Carnegie Mellon University
October 07, 2014

Carnegie Mellon Alumni Association Honors 19 For Service and Professional Achievement

Contact: Stephanie Williams / 412-268-2902 /  

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Alumni Association will honor 19 alumni, faculty and students during Cèilidh Weekend, Oct. 9-12.

The annual event combines the university's Homecoming and Family Weekend into one celebration. The Scottish Gaelic word Cèilidh represents a traditional social gathering and pays tribute to the heritage of CMU founder Andrew Carnegie.

This year's Alumni Awards ceremony will take place from 5 to 9 p.m., Friday Oct. 10, in Kresge Theatre and Great Hall in the College of Fine Arts.

The following are descriptions of the award recipients' professional accomplishments and service to the university and its alumni.

Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award

John Maxwell Cohn (College of Engineering '91), a pioneer in the area of design automation for high speed custom analog and digital circuits, holds more than 60 patents, shares his passion for science on social media and the reality show, "The Colony," and is currently focusing on IBM's "smarter planet" agenda.

Alumni Distinguished Service

F. Robert Dax (College of Engineering '72, '77) and Kathy (Sabec) Dax (College of Fine Arts, '75), two of CMU's most involved volunteers, coordinate class reunions, remain actively involved with their Greek organizations, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Delta Gamma, and volunteer and participate in campus events each year.

Joseph F. DiMario (College of Engineering '54, Tepper School of Business '60) has been a dedicated CMU volunteer for over 20 years through class reunion planning, as a member of eight committees of the Alumni Association Board, and as a member of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Advisory Council.

Gregory P. Polansky (Mellon College of Science '74, Tepper School of Business '76), former president of the Andrew Carnegie Society, is a long-time, enthusiastic CMU volunteer whose service has included class reunion planning and membership on the Annual Giving Committee, Alumni Association Board and Tepper Pittsburgh alumni network.

Alumni Achievement

Jeff C. Kunins (Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences '95), who spent the last 20 years in software with a focus on mobile, social and communications, has enjoyed career milestones at Microsoft, Tellme Networks, Skype and is currently vice president of Kindle Cross Platform with Amazon.

Renée L. Stout (College of Fine Arts '80), one of CMU's most prominent alumni artists, has been recognized through prestigious awards, grants and residencies, and is showcased in permanent collections of the nation's major art museums, private collections and The Afrika Museum, Berg en Dal, Netherlands.

W. Jim Tetlow (College of Fine Arts '77), an internationally renowned lighting designer, has received two Monitor Awards and an Emmy for his work in "Sesame Street," and has worked on corporate videos, live theatrical productions and exhibit lighting designs.

Alumni Service

Rachel E. Keeler (Tepper School of Business, '94), a long-time Pittsburgh Alumni Network volunteer, serves as chief volunteer recruiter, chair of the Sponsorship Committee and a member of the Events Committee, coordinating the network's signature event each year — the Highland Games.

Jon R. Kinol (Tepper School of Business '92), a member of the Tepper School of Business Board of Advisors and the Masters in Computational Finance Advisory Board, is a star volunteer who has hosted Tepper events and established relationships with his employers for graduate and intern recruitment in the financial services industry.

Jongwoo (JW) Kwak (Tepper School of Business '87), president of the Korean Alumni Network, is a dedicated alumnus who continues to attend events in support of the network and the CMU community in Korea.

Suzanne (Rothfeld) Steven (Tepper School of Business '93), founder of the alumni network in Denver, has served the university as a member of the Carnegie Mellon Admissions Council and as a member of class reunion planning committees and the Alumni Association Board.

Samuel A. Swift (CMU'04, Tepper School of Business '09, '12), co-founder of the CMU Buggy Alumni Association, helped implement a timing system for the races and assisted students in finding sponsorships for Sweepstakes, broadcasting equipment and race day guides.

Recent Alumni

Bowei Gai (College of Engineering '06, '07) is a young alumnus who co-created the app Snapture, which improved the early iPhone camera and photo storage, and co-founded CardMunch, a startup purchased by LinkedIn that converts and stores business card information in your phone.

Linda Mariel Kaplan (College of Engineering '07), a bridge designer for Gannett Fleming and recipient of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Recent Alumni Award in 2012, has served as an adviser to the CMU student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and as a member of the CEE Alumni Advisory Council.

Dawn Weleski (College of Fine Arts '10), co-director of Conflict Kitchen, is widely known for her "street performances" which have been featured on NPR, and for her professional work in galleries and museums around the world.  

Faculty Service

Allan H. Meltzer, an expert on economic affairs who has taught at the Tepper School since 1957, has supported alumni and their programs as a faculty speaker for VIP dinners, reunion weekends and alumni events around the world.

Student Service

Michelle Lin (Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Science '14) is a Loyal Scot who has participated in the Student Cèilidh Weekend Committee, Highland Ambassadors, the American Marketing Association, the Certified Horsemanship Association, Bhangra in the Burgh and the Undergraduate Marketing Organization in the Tepper School of Business.
Christine Marie Sidoti (College of Engineering '14) has served as an Orientation volunteer, a Greek Peer Mentor, and as a member of the Panhellenic Conference Executive Board, the Society of Women Engineers, Student Cèilidh Weekend Committee, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Rho Lambda.