Faces of Lehigh

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Brian Schaffer ’99G

Brian Schaffer will be honored by the The Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA) as one of seven distinguished educational leaders at the VPA Leadership Academy awards banquet on August 3, 2016. Principal of Lamoille Union High School in Northern Vermont, Schaffer will receive the National Association of Secondary School Principals, High School Principal of the Year award. Nominated by peers and from the public at large, he was selected for outstanding building and educational leadership. During his tenure, has shaped a vision of academic success for all students, created a climate hospitable for education, cultivated leadership in others, improved instruction, and managed people, data, and processes to foster school improvement.

Schaffer received his M.Ed. degree in educational leadership from Lehigh University in 1999.


Joseph Plunkett ’72 ’18P

Joseph Plunkett, senior vice president of global manufacturing and engineering at Herbalife International, was recognized for Visionary Leadership at the 2016 Manufacturing Leadership Awards. The honor was in recognition of the culmination of his manufacturing career, which has included building and operating facilities for Frito Lay, Celenese/Imperial Chemical, Henri’s Foods, Helene Curtis/Unilever, and Herbalife. Plunkett received his bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Lehigh, and completed additional studies at Harvard and Northwestern in manufacturing management, corporate strategy and new product development.

“I attribute, to a large measure, my mechanical engineering education at Lehigh as the basis for the growth and accomplishments I have been fortunate to achieve during my career,” Plunkett said.


Mark B. Sheppard ’84

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently appointed Mark B. Sheppard to the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing to serve for a two-year term as one of 11 Commission members. Sheppard serves as co-chair of Montgomery McCracken’s White Collar and Government Investigations Practice Group and a member of the firm’s executive committee. His practice is focused white collar criminal defense, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Enforcement, and complex commercial civil litigation. Sheppard earned his bachelor of arts in government from Lehigh, as well as a juris doctorate degree from the Dickinson School of Law in 1987. He is the president-elect of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and has served as a member of the Joint State Government Commission's Advisory Committee on the Philadelphia Court System and as a Judge Pro Tempore for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.


Kristie (Darien) Arslan ’98

Kristie Arslan, the executive director of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), was recently appointed by the Small Business Administration to serve on the National Women’s Businesses Council (NWBC) for three years. The NWBC is a nonpartisan federal advisory council created to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Businesses on economic issues of importance to women business owners. A long-standing advocate for the small business community and an experienced business owner, Arslan leads WIPP in its efforts to advocate for women and minority business owners on economic policy and establish educational initiatives that impact business health and growth. Arlsan received a bachelor of arts degree in political science and an international relations minor from Lehigh, as well as a masters of public administration from George Mason University.


Giancarlo Pellegrini ’07

In 2015, Giancarlo Pellegrini was selected as a New York Empire State Fellow, where he has been placed in the Office of Counsel to Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Empire State Fellows program is a full-time leadership training program designed to prepare talented professionals to become the next generation of policy leaders in the state of New York. He received his bachelor of arts degree in international relations from Lehigh in 2007, and graduated from Harvard Law School with his juris doctorate in 2010. Prior to accepting the Fellowship, Pellegrini worked as an associate for Sidley Austin LLP and Bingham McCutchen LLP in Washington, DC.


Allison K. Scarinzi ’03

Allison K. Scarinzi, also known professionally as Allison Kaye, was recently featured on Billboard’s list of the 50 most powerful female executives in music industry for her work as general manager of Scooter Braun Projects LLC, a full-service entertainment and marketing company. She is the key executive presiding over the management of the careers of some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Cody Simpson. She was also ranked among Billboard’s Most Powerful Women in Music in 2013 and 2014. Scarinzi, who has served as general manager of SB Projects since 2009, received a bachelor of science degree in political science from Lehigh in 2003 and a juris doctorate degree from Duke University School of Law in 2006. Prior to her current position, she worked as legal counsel at the music label Razor & Tie and also as legal counsel and director of licensing at TVT Records.


Otis D. Hackney ’06G

Philadelphia Mayor-elect Jim Kenney has named Otis D. Hackney, the principal at South Philadelphia High School, to be the cities chief education officer.

Hackney is widely acclaimed for turning around the high school, which had been plagued by racial tension and by violent attacks. Under Hackney's leadership, the high school has also become one of the most advanced efforts in the city to implement the "community school" approach, which involves re-envisioning schools as accessible, full-service community centers for students and their families.

Kenney has touted community schools as a way to revitalize the city's struggling neighborhood schools and said he wants to create 25 community schools citywide. "I have high concentrations of students with high needs," Hackney said. "I need to make sure I have high levels of support."

Hackney is a graduate of West Philadelphia High School, earned a B.A. degree in secondary mathematics education from Temple University, and an M.Ed.degree in educational leadership from Lehigh University.

Donald F. Parsons Jr. ’70 ’72G

After a 12-year term, Donald F. Parsons Jr. is retiring from his position as vice chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery, a nationally respected business court. Even though he enjoyed a career in law, he admitted in an interview that his entry into the profession was not his original plan. Parsons took his Law School Admission Test on a whim during his senior year at Lehigh while studying electrical engineering. After graduation, he decided that he was not interested in being an electrical engineer, so he earned a master’s degree in educational administration from Lehigh and became a math teacher. In 1973, encouraged by his wife, Parsons decided to pursue a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. After graduation, he clerked two years for a federal judge, and then spent 24 years as a patent litigator at Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell. In 2003, Parsons became a vice chancellor of the Court of Chancery.


Mrithyunjay Chandilya ’02 (also known as “Mittu” Chandilya)

The CEO of the AirAsia India airline and first employee of the clean sheet Airline startup, Mittu Chandilya, has recently also been appointed as the company’s managing director and its first full-time independent executive director. In an article from Press Trust of India, AirAsia India Chairman Subramaniam Ramadorai said, “[Chandilya] has managed to propel the airline forward in terms of its scale of operations and turn every challenge into an opportunity by building an agile and secure operations structure.”

At Lehigh, Chandilya was a gryphon who earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business and economics with triple majors in marketing, supply chain management, and information systems. Chandilya reflects fondly upon his Lehigh professors and would like to help expand Lehigh’s connections in India. In 2010, Chandilya received his MBA degree from Insead University (France) and Tsinghua University in Beijing. Prior to working for AirAsia, he was the head of services practices for Asia Pacific at Egon Zehnder International and part of management at Ingersoll-Rand Company.

Casey Cogut ’69

Charles “Casey” Cogut was selected to be a member of Air Products’ Board of Directors. Cogut has worked for Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (STB), a law firm based in New York, since 1973 and now serves as their Senior M&A Counsel. He specializes in mergers and acquisitions, the representation of special committees of boards of directors, and buyouts and other transactions involving private equity firms.

Cogut fulfills other board positions, including being a member of the board of overseers of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he is also an adjunct faculty member, and a member of the board of advisors of the University of Pennsylvania Law School's Institute for Law and Economics. In addition, he is a member of the board of trustees and executive committee of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Cogut graduated summa cum laude with a degree in government from Lehigh University. He continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and earned a juris doctorate degree in 1973.


Ben Gucciardi ’05 ’06G

During a White House ceremony on June 25, 2015, Ben Gucciardi ’05 ’06G was named a White House Champion of Change for Refugees to recognize his work as the founder of Soccer Without Borders (SWB). SWB’s mission is to “use soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing under-served youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success.”

SWB is actively accomplishing that goal with 410 volunteers coaching 1,279 youth enrolled in SWB programs in four U.S. cities such as Boston and Baltimore, as well as two international programs in Nicaragua and Uganda. Gucciardi created SWB in 2006 while completing his master’s degree in global educational leadership at Lehigh University. To fund his endeavor, he used his $5,000 inaugural social entrepreneurship prize, which he won during Lehigh University’s Eureka competition. He also completed his undergraduate studies at Lehigh, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in international relations in 2005.


Fred W. Klein ’68

Fred W. Klein, senior managing partner at commercial real estate firm Childress Klein, was appointed to the Board of Trustees at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Charlotte. Previously serving as a member of its Foundation Board, he helped UNC Charlotte Belk College of Business successfully raise $4.4 million for its Center for Real Estate by co-chairing the “Developing Talent, Building the Future” campaign.

Klein says, “I hope to be able to help UNC Charlotte continue to grow and serve the educational and economic needs of our region by providing high quality educational programs.”

Klein earned an industrial engineering degree at Lehigh in 1968 and an MBA degree from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School in 1973. He served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy from 1969 to1972. He currently is a member of the North Carolina Railroad Board of Directors and the Charlotte Region Commercial Board of Realtors (CRCBR).


David A. Strassburger ’92

David Strassburger has been named by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers to the “Pittsburgh Top Fifty List,” an accomplishment that recognizes Strassburger’s high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. No more than five percent of attorneys are named to the Super Lawyers list.

Strassburger earned his bachelors of arts degree from Lehigh University in 1992 and his juris doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh in 1995. He is shareholder at Strassburger Mckenna Gutnick & Gefsky in Pittsburgh and has been at the firm for nearly 20 years. He exclusively practices civil litigation and also lectures on defamation and legal ethics for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute.

During an interview with Ross Pfund, Super Lawyers, he encourages people who are interested law to keep their minds sharp and keep their dedication to other people as part of their profession. “There is always room for another good lawyer, and the practice can be extremely fulfilling,” said Strassburger.

Theresa Glebocki ’84

Theresa “Terry” Glebocki has recently been hired as the new executive vice president, CFO, and treasurer of Tropicana Entertainment Inc. She will serve in those capacities for the company and its subsidiaries. Glebocki, who received her bachelor of science degree in accounting from Lehigh, previously oversaw development and financial operations for Revel Entertainment Group, LLC. She served as the company’s senior vice president, chief financial officer, and treasurer. She has also served in various senior financial management positions for the Trump Atlantic City casino properties and as an auditor and assistant controller for Bally’s Grand. Before working in the gaming industry, Glebocki was a senior auditor for Deloitte and Touche.

“We are very pleased to have Terry Glebocki join our management team,” said Tony Rodio, president and CEO of Tropicana Entertainment. “Terry has significant experience in various financial management positions overseeing gaming company operations.”


Joshua Barrickman '00G

Joshua Barrickman, money manager at Vanguard Group, Malvern, PA, is headed to become the new industry “Bond King,” according to a March 17, 2015, article in The Wall Street Journal that was also posted on ADVFN. The Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund that Barrickman and his team manage is about to become the largest bond in assets. The fund is a version of the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index and gained nearly $15 billion in client commitments during 2014. It had $145 billion in assets at the end of August, closing in on a competing fund with the current highest assets. Barrickman received his bachelor of science degree from Ohio Northern University in 1997. Immediately after completing his M.B.A. degree at Lehigh University in 2000, he was hired at Vanguard and was assigned to the bond index desk within several years. He is now in charge of all of the firm’s bond indexing across the U.S. and Canada.

Cathy Engelbert ’86

Cathy Engelbert, who made history by being the first female to become U.S. CEO of a “Big Four” firm, received her bachelor of science degree in accounting from Lehigh. Engelbert, the new CEO of professional services firm Deloitte, joined the company in 1986 and previously served as chairman and CEO of its audit subsidiary. She will be in charge of Deloitte’s 65,000 employees and $15 billion in annual revenue. Engelbert, who entered the public accounting profession at a time when it was very male-dominated, considers her promotion to be “a proud moment and a milestone.” As the new CEO of a company known for championing diversity, Engelbert said that her promotion “is a tangible demonstration of our commitment at Deloitte to the advancement of women.”


Lauren Silberman ’13

Lauren Silberman, who earned a bachelor of science degree in accounting, is one a few young accountants to earn the Elijah Watt Sells Award for outstanding performance on the Uniform CPA Examination. She is the fourth Lehigh graduate to do so in as many years. The award is given to those who pass all four sections of the CPA exam on their first attempt and attain a cumulative average score above 95.50. Additionally, Silberman received the Charles Waldo Haskins Gold Award for achieving the highest score on the CPA exam in the state of New York. A former officer in the Lehigh Accounting Club, Silberman is now putting the concepts she learned at Lehigh to use in the alternative investments assurance group at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “It’s an exciting job,” she said. “PwC is very-team oriented, which allows me to work with, and learn from, some of the most intelligent people in the industry.”


Kenneth French ’75

The Wall Street Journal asked successful people in the world of finance and beyond about the best or worst investments they ever made. Kenneth French, finance professor at Dartmouth College, said in a December 2014 article, “It would be hard to beat the return from my investment in education. Extraordinarily generous scholarships allowed me to attend Lehigh University and the University of Rochester for almost nothing. Even if I include the value of my time and effort, the cost of this investment was a tiny fraction of the expected payoff, and the actual monetary and nonmonetary payoff has been many times larger than that. It will take a lifetime to repay the donors who financed my education,” said French who earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Lehigh


Laurie Grobman ’97G

Laurie Grobman, who received her Ph.D. in English from Lehigh in 1997, has recently been announced as the 2014 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Outstanding Baccalaureate Colleges Professor of the Year. Winners are chosen on the basis of their extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching, determined by excellence in the following four areas: impact on and involvement with undergraduate students; scholarly approach to teaching and learning; contributions to undergraduate education in the institution, community and profession; and support from colleagues and current and former undergraduate students. Laurie is currently a professor of English and women’s studies at Penn State Berks.

Joshua Petersohn ᾽89

After being selected for Team USA Masters’ Ice Hockey to compete at the 19th Maccabiah Games in Israel this past July, Joshua Petersohn ᾽89 and his team captured the Gold Medal beating the Russians and Team Canada in the finals. Team USA began preparing for the Games in August of 2012 and continued with mini-camps throughout the year, concluding their training in June in South Bend, Indiana. The team continued to come together and build chemistry along the way. Despite starting off slowly during the tournament, the team rebounded and made adjustments for the medal rounds and beat Canada 7-4 in the final for the gold. “It was a lot of time, commitment and discipline, and the result was a fantastic journey. You don’t get opportunities like playing ice hockey at an international competition like this at this age. It was an incredible experience, and I was fortunate to be a participant,” said Petersohn.

Audrey Kleeman ’81

Audrey Kleeman, MD, has joined the medical staff of St. Mary Medical Center as a Primary Care Physician with Langhorne Physician Services and is opening a new medical practice, Comprehensive Internal Medicine, in Newtown, PA. In 1981, Dr. Kleeman received her bachelor of arts degree with High Honors from Lehigh University, where she was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society. She earned her medical degree from Hahnemann University and completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, CT. Since 2002, Dr. Kleeman has consistently demonstrated a dedication to high-quality patient care by achieving the highest Practice Quality Assessment Score ranking by Independence Blue Cross. She is board certified in Internal Medicine and has practiced medicine since 1986. She continues to provide comprehensive primary care, focusing on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of adult diseases in a personalized, compassionate approach.

Greg Heller-LaBelle ’10G

Greg Heller-LaBelle recently co-founded and is CEO of The Colony Meadery, a craft brewery in Allentown. The Meadery produces exclusive, nontraditional meads made from fermented honey using experimental batches and modern methodology. He has previously been involved with a number of successful start-ups and unique business ventures. Heller-Labelle earned his MBA degree from Lehigh in 2010 and was a featured speaker at Lehigh’s 2012 Mountain Talk series. A recording of his presentation, “Marketing Yourself: Why Personal Branding Matters,” can be viewed on the Mountain Talk Archives. The Meadery is open on weekends for afternoon and evening guided tours. Plus, a Lehigh Home Club event is being planned for the fall.

Michael Ulbrich ’04

Michael Ulbrich ’04 was recently named president of EWI New York, a new branch of the technology innovation organization EWI. The company will be launching and operating a state-supported advanced manufacturing institute being created in the Buffalo Niagara, NY region. The institute will serve as a hub where manufacturers can work with researchers and engineers to develop products, adapt new technologies, and improve processes. The institute will also offer professional resources to help enhance workforce training for manufacturing and facilitate enterprise. Ulbrich is joining EWI from JPMorgan Chase where he worked for the last decade. As an undergraduate at Lehigh, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering and was a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity.

Andrew Stanten ’99G

Andrew Stanten ’99G, co-founder and president of Altitude Marketing, has joined the advisory board of The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund (RTCLF), a credit supplier to Lehigh Valley small business and community development projects. RTCLF provides accessible financing options to entrepreneurs with risk factors that make it difficult to obtain funds from traditional lenders. In this role, Stanten will work with fellow board members to determine future investments, as well as serve as a business mentor for fledgling companies.

Stanten founded Altitude Marketing in 2004 as a full-service marketing firm geared towards serving the needs of technology-oriented B2B businesses from conception to being fully established. Stanten earned his MBA degree from Lehigh in 1999. For the last five years, he has taught a Marketing 101 class for Lehigh’s small Business Development Center, and he also has guest lectured for Professor James Maskulka’s Integrated Marketing Class. Stanten regularly has Lehigh students as interns at Altitude Marketing and said, “We LOVE Lehigh interns!”