Press Release for Friday, February 26, 2010

UNF Alumni Association Recognizes Exceptional Alums

Joanna Norris, Assistant Director

Department of Media Relations and Events

(904) 620-2102


The University of North Florida Alumni Association will recognize several exceptional alums for their exemplary service and contributions to UNF during the 15th Annual Alumni Recognition Dinner at 6 p.m. tonight at the University Center on campus. 


The Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award will be presented to Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Todd Haley. The Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award is the highest award given to a UNF graduate by the Alumni Association and recognizes alumni who have made a significant contribution to his or her profession, community and/or society, having consistently maintained the pursuit of excellence as a representative and graduate of the University.


“I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the University of North Florida,” said Haley, who will accept tonight’s honor in absentia due to the NFL Scouting Combine. “I am truly humbled to receive UNF’s Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. I hold my education from UNF in very high regard, and I would be proud if any or all of my children decided to follow in my footsteps someday.” 


Entering his 16th season in the National Football League, Haley embarks on his second season with the Chiefs in 2010. Under his direction in 2009, Kansas City improved in 30 different key statistical categories compared to 2008. The Chiefs offense led the NFL in Red Zone scoring efficiency (89.5 percent) in 2009, while the club ranked eighth in terms of fewest penalties (84). After ranking 31st in three-and-out percentage on defense in 2008, Haley’s squad ranked eighth in that category in 2009. The Chiefs also ranked 12th in the comprehensive special teams rankings compiled by the DallasMorning Newsin 2009 after coming in 29th just one year earlier. Only three teams made bigger gains in those special teams’ rankings than the Chiefs.


Prior to his arrival in Kansas City, Haley won division titles as an assistant coach in each of his four previous coaching stops with the N.Y. Jets, Chicago, Dallas and Arizona. As Arizona’s offensive coordinator in 2008, the Cardinals high-powered offense helped lead the club to its first league title game since ’47 as the franchise earned a berth in Super Bowl XLIII.


The 2010 Honorary Almuni Awards will also be presented during the recognition dinner. This year’s recipients include Adm. Jonathan T. Howe, Irene J. Lazzara, Jim Milligan, Susan Ryzewic and A. Hugh Greene.


Howe graduated with distinction from the US Naval Academy in 1957, and after a highly successful and decorated naval career, retired in June 1992. He became the executive director of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations in 1995. For more than seven years he has served on the UNF Foundation Board Investment Committee and has been instrumental in the development and growth of the Foundation endowment, enabling UNF to provide scholarships and fellowships to many deserving students.


Lazzara has been an active member of the UNF Foundation Board since 2001. She is a former chair of the Advancement Committee and Committee on Directors and is currently an Executive Committee member. Because of the generosity of the Lazzara family, UNF completed a successful campaign to furnish and equip the Fine Arts Center. In addition to their capital gift, Irene and her husband, Gasper, established a scholarship endowment for Music and Visual Arts students at UNF. There are currently seven Lazzara Scholars enrolled. She continues to give generously to UNF providing both annual support and by expanding her scholarship endowments.


Milligan has made a significant commitment to UNF through a wide range of volunteer activities, service in leadership positions, philanthropic giving and strong commitment as an ambassador of the University. He has served as a member of the Foundation Board for 19 years and still is an active member. His passion and philanthropic role while serving as a UNF advocate is compelling; Milligan was instrumental in securing a $500,000 corporate gift to the University from ALLTEL.


Ryzewic embodies all the characteristics of a devoted UNF alumna. She currently serves as the president of the UNF Foundation Board, which is one of the most time demanding and highly visible positions in which a volunteer can serve. Ryzewic established the Remmer Ryzewic Family Fund Endowed Scholarship, providing need-based scholarship funding for Duval County high school graduates through the Jacksonville Commitment program. Her endowment will enable bright but financially disadvantaged students in our community to pursue a college degree at UNF.


Greene is the president and chief executive officer of Baptist Health. He has demonstrated his commitment to UNF for more than 15 years through not only his financial support, but also his shared wisdom from both the clinical and business sides of his esteemed career. He has established himself at UNF as a revered adjunct clinical professor by giving many classroom presentations in which he shared valuable real-world scenarios about management and leadership in health care. Greene has been a tireless champion of the School of Nursing and was the major convener of the hospital CEO group that agreed to fund the School for $1 million. This leadership allowed us to expand the size of our now thriving nursing program. 


Additional awards to be presented are the Young Alumni Award and Outstanding Alumni Awards. UNF graduate Kara Tucker will receive the Young Alumni Award, while six alums will receive the Outstanding Alumni Awards. The recipients are as follows:

Brooks College of Health: Donna Jones

Coggin College of Business: Anna Brosche

College of Arts & Sciences: Jason Burnett

College of Computing, Engineering and Construction: Earl Shimp

College of Education and Human Services: Joni Shook

Thomas G. Carpenter Library: Jennifer Jones