Annual awards ceremony celebrates achievement and service of University’s alumni
UMass Dartmouth held its 45th Annual Alumni Awards Ceremony this past Sunday, September 27 at Lawrence Hall at the University’s Woodland Commons. Chancellor Divina Grossman joined the UMass Dartmouth community for a brunch and ceremony celebrating the achievement and service of individual alumni.
“There is no more powerful example of the quality and importance of our university than the lives this year’s honorees have led – lives of achievement and lives of service,” Chancellor Grossman said. “This year’s honorees embody the UMass Dartmouth mission. They are the proof that UMass Dartmouth can transform lives.”
2015 Alumni Association Award Recipients
James French '78
President of Panasonic R&D Company of America
Alumni Achievement Award
James “Jim” French is the president of Panasonic R&D Company of America (PRDCA), a Division Company of Panasonic Corporation of North America. Employed at Panasonic since 1995, Jim helped start up the Panasonic Semiconductor Development Company in Cupertino, CA. He also served as vice president of Operations for Panasonic Technologies, Inc. In addition to his work in Cupertino, Jim oversees laboratories in Hollywood, Salt Lake City, and Boston. Prior to Panasonic, he worked at other high technology companies, including Litton Electronic Devices and Teledyne. Jim received a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Relations from UMass Dartmouth. He now is an active member of the UMass Dartmouth Chancellor’s Advisory Council and has participated on many Alumni Panels.
Michael Joyce '85
President and Chief Executive Officer of PrimaLoft ©, Inc.
Alumni Achievement Award
Michael Joyce is the president and chief executive officer of PrimaLoft ©, Inc., a materials science company based in Latham, New York with offices in Munich, Germany and Xiamen, China. PrimaLoft © is a global leader in research and development of high performance materials, insulations and fabrics. Top brand partners include L.L.Bean, The North Face, Patagonia, Nike, Adidas, UnderArmour, Timberland, Land’s End, Polo and The Company Store. Previous to PrimaLoft ©, Michael had a 24- year career with Albany International Corp., where he held several senior management positions, including president of their applied technology group. Michael is a 1985 graduate of UMass Dartmouth with a Bachelor of Science degree in Textile Technology, and he completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.
Dr. Craig P. O'Connell '14
Founder and Director of O’Seas Conservation Foundation, Inc.
Alumni Achievement Award
Craig O’Connell is the founder and director of O’Seas Conservation Foundation, Inc.— a nonprofit focused on shark conservation research and youth education. Craig has authored over 20 scientific publications and hosted/presented episodes for the Smithsonian Channel and Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. In addition, Craig has led scientific expeditions all over the world where he developed a new conservation-based technology, known as the Sharksafe barrier— a magnetic deterrent technology that may soon become an eco-friendly alternative to the beach nets deployed in areas such as South Africa and Australia that essentially kill sharks to minimize the potential for shark incidents with surfers and swimmers. Craig completed his BA at Boston University, his MSc at Coastal Carolina University, and his PhD at UMass Dartmouth.
Dr. Joan M. Vitello-Cicciu '78
Former healthcare executive and internationally recognized author, lecturer, and researcher
Alumni Achievement Award
Dr. Joan Vitello has more than 30 years of experience in hospital organizations as a staff nurse, unit instructor, critical care clinical nurse specialist, nurse manager, nursing director and as a Chief Nurse and VP of Patient Care Service. An internationally recognized author, lecturer, and researcher, Joan has received numerous awards and recognitions in healthcare. Joan received her associate degree from Massasoit Community College, her BSN from UMass Dartmouth, and her MSN from the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) in Cardiovascular/Critical Care. She received her MA in Organizational Development and her PhD in Human and Organizational Systems from The Fielding Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California.
Greg Paciulan '99
Technical Services Manager at UMass Dartmouth
University Service Award
Greg Paciulan is the technical services manager for Campus Services at UMass Dartmouth. Greg oversees the technical services for hundreds of events each year, including Commencement, Blue and Gold Galas, Board of Trustees visits, Spring Concerts, Relay For Life, Attorney General Eric Holder’s visit to UMass Law and countless others. Greg developed his passion for technical services while working as a Student Technical Services Manager during his undergraduate degree program at UMass Dartmouth. He has created an exceptionally high standard in technical services delivery and has enhanced conference venues across campus.
Judith A. Lima '87
Vice President of the Dartmouth School Music Association
Alumni Volunteer Service Award
Judith Lima started her career in the banking industry. As the manager of Boston Five Cents Savings Bank mortgage division, she served as an underwriting supervisor, product manager, and trader of securities for their million-dollar mortgage pipeline. She currently serves as vice president of the Dartmouth School Music Association (DSMA) and is an adjunct faculty member at Bristol Community College. Judith received her bachelor’s degree from UMass Dartmouth and her master’s degree from Emmanuel College (cum laude). She is a passionate educator, wife, and mother of two children.
Caitlyn Camara '07
Vice President of BlackRock’s Institutional Client Business
Young Alumna Award
Caitlyn Camara is vice president of BlackRock’s Institutional Client Business in New York, New York. A member of the US and Canada institutional team, she is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with institutional investors, including public and private pension plans, foundations, and endowments. Caitlyn joined BlackRock in 2010. She previously worked as an investment analyst at New York Life Investment Management, where she was responsible for assisting corporate clients with their retirement plan asset allocations and analysis in the fund selection process. Caitlyn earned a BS degree in finance from UMass Dartmouth in 2007.
2015 UMass Law Alumni Association Award Recipients
Robert A. Mellion, Esq., JD '07
President, CEO, and General Counsel of the Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Professional Achievement Award
Robert A. Mellion is President, CEO, and General Counsel of the Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He has supported more than $500 million in infrastructure investment projects in the SouthCoast region of Massachusetts, including the SouthCoast Life Science and Technology Park in Fall River, a public law school in Massachusetts, and the expansion of commercial rail freight operations throughout the SouthCoast. Robert received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska, his master’s degree from Providence College, and his Juris Doctor degree from the Southern New England School of Law, now UMass Law.
Leslie Becker Wilson, Esq.
Director of Legal Career Services and Alumni Services at UMass Law
Alumni Ambassador Award
Leslie Becker Wilson is the director of Legal Career Services and Alumni Services at the University of Massachusetts School of Law. Leslie manages the law school’s Pro Bono Program and is a member of the Public Interest Law Fellowship and Public Interest Summer Stipend Committees. In 2006, Leslie helped reconstitute the law school’s Alumni Association, designed to serve as a lifelong resource to alumni, and to encourage alumni to participate in public service initiatives and contribute to the continued excellence of UMass Law. Leslie is the current President of the Northeast Law School Career Consortium. She is also an active member of the Massachusetts Legal Recruiters Association.
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Alumni Association Awards Ceremony was created to give recognition to those alumni and members of the administration, faculty or staff who have been outstanding in their service to the university or in their career accomplishments. This event is sponsored by UMass Dartmouth Alumni Association.
UMass Dartmouth distinguishes itself as a vibrant public university actively engaged in personalized teaching and innovative research, and acting as an intellectual catalyst for regional economic, social, and cultural development. UMass Dartmouth's mandate to serve its community is realized through countless partnerships, programs, and other outreach efforts to engage the community, and apply its knowledge to help address local issues and empower others to facilitate change for all.