University at Buffalo - Reaching Others.

Alumni Association Achievement Awards

UBAA Awards


The UB Alumni Association achievement awards recognize individuals who bring distinction to themselves and to UB through their outstanding professional and personal achievement, loyal service to UB, and exemplary service to their communities.

Alumni Association Achievement Awards will take place Thursday, May 5, 2016 in the Center for Tomorrow. The deadline to submit nominations is September 16, 2015.

Do you know individuals who deserve to be recognized? Submit a nomination now.

Click here for a description of the awards and nomination criteria.

For questions, please call the Office of Alumni Engagement at 716-645-3312 or 800-284-5382.


2015 Honorees

Samuel P. Capen Award

Steven Guttenberg


Steven A. Guttenberg, DDS ’69, BA ’65, Psychology
Washington, DC

Steven A. Guttenberg is a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Washington, DC. He is founder and president of the Washington Institute for Mouth, Face and Jaw Surgery. He and his wife, Diana Winters Guttenberg, made a pledge to the UB School of Dental Medicine, its largest bequest to date. The school’s speaker at its 2014 commencement, Guttenberg is a past recipient of the District of Columbia Dental Society’s highest honor, the Sterling V. Mead Award. He is a senior attending surgeon and teaching staff member at the Washington Hospital Center, where he chairs its training and education committee. He also is a fellow of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery and past president of the American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.


Community Leadership Award

Alfred Caffiero


Alfred Caffiero
Williamsville, NY

A cofounder of Western New York Physical and Occupational Therapy, Alfred Caffiero has had a distinguished career as one of the most prominent physical therapists in this area. In all his work, he has displayed a caring attitude, altruism, creativity, clinical insight, dedication to the profession and an inspiring degree of optimism. With his incredible knowledge base and skillset, he previously taught orthopedics to UB students along with medical school faculty members. In the early 1990s, Caffiero was diagnosed with ALS—a progressive, neurodegenerative condition commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He has inspired many while battling ALS for over 20 years. In 2001, he helped create a scholarship for physical therapy doctoral (DPT) students, awarded so far to 25 students. He also established and funds the DPT white coat ceremony held prior to students’ first clinical internships. Caffiero has dedicated his life to improving treatment and education in the physical therapy field, and has touched thousands through his work as a healer, teacher and friend.

Walter P. Cooke Award

Stephanie Mucha


Stephanie T. Mucha
Buffalo, NY

Stephanie Mucha worked over four decades as a licensed practical nurse at the Buffalo Veterans Administration Hospital, where she witnessed William Chardack, MD, and Wilson Greatbatch demonstrating the first implantable pacemaker. Mucha and her husband, Joseph, later bought shares in Medtronic, the company licensed in 1961 to manufacture the device. The couple lived near UB’s south campus neighborhood and often met students during evening walks. Childless, they agreed to someday provide scholarship support to UB students. After Joseph died, Stephanie, a self-taught investor, carried out their plan, contributing significantly to the university and several of its schools: dental medicine, engineering, medicine, nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences. Mucha is one of 100 people awarded a Purple Heart for Humanitarian Service for caring for American’s veterans of war.

Distinguished Alumni Award

Arthur Goshin


Arthur Goshin, MD ’70, BS ’66, Biology
Santa Fe, NM

Arthur Goshin was the founder/president/CEO of Univera Healthcare for 27 years before his retirement in 2003, building the program to serve over 500,000 members statewide. Since then, he has devoted himself to three pathways of involvement: global philanthropy, academic initiatives and community service. Using his own resources, he has developed a unique form of global philanthropy through his own HealthyWorld Foundation, creating and funding a series of innovative health projects in Uganda and India. A clinical professor in the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions, he created the Office of Global Health Initiatives and provided the largest grant the school has received to advance global learning and related efforts. Goshin also is adjunct professor of oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He was a founder of the Health Foundation of Western and Central New York, which focuses on assisting frail elderly and children of poverty, funded with $100 million via his previous company and its successor. Goshin serves as an active trustee of the well-regarded global organization Freedom from Hunger, involved in cutting edge solutions in many of the world's poorest locations. He is board chair of MJHS, the largest not-for-profit health organization in NYC serving the frail and vulnerable elderly. Goshin writes a book of poetry each year and is working on his ninth.

Distinguished Alumni Award

Rebecca McCormick-Boyle


Rear Adm. Rebecca McCormick-Boyle, BS ’81, Nursing
Fort Sam Houston, TX

Rear Adm. Rebecca McCormick-Boyle, a native of Griffins Mills, N.Y., was commissioned in 1981 and reported to Naval Hospital, Orlando, Fla., to work as a surgical and critical care nurse. She went on to serve in nursing posts of increasing responsibility at several locations: the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.; Naval Hospital, Okinawa, Japan; Naval Hospital Camp in Lejeune, N.C.; and Naval Health Clinic Great Lakes and Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River. Along the way, she completed a master of science degree in human resource management systems and earned a master of health administration degree.

At the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, she served as assistant deputy chief for medical operations, then chief of staff. She was promoted to rear admiral lower half in 2012 and to rear admiral upper half in 2014. In June 2014, Rear Adm. McCormick-Boyle became deputy chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine, Education and Training, and commander, Navy Medicine Education and Training Command. Additionally, she assumed the role as director, Navy Nurse Corps, in August 2013.

Distinguished Alumni Award

Paul Nussbaum


Paul Nussbaum, BA ’67, Political Science
Bonita Springs, FL

Paul Nussbaum is founder and chair of Waramaug Hospitality, a private real estate firm that specializes in the acquisition of hotels and resorts. He is chairman emeritus of Wyndham International, successor to Patriot American Hospitality, for which Nussbaum was founder, chair and CEO. Nussbaum took Patriot American Hospitality from owning one hotel in 1992 to becoming the fourth largest hospitality company in the United States, with $7 billion in total capitalization. After graduating from UB, Nussbaum earned a JD degree from Georgetown University Law School and practiced law for 20 years, becoming the head of the real estate department of Schulte Roth and Zabel in New York. He has served on numerous corporate, academic and charitable boards, including the UB College of Arts and Sciences dean’s advisory council, which he presently chairs.

International Distinguished Alumni Award

Alejandro Rivera


Alejandro Rivera Becerra, PhD ’01, ME ’98, MS ’93, Engineering
Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico

Alejandro Rivera Becerra is a distinguished diplomat for Mexico and the holder of three UB graduate degrees in industrial and environmental engineering. With a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico, he became interested in environmental protection after working in the automobile manufacturing industry, and seeing its environmental impact along the Mexico-U.S. border. Determined to use his education to help his home country, Rivera Becerra earned an additional master’s degree in diplomatic relations at the Mexican Diplomatic Academy and passed foreign service exams to join Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2000. He served as deputy and acting consul general at his country’s consulate in Guangzhou, China, and as trade and cooperation officer at the Embassy of Mexico in Ecuador. From 2011 to 2013, he was Mexico’s negotiator for the Minamata Convention on Mercury. For the past two years, he has been Mexico’s chief negotiator for a new agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Clifford C. Furnas Memorial Award

Venkat Panchapakesan


Venkat Panchapakesan, MS ’90, Electrical Engineering
Saratoga, CA

Venkat Panchapakesan seems to bring tremendous growth to every company he joins. Eight years after earning his UB degree, he joined Yahoo!, then a small company of just 200 employees. During his 12 years there, that figure grew to 14,000 employees, and Yahoo’s revenue ballooned from $208 million to $7.8 billion. Holder of many internet-related patents, Panchapakesan, as vice president of engineering at Google, oversaw the technology behind applications like Gmail, Drive and Calendar. This past June, Panchapakesan was named head of engineering at YouTube, a Google Company since 2006. There he oversees technology powering the site for its billion users. A member of the School of Engineering dean’s advisory council, Panchapakesan gives his time and philanthropy to the school, working to form bonds between the university and the industry at large. He has advocated for UB strengthening its relationships with India and Bay area alumni.

Richard T. Sarkin Award for Excellence in Teaching

Dale Fish


Dale Fish, PhD ’82, Anatomical Sciences
Fairport, NY

Dale Fish retired in January, concluding a 40-year career at UB, most recently as the senior associate dean for academic and student affairs in the School of Public Health and Health Professions, and associate professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science. More than 5,000 students in three programs—physical therapy, occupational therapy and exercise science—were fortunate to have Fish as their professor for the intensive Gross Human Anatomy course, which he taught for three decades. The recipient of numerous awards, Fish is most lauded by colleagues for his ability to connect with students in the classroom. One colleague remarked “Many academicians focus on scholarship, neglecting teaching and service. Fish has gone against the grain for much of his career, striving for excellence in teaching and service, while also pursuing scholarship.”

George W. Thorn Award

Mark Travers


Mark Travers, PhD ’08, MS ’05, Epidemiology/Public Health
Hamburg, NY

A research professor in the School of Public Health, Travers’ work to reveal the dangers of secondhand smoke has helped people throughout the world literally breathe easier. He has studied the effects of exposure to smoke pollution and evaluated the results of smoke-free air policies. He has conducted the largest study of tobacco smoke pollution in the hospitality industry and his results have been featured in national debates. He and his colleagues at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, where Travers is an assistant professor, are now conducting a global air monitoring effort, measuring exposure to tobacco smoke pollution in more than 40 countries. Travers has trained these and other researchers who have conducted analyses in 65-plus countries. More than 1,000 news media venues have covered the work of Travers, whose findings have been published extensively in scientific literature around the world.

Philip B. Wels Outstanding Service Award

Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council

Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council

This group has devoted countless hours to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, offering invaluable advice, leadership and financial support over two decades. Then-Dean Mark Karwan formed the voluntary committee in 1996, charging members to help the school achieve preeminence in a multitude of areas. The university recognizes the engineering dean’s advisory council as a model advisory group. With two dozen-plus members, the group has led UB Engineering through transitions, depressions and victories, while also helping to steer the success of university events, including the UB Scholarship Gala, homecoming, commencement and the engineering scholarship reception. The group has led and helped fund several initiatives including the successful campaign for the school’s newest building, Davis Hall. Several of the members through the years rank among the school’s greatest philanthropic supporters. The wisdom and guidance of these industry professionals has been invaluable to the school and to generations of students.