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Alumni Association

Alumni Recognition Award Recipients

Congratulations to all of our previous award recipients.
  • 2022 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award - Ed Jones

    Mr. Edward Jones is the President and Chief Executive Officer for Houston Methodist Research Institute (HMRI) located within the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas. HMRI is the flagship research enterprise for Houston Methodist. HMRI achieved the status of a top 20 independent research institute within the first decade of operations. Mr. Jones is the senior executive responsible for the execution of HMRI’s biomedical research strategy with a particular focus on governance, finance, compliance, and facilities. HMRI is complemented by the Houston Methodist Education Institute (HMEI) which serves as the organization’s broader educational enterprise overseeing Graduate Medical Education, Continuing Medical Education, Medical School Partnerships, and Academic Affiliations. HMEI oversees over 50 GME programs, nearly 400 medical residents and fellows, and provides a context for 30,000 trainee experiences at Houston Methodist annually. Mr. Jones also serves as the Chief Business Officer of the Houston Methodist Academic Institute, which provides executive and governance oversight for both Houston Methodist Research Institute and Houston Methodist Education Institute. 

    Mr. Jones joined HMRI in January 2005 as the founding administrative executive of the organization. From its inception, Mr. Jones nurtured HMRI into a full spectrum world-class biomedical research institute within the highly competitive Texas Medical Center to support the academic mission of Houston Methodist Hospital. The formation of HMRI required the de-novo development of all policies and procedures, recruitment of scientific faculty, establishment of all regulatory committees (IRB, IACUC, IBC, HSC, etc.), development of core facilities, including a robust comparative medicine program, implementation of a faculty appointment & promotion process, establishment of a Phase I clinical research unit, and clinical integration efforts to support clinical trials and translational research projects. Within 5 years, Mr. Jones created a scalable, flexible administrative infrastructure to support the extraordinary growth of HMRI, which achieved the rank of a top 20 domestic hospital-based research institute, as measured by NIH funding. Mr. Jones was also responsible for the design, budget, opening, and daily operations of the Institute’s marquis 12-story 440,000 square foot state-of- the-art translational research building, which was featured in Architectural Record magazine in August, 2011. As President and CEO, his current efforts are focused on developing a culture of rigorous and reproducible science, finding a sustainable financial model for translational research, further integration of laboratory science with the clinical enterprise, and migration of clinical research from an academic medical center into a community practice/hospital setting while maintaining the highest ethical and regulatory standards. 

    Prior to joining HMRI, Mr. Jones brought more than 10 years of academic biomedical research experience including as the Administrative Director and Clinical Trial Core Administrator for the multi-state, multi-site operations of the Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children and Nemours Children's Clinic. Mr. Jones holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of North Florida. In addition, Mr. Jones has continued his graduate studies at Rice University and the Wharton School of Business.  

    Mr. Jones is a member of the Medstar Health Research Institute (MHRI) Board of Directors in Washington, DC and serves as the Chair of MHRI’s Regulatory and Research Integrity Oversight Committee. Mr. Jones also serves a member of the External Advisory Board for the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) Institute for Translational Sciences.

  • 2022 Alumni Service Award - Vanessa Fleury

    Vanessa is a 10 year experienced nonprofit professional. Her professional years of service started as a 2-year Americorps member where she was awarded the City of Miami Mayor’s Service Award. She is a graduate of the University of North Florida receiving her Bachelor of Science in Communication and her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

    Vanessa is the Development manager at Genspace, NYC's first community biology lab where she leads fundraising plans and strategies and manages the organization's internal and external communications. Vanessa is also the Founder and Director of Carl's Village, Inc., a nonprofit agency providing tutoring and after school support programs for school children in the region of Grand-Goâve, Haiti, created in honor of her late grandfather. She strives to inspire a new generation of forward thinking and conscious individuals. She lives by the quote:  “I'm not saying I'm going to change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.”- Tupac Shakur

  • 2022 Young Alumni Achievement Award - Sichao Ni
    Sichao Ni is an American commercial diplomat and represents the United States at the nexus of international business and international relations. Prior to his appointment to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Mr. Ni served as a member of the United States Foreign Service with the U.S. Department of State posted in Guangzhou, China. Preceding his government career, Mr. Ni spent seven years in the medical technology industry holding various commercial and regulatory roles within Medtronic. He has worked and studied across four continents in seven countries. Mr. Ni earned his MBA and dual BBAs in economics and international business from the University of North Florida with dual minors in finance and public administration, an MA in international relations from American University with a concentration in U.S. foreign policy and national security. Mr. Ni is fluent in English, Mandarin Chinese, Shanghainese, and basic Cantonese.
    "UNF truly exemplifies the tagline, "No one like you. No place like this." As a student, I was able to work with academic and career staff to customize my program that allowed me to tailor my education towards the professional that I wanted to be. Looking back, if I were to choose my choice of college again, I would still choose to be an Osprey!"
  • 2022 Honorary Alumni Award - Tony Marinatos

    Tony Marinatos is Managing Director of Chartwell Capital and received his bachelor's degree in accounting and an M.B.A. in finance from St. Johns University, New York. Marinatos' love and steadfast support for UNF began when his oldest son graduated from UNF in 2002, and when his youngest became the University's men's soccer coach in 2010. Since then, he has contributed to a variety of campus initiatives.

    Marinatos has served on the Foundation Board of Directors, the Audit, Finance, and Investment committees, the Executive Committee, the Osprey Club, and the ITS board. In addition to his service to University organizations, he is also a dedicated community volunteer, who serves on the boards of Seven Bridges Radio, and the Association for Corporate Growth. Marinatos adds that "my passion for giving to this wonderful University has been driven by my desire to give selflessly; and more importantly due to the inspiration I derive by working with other outstanding volunteer board members."

  • 2021 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award - Dr. Barbara A. Darby

    The Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award is the highest honor given to a graduate of the university. To be nominated for this award, a UNF graduate must have made significant contributions to his or her profession, community and/or society, and have consistently maintained the pursuit of excellence as a representative and graduate of UNF.  

    In her written memoir entitled, My Leadership Journey: Wisdom from the Trenches, Barbara quoted an African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This quote is exemplified by her commitment to joint efforts in her community work. She served as a board member and board chair for Leadership Jacksonville; as an Advisory Board of Directors member for the Eartha M. M. White Legacy Fund; as a member of the Jacksonville Symphony Board; as a member of the Community Advisory Council for WJCT public media; as a board member for the City Rescue Mission; as a member of the Board of Trustees for Memorial Hospital; and as a member of the board for Volunteers in Medicine. 

  • 2021 Alumni Service Award - Monica V. Hern├índez

    The Alumni Service Award is presented to alumni of UNF who have demonstrated continuing outstanding volunteer service on a local, state, national, or international level – including at UNF, through clubs or service organizations, or through other community involvement. Candidates must possess the highest standards of integrity and character to positively reflect and enhance the prestige of UNF.   

    Monica was appointed as President of the First Coast Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2019. During that same year, she was recognized by the Jacksonville Business Journal in the Top 40 under 40, Northeast Florida’s brightest, most promising professionals under the age of 40, and was selected to be part of the Hightower Emerging Leaders Program by the Jax Chamber. In 2020, Monica was selected to be part of Leadership Jacksonville’s Class of 2021.

  • 2021 Young Alumni Achievement Award - Katelyn T. Wildes

    The Young Alumni Achievement Award is presented to alumni of UNF for outstanding professional achievement, contributions to the community and exemplary service to the University. The recipient must have completed his/her UNF degree within the last 10 years. 

    Katelyn Wildes is an impressive representative of the University in the Jacksonville community. Her ambition academically and professionally, along with her compassion for those she cares for in her work are noteworthy. As a student at UNF, Katelyn distinguished herself by attending Hicks Honors College and participating in the Presidential Envoys student ambassador program between 2017 to 2018. She was awarded the Dean’s List and President’s Honor Roll distinctions multiple semesters during her academic career, and had the opportunity to study abroad in Iceland with the UNF Sociology department in 2017.

  • 2021 Honorary Alumni Award - Susan Schantz

    The Honorary Alumni Award is given to friends and supporters of UNF for  exemplary service to the University. Do you know someone who loves UNF and is full of Osprey pride, but isn't actually an Osprey? Let us know!  

    Susan has been a consistent and generous contributor of her time and finances to the University of North Florida. She is a devoted member of the University and Jacksonville communities, representing all the ideals of the Osprey spirit.

    In her service to the University, Susan serves as a valued member of the UNF Foundation Board and as the Chair of the Grants Committee and member of the Executive Committee. Since 2006, she has made significant gifts to the UNF Writing Center, Foundation Unrestricted Fund, Public Service Program, and, most recently, the COVID Student Emergency Relief Fund. She also previously served as a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Leadership Council. 

  • 2020 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award - Myron Pincomb
    "I am honored and humbled to receive the 2020 UNF Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. My years at UNF taught me to Dream Big, Work Hard and Invest in Others. This motto has been invaluable in nearly every aspect of my life."
  • 2020 Alumni Service Award - The Honorable Tracie Davis

    "When I graduated from UNF, I never thought that I would return to receive such a prestigious award. I hope my life has been a testament that we are all called to serve others. I am truly appreciative to the UNF Alumni Association for recognizing me in this manner."

  • 2020 Young Alumni Achievement Award - Ashley R.C. Pratt
    "I am incredibly honored to receive the UNF Young Alumni Achievement award. This award is the result of what happens when one has been fortunate to have many years of enduring support and guidance from mentors, family and friends. I love being connected to UNF by mentoring students through our Administrative Internship Program at Mayo Clinic. I look forward to more years of dedication to the Jacksonville community and the University of North Florida."
  • 2020 Honorary Alumni Award - Stephen E. Bachand
    " I am flattered to be receiving this award from UNF's Alumni Association. Counting myself now as a fellow alum with the many students we've supported over the years who have gone on to do great things is a special honor 
  • Previous Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award Recipients
    • 2019: R. Bruce Ogier B.A. '74
    • 2018: Dr. Debra A. Harrison, D.N.P '12
    • 2017: The Honorable Travis Cummings, M.B.A. '01
    • 2016: Lisa M. Davis, B.S. '97
    • 2015: Awards not distributed
    • 2012: Dr. Robert "Bob" Graham, M.Ed. '95, Ed.D. '04
    • 2009: Todd Haley, B.A. '91
    • 2008: Jean Brophy Lamar, BAE '79, M.Ed. '97
    • 2007: Dr. Shyam Paryani, MHA '02
    • 2006: Melanie Jennings Husk, BA '77
    • 2005: Ann C. Hicks, BA '95
    • 2004: Mark Vitner, MBA '92
    • 2003: Dr. William T. Abare, Jr., M.Ed. '80
    • 2002: Betty Holzendorf, M.Ed. '73
    • 2001: Bob Touchton, MS '95
    • 2000: Donna Harper Gibbs, BBA '89, MHRM '91
    • 1999: (Marylou) Arlene Shipley, BA '93
    • 1998: Carol C. Thompson, MS '79
    • 1997: Elaine Smith Coffman, BA '88, MHRM '91
    • 1996: Diahann W. Lassus, CPA, CFP, MBA '77
    • 1995: Nathaniel Glover, Jr., ME '87
    • 1994: Shirley K. Webb, BA '86, ME '94
    • 1993: Michael W. Lanier, BA '74, MA '77
    • 1992: Darby N. Bloodgood, BA '78
    • 1991: Linda L. Black, ME '80
    • 1990: Michael D. Reynolds, ME '83
    • 1989: Sharon T. (Weaver) Wilburn, BSH '79, MSH '80, ME '90
  • Previous Young Alumni Achievement Award Recipients
    • 2019: Henna Bakshi B.S. '14
    • 2018: Tyler Lasher Morris, B.A. '07, M.B.A. '15
    • 2017: Andrew W. Rush, B.S. '09
    • 2016: Dr. Derrick A. Robinson, B.A. '09, B.S. '09
    • 2012: Naomi Kouri
    • 2009: Kara W. Tucker, BA '06, MS '07
    • 2008: David S. Birkelbach, BS '01, MBA '05
    • 2007: Dr. Jarik E. Conrad, Ed.D. '06
  • Previous Alumni Service Award Recipients
    • 2019: Dr. Irvin "PeDro" Cohen B.A. '97
    • 2018: Judy Eisen, M.A. '78
    • 2017: Shannon Italia, M.B.A. 2012
    • 2016: D. Samuel Inman
  • Previous Honorary Alumni Award Recipients
    • 2019: Cheryl Cummer
    • 2018: Gerald F. Hurst and Walter R. Graham, Jr., M.D.
    • 2017: Dwight L. Cooper III
    • 2016: David E. Polovina
    • 2012
      • Robert "Bob" Tonsfeldt
      • Gilchrist B. Berg
      • Doug M. Baer
    • 2009
      • Admiral Jonathan T. Howe
      • Irene J. Lazzara
      • Jim Milligan
      • Susan Ryzewic
      • A. Hugh Greene
    • 2008
      • John R. Cobb
      • Hy W. Kliman
      • Joan W. Newton
      • Bruce A. Smathers
    • 2007
      • Helen L. Brown
      • Russell B. "Rusty" Newton, III
      • Walter Moore
      • Howard C. Serkin
      • Anthony "Tony" Weight
    • 2006
      • Dr. Arthur "Buster" Browning
      • Donald Ditzenberger
      • Barbara Fletcher
      • Ambassador Marilyn McAfee
      • Gerry Nichol
    • 2005
      • Toni Crawford
      • W. Radford Lovett II
      • James Van Vleck
    • 2004
      • Thomas Borowy
      • Thomas Brown
      • Luther and Blanche Coggin
      • Kevin Twomey
    • 2003
      • Lisa M. Kaye
      • Dr. Betty Flinchum
      • David A. Stein
      • Delores Barr and J. Wayne Weaver
    • 2002
      • Barry Allred
      • Debbie and Mel Gottlieb
      • Herbert and Miyuki Scheidel
    • 2001
      • Hugh Jones
      • Delores Kesler
      • Dr. R. Bruce Taylor
    • 2000
      • John A. Hammack, P.E.
      • John Hayt
      • James Horton, P.E.
      • Mary Virginia Terry
    • 1999
      • James E. Cobb
      • Andrew Farkas
      • Elizabeth P. Petway
    • 1998
      • Adam W. and Karen L. Herbert
      • Dorrie S. and E. K. Fretwell
      • David M. Hicks
      • Ronald H. Foster
      • Frederick H. Schultz
    • 1995: Mary Malone
    • 1979: Will Hardee
  • Outstanding Alumni Award Recipients
    • 2012
      • Honorable Dawn K. Hudson
      • Nathaniel R. Herring
      • Timothy W. Kenney
      • Ann D. Sabbag
      • Glenn R. Layton
      • Deborah A. Johnson
    • 2009
      • Jason B. Burnett
      • Anna L. Brosche
      • Joni S. Shook
      • Donna T. Jones
      • Earl N. Shimp
      • Jennifer E. Jones
    • 2008
      • R. Bruce Ogier
      • Margaret "Peggie" Black
      • Keith Goldsmith
      • Gerald D. Holland
      • Carlie M. Abersold
      • Sandra M. Grimes
      • Mary G. Tappouni
    • 2007
      • Mary S. Lesperance
      • Don Packard III
      • Dr. Helen D. Jackson
      • Ryan Fryman
      • Laine Silverfield
      • John R. "Jack" Conway
    • 2006
      • Tammy Lynn Carroll
      • Kerry Dunlavey
      • Theodore 'Sylvester' John
      • Elaine Johnson
      • Karen E. Bowling
      • Brian S. Malek
      • Linda Carlson Gunn
      • Deirdra McDowell-Sutton
    • 2005
      • Eugene "Gene" Baker III
      • Charles "Chuck" Diebel
      • José Saez
      • Cleve E. Warren
      • Dr. Greg Bollella
      • Dr. Monica McAleer
      • Dr. Judith Poppell
      • Barbara Drummond-Huth
      • Garry Karsner
      • Christopher M. Kirby
    • 2004
      • Charles M. Ged
      • Mary Biggs Knauer
      • Francis (Frank) J. Mackesy
      • Michael Tanner
      • Philip Mobley
      • William C. "Bill" Mason III
      • William Edward (Ed) Pratt-Dannals
      • Ann Hanawalt Van Ormer
      • Gary Jarvis
      • Teri Coutu
      • Issis Richter
    • 2003
      • Ronald C. Brannan
      • John R. Barrett
      • Sidney D. Roberson
      • Kevin D. Walsh
      • Tomislav (Tom) Kustura
      • J. Amos Hatch
      • Bennie H. Furlong
      • Santa J. Mann
      • Tzu-Yung (Eric) Chang
    • 2002
      • Dr. Susan Wilkinson
      • Dr. John Ruis
      • Pat Brzozowski
      • W. Scott Parker
      • Dr. Xuezhi Guo
      • Dr. Harry Wallace
      • Michael Rutledge
      • Dr. Graham Watts
      • Leah Brown
      • Jesus Mendoza