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Member News – NJIT’s Celebration 2017 Recognizes Six Honorees, Including Four Alumni
November 30th, 2017


Celebration 2017, the annual fundraiser for campuswide scholarship endowment funds at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), was held Nov. 10, 2017 at the Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange. Since its inception in 1995, Celebration has raised nearly $6 million in endowed scholarship funds, ensuring that top-quality higher education is accessible to talented, motivated students.

“The event, a festive evening of dinner and dancing, traditionally attracts approximately 300 attendees including senior executives, outstanding alumni and friends of the university,” said Jacquelynn Rhodes, associate vice president for development at NJIT. “Along with raising funds, Celebration also is an occasion to recognize important friends and graduates of the university.”

Six honorees, including four alumni, were recognized this year.

The President’s Medal for Lifetime Achievement was awarded to The Honorable Paul A. Sarlo ’92, the Deputy Majority Leader of the New Jersey Senate. He serves as chairman of the Budget and Appropriations Committee and is a member of the Judiciary Committee, the Higher Education Committee, the Joint Budget Oversight Committee, and the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee. A licensed professional engineer, licensed professional planner and a certified municipal engineer, Sarlo holds bachelor of science and master of science degrees in civil engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology, where he was a Division III All-American in baseball. He presently works as the chief operating officer of Joseph M. Sanzari Heavy Construction Inc., where he has been employed since 1998.

Raymond A. Cassetta ’70 received the Edward F. Weston Medal for Professional Achievement by an Alumnus, given to an alumnus in recognition of outstanding professional and civic accomplishments, as well as support of the university. Currently, Cassetta is Chair of the Martin Tuchman School of Management Board of Advisors, serves as a member of the university’s Academic Affairs and Research Committee, and is an alumni representative on the University Senate. He is the founder of the Martin Tuchman School of Management’s Strategic Management Showcase, which provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their business expertise in a real- time simulated environment and is the benefactor of the Ray Cassetta Financial Analysis Lab Bloomberg Terminals at the Martin Tuchman School of Management.

The University Award for Entrepreneurial Leadership was presented to Brian G. Kiernan ’70, the retired vice president and chief scientist of InterDigital Communications, LLC. After retiring from InterDigital, Kiernan has put his extensive technical and managerial talents to work, serving as Chair of the Albert Dorman Honors College Interdisciplinary Design Studio program which later morphed into the NJIT Undergraduate Research and Innovation (URI) Program. In this capacity, Kiernan, in conjunction with the other URI Board members, evaluates and guides numerous student projects, several of which developed into actual student companies. As an active Angel Investor, Kiernan has invested in some of these student companies and continues to guide them as they develop. He is also an active member of the NJIT Highlander Angel Network, where he has invested in several NJIT-related companies.

James F. Stevenson, who was a Corporate Fellow at Honeywell International from 1996 until his retirement in March 2011, received the Special Friend of the University Award. During his retirement, Dr. Stevenson helped to organize and funded the TechQuest competition which, now in its fifth year, has awarded seven innovation/prototype prizes and fellowships to NJIT undergraduates. He was also instrumental in setting up Innovation Day, which celebrates the numerous technical awards won by NJIT undergraduates and hosts electronic presentations of their many innovative projects. Dr. Stevenson and his wife, Steffi, support endowed undergraduate scholarships for NJIT students from Irvington and Newark high schools.

Edward J. Schmeltz ’71, Senior Vice President and Practice Leader, Engineering at AECOM, received the Lifetime Alumni Leadership Award. Schmeltz is one of the foremost marine civil engineers in the nation as well as a senior executive at the largest transportation engineering company in the U.S. He has more than 45 years of experience in coastal engineering, the planning and design of ports, harbors and marine facilities, as well as breakwaters and other coastal structures. During his years at AECOM, he has been responsible for the design of some of the world’s major marine projects, such as the Pier 400 Development at the Port of Los Angeles, one of the largest landfill projects ever undertaken in the United States. He was also involved in the design for the Breakwater Reconstruction at the Port of Sines in Portugal, and most recently was involved in the development of a $9.5 billion greenfield port development in Doha, Qatar.

Gourmet Dining Services, LLC received the Outstanding Corporate Partner Award.

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