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Distinguished Alumni

Distinguished Alumni Awards are presented to LIU Post graduates whose accomplishments and dedication to their professions, their communities and their families provide inspiration to our graduating students.  Of LIU Post's 107,000 graduates, only 129 have received this honor.  Recent award winners are as follows:

2011

John Collins '83
Chief Operating Officer, National Hockey League, L.P.

John Collins is a record-setter in the business of professional sports. After 15 years as a marketing innovator with the National Football League, he joined the National Hockey League as Chief Operating Officer in 2006, with responsibility for global business, sales, licensing and media operations. Since then revenue has grown by 85 percent, despite the recession. One of his attention-getting promotions, the NHL Winter Classic --a game played outdoors to celebrate hockey's outdoor heritage -- drew some of the highest TV ratings ever recorded for hockey, and led to Mr. Collins being named Marketer of the Year by Advertising Age. In 2009 Fast Company magazine listed the National Hockey League as one of the most innovative companies in sports. In 2010 Mr. Collins was chosen Executive of the Year at the 8th annual American Business Awards. John received his bachelor's degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing in 1983 from the College of Management.

Brian S. Waterman '86
Vice Chairman, Newmark Knight Frank

Brian Waterman is vice chairman of Newmark Knight Frank, a global real estate consultancy with over 220 offices on six continents. He has negotiated leasing transactions in excess of one billion dollars, representing such prominent tenants as Sony Corp., Goldman Sachs & Co., and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and such high-profile building owners as Apollo Partners, Sterling Equities, and Vornado Realty.  He is an active philanthropist, serving as a trustee of the New York City Police Museum and the Henry Kaufman Campgrounds and as a major fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Mr. Waterman won the Henry Hart Rice Achievement Award of the Real Estate Board of New York for "The Most Ingenious Deal of the Year" in 1998, for the expansion of the non-profit Federation Employment and Guidance Service (FEGS) at 315 Hudson Street.  Brian received a Bachelor's degree with a concentration in management and marketing in 1986 from the College of Management.

Carine Jocelyn '94 B.S., M.P.A.
Executive Director, Diaspora Community Services

Carine Jocelyn, who received both her B.S. and M.P.A. in 1994, is the Executive Director of Diaspora Community Services. By combining her organizational skills with a rare sense of mission Carine brings help and hope to people in need. As executive director of Diaspora Community Services, she leads an effort to provide health education, advocacy, counseling and supportive services to immigrant communities in Brooklyn. Since joining the non-profit organization in 2003, she has substantially increased its budget and expanded its outreach within the borough. During last year's earthquake in Haiti, a health clinic she established in 2007 in the capital Port-au-Prince was seriously damaged. Thanks to repairs financed largely by Haitian-Americans in New York, the free clinic continues to provide quality medical care to the local population. In 2008 Carine Jocelyn founded CJ Consulting, a firm offering professional consulting services, technical assistance and training in development to non-profit and for-profit organizations.

2010

Dr. Linda Amper '78, '85
Senior Vice President, Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Linda E. Amper, Ph.D., is one of Long Island's most accomplished executives in the field of health care. She currently serves as Senior Vice President at Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing innovative hospital specialty products.  Prior to her appointment at Optimer, Dr. Amper served as Senior Vice President, Human Resources at OSI Pharmaceuticals, an international biotechnology company that develops medicines and therapies to treat cancer, diabetes and obesity.  Dr. Amper began her career at the New York Blood Center, the nation's largest community-based blood collection organization.  She joined the Blood Center as a laboratory technologist in 1978 and went on to the Blood Center's Long Island Region in 1999.  She remained in the role until moving to OSI in 2001.  Twice named to Long Island Business News' list of Long Island's Top 50 Most Influential Women in Business (2007 and 2009), Dr. Amper holds two degrees from LIU Post, a B.S. in medical biology and an M.P.A. in health administration, and a Ph.D. in health administration from Columbia Southern University.  She also completed The Energeia Partnership regional stewardship program at Molloy College.  Dr. Amper, who periodically teaches as an adjunct professor in the Business Department at Farmingdale State College, is the daughter of the late Dr. Hamilton S. Blum, a professor of mathematics at LIU Post for 32 years and the inaugural winner of Long Island University's David Newton Award for Excellence in Teaching.  She established the Hamilton S. Blum Endowed Scholarship in 2010 to benefit LIU Post mathematics majors.  Dr. Amper is active in the community, serving on many boards including the LIU Board of Trustees, Long Island Works Coalition, the Long Island Association, the Farmingdale BioScience Park, the Long Island Philharmonic, Friends of Karen and the Long Island Community Chest.

2009

James Flanagan '82
Partner, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLP

James F. Flanagan is an active alumnus, a generous supporter of his alma mater and a widely respected executive at one of the world's largest accounting firms.  A 1982 graduate of LIU Post, Mr. Flanagan is the leader of the U.S. financial services practice for PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLP.  A partner at the firm since 1994, Mr. Flanagan leads a practice that provides strategic direction to clients and to employees in a comprehensive range of areas including auditing, financial accounting, regulatory compliance, market sustainability, and sales and financing transactions.  He also is a member of the Global Financial Services leadership team for the firm.  Prior to assuming his current position, Mr. Flanagan was the U.S. leader of PriceWaterhouseCoopers' Transaction Services Group, which provided merger and acquisition support to corporations and to price equity firms in the United States and globally.  He started the Cleveland Transaction Services Business and then became the managing partner of the group's central region, which includes sites in Chicago, Dallas, Detroit and Houston.  In 2001, Mr. Flanagan joined the global leadership team for the Transaction Services Group, which is responsible for the strategic direction of the practice.  Mr. Flanagan joined the firm of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, immediately following his graduation with a B.S. in accountancy.  His mentor, the late William R. Gifford, former dean of the School of Professional Accountancy, was a former partner at Price Waterhouse.  In recognition of Dean Gifford's support and advisement, Mr. Flanagan founded a scholarship in the Gifford family name in 1999, which provides tuition assistance for accounting majors at LIU Post.  Also to benefit accounting students, Mr. Flanagan established the Droughton/Flanagan Families Endowed Scholarship in 2004.  Today, he is an active member of the LIU Post Alumni Association Board of Directors.  Mr. Flanagan and his wife Kathleen Droughton Flanagan, who graduated from LIU Post with a B.A. in communications in 1983, live in Lloyd Harbor, N.Y. and have three children, Michael, Caitlin and Erin.

Grace Monahan '78
VP & CIO, Henry Schein

As Vice President and Chief Information Officer with responsibility for global information systems at Henry Schein, Inc., the largest distributor of health care products and services to office-based practitioners in the combined North American and European markets, Grace Monahan is a busy executive.  But a full schedule is nothing new for Monahan.  As a student at LIU Post in the 1970s, she worked part-time while pursuing a Bachelor of Science in business administration – and still made time to take part in campus life. "There was a lot going on," Monahan recalled. "I saw a lot of great concerts, including Billy Joel at The Dome, the predecessor to today's Tilles Center for the Performing Arts. I loved the beautiful campus. I was a commuter, but there was a feeling of really being a part of the campus community." Upon graduating in 1978, Monahan went to work as a marketing analyst at CMP Media Inc. and quickly worked her way up the ranks through positions in operations, human resources, facilities, customer service, market research and direct marketing. She eventually attained the role of executive vice president and chief information officer of CMP Media, responsible for all information systems activity. Monahan joined Henry Schein in 1998, at the beginning of a period of extraordinary growth for the company, with from $1.9 billion that year to $5.9 billion in 2008. Monahan was involved in overseeing critical e-commerce operations and successfully led the information systems integration of a number of companies acquired by Henry Schein. In May 2010, she was promoted to Vice President and Chief Information Officer with responsibility for global information systems. She is responsible for Henry Schein's global information systems including worldwide business applications, e-commerce and information systems infrastructure, and oversees the company's Creative Services function.  "Henry Schein continues to grow globally, so there's always something new and exciting," Monahan said. "My degree from LIU Post gave me the edge, even in my first position," she said. "Because I had the marketing degree, I was able to land the marketing analyst position over several other applicants." Right from the beginning, it was advantageous.  Monahan earned a B.S. in business administration with a concentration in marketing in 1978.  She is a Board member of LISTENET (Long Island Software and Technology Network) and she is chair of its CIO Council.  She is also a member of the Association of Information Technology Professionals.  Ms. Monahan and her husband live in Muttontown, N.Y. and have one daughter, Rachel.

2008

Peter Gibson '82
Co-CEO and Co-President
Knowledgent

Peter Gibson's talent, discipline and winning spirit were evident to his professors and coaches during his years at LIU Post.  Mr. Gibson was a top student who excelled in computer science.  An agile and versatile athlete, he was a starting defensive back for the Pioneer football team for two years and then joined the lacrosse team as a walk-on – an impressive accomplishment, considering he had never played organized lacrosse before.  After graduating LIU Post in 1982, Mr. Gibson began his career in business and technology.  After holding positions at General Electric Company and Digital Equipment Corp., Mr. Gibson moved to TRECOM Business Systems Inc., where he rose to the rank of executive vice president of industry services and played an instrumental role in more than doubling revenues, to over $250 million in fewer than two years.  In 1999, Mr. Gibson set out on his own and co-founded BusinessEdge Solutions which grew to a 750-person national business consulting and technology solutions firm focused on financial services, communications and life sciences industries.  After BusinessEdge Solutions, Peter served as President of 4Sight Ventures Group, a venture capital firm specializing in young start-ups in the information management and healthcare industries.  He presently serves as Co-CEO and Co-President of Knowledgent, a management consulting and technology services firm.  Throughout his 25+ year career in the consulting industry, Peter has served many Fortune 500 clients in the financial services, insurance and communications industries.  Peter holds a B.S. in Computer Science from LIU Post and currently serves on the LIU Board of Trustees. He is a generous donor to his alma mater making a number of significant contributions to Pioneer Athletics.  He is also an avid supporter of the Boys and Girls Club, Homeless Families, Rutgers Athletics, Dayspring Ministries and the Light and Peace Mission in Bon Repos, Haiti. He currently resides in Far Hills, N.J. and has two children Stephanie and Kyle.

2007

Bob Jahelka '84
Managing Partner, Demasco, Sena & Jahelka LLP
President, Pioneer Mortgage Network Inc.
Partner, Pioneer Financial Group LLC and Pioneer Land Services LLC
President, LIU Post Alumni Association


When Bob Jahelka graduated from LIU Post in 1984 with a degree in accounting, he already was a rising star. Four semesters of cooperative education internships at local companies paid off by leading to a full-time job with Touche Ross & Co., a major accounting firm. After two years, Mr. Jahelka accepted a position as the chief financial officer of American Security Technology, where he had interned while attending C.W. Post. Simultaneously, he founded the accounting firm of Demasco, Sena & Jahelka LLP, where he currently serves as managing partner.  Soon thereafter, he launched a second business, Pioneer Mortgage Network Inc., which he named after the LIU Post Pioneers for whom he was captain of the football and lacrosse teams, in addition to being named to the 1st Team National Academic All-American Football Team and winning the C.W. Post Roy Ilowit Award. He is president of Pioneer Mortgage and partner in Pioneer Financial Group LLC and Pioneer Land Services LLC.  Mr. Jahelka is a CPA who holds Series 6, 7 and 65 licenses. He also is a specialist in forensic accounting and has testified several times for the Securities and Exchange Commission and other governmental agencies. Despite the rigors of running thriving businesses, Mr. Jahelka is a tireless community volunteer, giving his time and talents to Project Real, a not-for-profit agency that provides group homes for mentally ill adults, and to the Garden City Athletic Association, where he is a director and coach. Mr. Jahelka also is the president of the LIU Post Alumni Association, in addition to serving as director of five not-for-profit agencies.  Mr. Jahelka has been a generous supporter of the LIU Post. The athletic director's office in the Field House and a conference room in the Kahn Discovery Center are named for his family. He lives in Garden City with his wife, Patricia, whom he met while working at Touche Ross, and his son, Stephen, and daughter, Jacqueline.

Frank F. Villano '69
Founder, Villano Miller Inc., Computer Research Group,
Electronic Processing Source Inc.

As a young man, Frank F. Villano considered a career as a physician, however, that dream died when his father passed away. Instead, he pumped gas and drove a cab to help his family make ends meet while attending LIU Post. Upon graduating in 1969 with a bachelor's in sociology, he founded his first business, Villano Miller Advertising, which catered to a financial services client base. In 1975, Mr. Villano and business partner, Thomas Miller, launched Computer Research Group, a software development company that serviced Fortune 100 clients. Always searching for a new challenge, in 1984, Mr. Villano became co-founder of Electronic Processing Source Inc., a Mineola-based firm that provides credit card processing and financing services to the travel and entertainment industries. Mr. Villano and his son, Christopher G. Villano, a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef (and law student), also own Mickey Mantle's Restaurant and Sports Bar and are partners in Solera, an upscale Spanish restaurant on 53rd Street in Manhattan.  In 2003, after beating prostate cancer, Mr. Villano, grateful for his health, decided to devote more of his time and financial resources to charitable causes. He became a major benefactor of the Vincent J. Fontana Center for Child Protection, a division of The New York Foundling, a child and family care agency, establishing the Villano Family Endowment. Earlier this year, he was selected as one of the first recipients of the Foundling's Hearts of Gold award. In January, Mr. Villano also was named a knight of the Order of Malta, a lay order of the Roman Catholic Church.  Mr. Villano lives in Old Brookville with his wife and their daughter, Danielle. His other children are Linda Rose Villano, founder and proprietor of SerendipiTea Life in Manhasset, and Jennifer Ann Villano, who earned a master's degree in elementary education from LIU Post in 1997 and is a substitute teacher at Munsey Park and Shelter Rock elementary schools in Manhasset.