication to the College – Rafael Genao ’02 of Lynchburg, Va., founder of the MEND Global Foundation and co-founder of Daemen’s Students Without Borders organization.
  • Service to the Community – Carmen Ramos Rodriguez ’71 (posthumously), former executive director of La Casa de Puerto Rico and a strong advocate for the Puerto Rican communities in Buffalo and Hartford, Conn.
  • Service to the Community – Dr. Margaret Sullivan Hopson of Flagstaff, Ariz., ‘82, an orthopedic clinical specialist and owner of High Desert Physical Therapy.
  • Graduate of the Last Decade – Annie B. Stoll ’08 of New York City, art director at SONY Music Entertainment.

Past Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, family, friends, and members of the college community joined in the celebration for this year’s award honorees.