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Six Honored with Clarkson University’s Most Prestigious Alumni Award
[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/gk2008.jpg .]
Presented each year during Reunion Weekend, Clarkson’s most prestigious alumni award is given to alumni who have distinguished themselves either by service to Clarkson through Alumni Association activities or have demonstrated outstanding career achievement, bringing distinction to themselves and to Clarkson.
Joe Drago earned his bachelor of science degree in business administration from Clarkson in 1963. He continued his education at Niagara University where he received his master of science degree in education in 1972. Subsequently, he earned guidance and business specialist certificates and the Ontario Secondary School Principal’s Certificate.
After graduation from Clarkson, Drago pursued a lengthy career in education before he retired in 1996 after 33 years of service. As a secondary school principal, Drago was instrumental in the implementation of several school and community initiatives benefiting the Sudbury region. Among his many professional awards, he earned the Award of Excellence from the Sudbury Board of Education and the Award of Excellence from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.
While at Clarkson, Drago played under head hockey coach Len Ceglarski and was a key member of three of Clarkson’s most successful teams during the 1960s. During his time at Clarkson, the Golden Knights compiled a 56-15-3 record and participated in two NCAA tournaments, finishing as national runner-ups in 1962 and gaining a third-place trophy in 1963. He also was a member of Theta Chi Fraternity, a Varsity "C" Member and a member of the Ice Carnival Committee.
For over 40 years, Drago was involved with hockey. He has coached at the midget, high school, junior major, junior intermediate and senior levels. For 17 years, he has been involved with the Sudbury Wolves Major Junior "A" organization, serving as director of operations, coach, general manager, president and part owner and governor. For 12 years, Drago served as the commissioner for the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey Association and later as the OHF Junior Council chair. Currently is the president for the Ontario Hockey Federation.
In 2003, Drago was honored with the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which recognizes Canadians who have made significant contributions to their fellow citizens, their community and to Canada.
In 2004, he received the Arnold H. Barben Award from Clarkson University which recognizes the important role that hockey has played in the history of the University. The award is presented annually to a Clarkson University Varsity C hockey alumnus who has demonstrated outstanding professional achievement, who has contributed to the betterment of his community, and who has worked unselfishly for his alma mater.
Georgia Keresty earned her bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Clarkson in 1983, a bachelor of science in computer science from Ramapo College of New Jersey in 1985, a master of science in information systems from Pace University in 1988, a master of business administration from Rutgers University in 1992, and a doctor of philosophy in operations management from Rutgers University in 1998.
Keresty’s responsibilities at Johnson & Johnson include developing strategies and programs to ensure compliance with laws, regulations and standards for product quality, EHS, product promotion and advertising, research and development, contracting, and interactions with healthcare professionals.
She has spent more than 23 years in the healthcare industry in worldwide assignments in quality operations; environment, health and safety; manufacturing; and engineering. Keresty has served as vice president of Worldwide Quality at Centocor Inc., a division of Johnson & Johnson, and worked at Bristol Myers Squibb and Novartis.
She served on the Clarkson Alumni Council as a member-at-large for many years and in 1993 received the Woodstock Award, recognizing her personal achievements and outstanding loyalty and service. She also served as chair of her 10th- and 20th-year class reunions at Clarkson.
Keresty and her husband, George Clayton, live in Mendham, N.J.
Timothy J. LaLonde earned his bachelor of science degree in accounting from Clarkson University in 1978.
For his contributions as a young alumnus, LaLonde was the recipient of the Woodstock Award for young alumni achievement in 1988. He was president of the Clarkson Alumni Association from 2004 to 2006 and chair of the former presidents group. Prior to his term as president, he served as vice president of the Alumni Association for two years. LaLonde was president of the Rochester alumni chapter for 11 years, a regional chapter board member and served a five-year term as a member-at-large of the Alumni Association.
LaLonde’s community service includes many years as a board member and treasurer of the Adam Walsh Child Resource Center, now known as the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He has also participated in Junior Achievement programs in Syracuse and is a board member of the Fayetteville-Manlius Youth Basketball Association. He has been a youth sports coach for many years.
LaLonde and his wife, Mary, and their two children, Timothy and Alexandra, reside in Manlius.
For five decades, Okraski has worked in simulation and training research, acquisition and logistic support for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, non-DoD agencies and foreign governments. He is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert in training simulation.
He was a member of the Federal Government Senior Executive Service for 10 years and led the way in Navy simulation and training research. Okraski was a major participant in technology transfer and in the creation of the Center of Excellence for Simulation and Training in the Central Florida area.
Okraski retired from federal service in 1994 and remains active in his profession and volunteer activities. He is a consultant for the simulation industry with interests in defense, homeland security, medical simulation, simulation for handicapped individuals and economic development. He lectured to high school students on 9/11 and has testified before a Congressional Committee on the use of modeling and simulation to prepare for and respond to terrorist actions.
He is one of the founders of the National Center for Simulation, serving as chairman of the board for 10 years, and now as a board member chairing the education committee.
He lives in Winter Park, Fla., with his wife, Judy. They have six children and 12 grandchildren.
John J. Wasenko earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Clarkson University in 1973. In 1975, he graduated from MIT with a master of science degree in nuclear engineering. He continued his education at Albany Medical College, graduating in 1980 as a doctor of medicine.
After graduation, Wasenko combined his love for engineering with the promising field of medical science imaging to become a neuroradiologist specializing in magnetic resonance imaging of the central nervous system.
Wasenko is licensed to practice in five states and has been listed in Best Doctors in America: Northeast Edition in 1996, 1999 and from 2000-2008. He received the Award for Teaching Excellence at the Naval Hospital Oakland from 1985-1987, as well as at the University of Alabama in 1989-1990. He was honored with the E. Robert Heitzman Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Department of Radiology at SUNY Upstate Medical University in 1993-1994.
He was one of the founding members of Clarkson’s School of Arts & Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council and assists Clarkson students interested in biomedical science and careers in the health professions. Wasenko serves on the admissions committee at SUNY Upstate Medical University and visits Clarkson several times each year to support and advise prospective medical students.
Wasenko is a benefactor of Clarkson hockey and students, who he supports through the Dr. John ’73 and Roberta Wasenko and Family Health Sciences Endowed Scholarship Fund.
He and his wife, Roberta, live in Ithaca. They have two children, Alyssa and Gregory.
Robert Ziek graduated from Clarkson University with a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering in 1978. He continued his graduate studies at Xavier University where he earned a master of business administration in marketing in 1983.
ZSource Limited is a consulting business in innovation and new product development, which has led to 10 new product and technology launches for four different clients.
From 1993-2004, Ziek was co-founder and senior vice president of operations and R&D for Changing Paradigms LLC, a $60-million privately held manufacturing company of retailer, control and licensed brands. Ziek led the development of over 100 distinct products across three major business categories using external technology partners and internal application capabilities.
Before Changing Paradigms, Ziek was director of product and process development for Drackett, a division of Bristol Myers Squibb, a marketer and manufacturer of consumer brands such as Windex, Drano, Renuzit and Vanish. He was responsible for all aspects of R&D, technology strategy and product development for four major brands, as well as chemical process development and pilot plant operations for the entire company.
He is chair of Clarkson’s Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering Dean’s Leadership Council and is involved in the interdisciplinary engineering & management program accreditation process, new product development curriculum, and innovation processes at Clarkson.
Ziek and his wife, Marcy, live in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Clarkson University crosses the boundaries of disciplines, nations and cultures in order for discovery, engineering innovation and enterprise to come together. As a result, faculty and graduates grasp the full impact of their calling, direct their research to the world’s pressing issues and lead with confidence and distinction. One in seven alumni is already a CEO or other senior executive. Located in Potsdam, N.Y., just outside the six-million-acre Adirondack Park, Clarkson is home to 3, 000 students preparing for rewarding careers through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, science, and health sciences, as well as unparalleled outdoor recreation and life experiences beyond the classroom.
Photo caption: Six Clarkson University alumni were recently honored with the Golden Knight Award, the University’s highest alumni honor. L-R: Joe Drago, Georgia Keresty, Timothy J. LaLonde, Henry C. Okraski, John J. Wasenko and Robert Ziek.