News Alumni: Corsairs honored: 51st Alumni Awards celebrate extraordinary excellence

News Alumni: Corsairs honored: 51st Alumni Awards celebrate extraordinary excellence
Corsairs honored: 51st Alumni Awards celebrate extraordinary excellence

Students, faculty, alumni, and friends of UMass Dartmouth convened in the Marketplace on campus to honor five Corsairs for their outstanding professional and community contributions.

Recipients and Chancellor Mark Fuller
From left to right: Chancellor Mark Fuller; Haim Gal Moore '18; Frederick Lebow '67; James DeMello; Frank Scarano; and Paula Cruz '14, MS '21

The UMass Dartmouth Alumni Association held the 51st annual Alumni Awards on April 17 to acknowledge the remarkable achievements of five Corsairs who have hearts of blue and gold: Paula Cruz ’14, MS ’21; Haim Gal Moore ’18; Frank Scarano, MLS chairperson; Frederick Lebow ’67; and James DeMello, longtime friend and supporter of UMass Dartmouth.

Each awardee exemplifies the mission and values of the university and bring honor to the Corsair community. Their professional activities shine a light on the transformative power of a UMass Dartmouth education and their enduring commitment to making a positive difference in their communities and beyond.

“UMass Dartmouth is a research university, which I believe improves the quality of the education at the classroom. We create knowledge. We involve students in that knowledge creation,” said Chancellor Mark Fuller to begin the awards ceremony. “The tremendous achievements on this campus and at all great institutions are built on the shoulders of the graduates such as our award recipients tonight.”

Honorees were introduced by members of the Student Alumni Association, a symbolic encounter that upholds the connection current students have with successful alumni and members of the UMassD community.

Fuller speaks to crowd
Chancellor Fuller addressed a packed room to kick of the 51st annual Alumni Awards.

I know a lot of people think that volunteering involves me giving myself to someone else, but I've learned that volunteering has given me a lot over time. I’ve met beautiful souls and some awesome people,” remarked Paula Cruz ’14, MS ’21, who received the Alumni Volunteer Service Award for her volunteer service trips to Taiwan, China, Ghana, and the Dominican Republic as a nurse practitioner. She currently works at Boston Children’s Hospital in the colorectal pelvic malformation center.

“I’ve learned who I was as a person,” continued Cruz. “If I were to talk to the Paula who had a lot of self-doubt and an uncertain future from ten years ago, I would tell her that you’re going to get through all of the hardships, thanks to the most amazing support system that I found at UMass Dartmouth.”

Haim Gal Moore ’18 was presented with the Rising Star Award for his early career achievements researching cancer treatments at the Broad Institute of Cambridge and Gamma Delta T cells in colorectal cancer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He’s currently a second-year medical student at UMass Chan Medical School and undergoing clinical rotations to pursue a career in healthcare.

“Right before this, I went to Mirasol’s Café, a student favorite. I got their signature drink, the Chippi, and I forgot how much caffeine is in it. I'm a little wired up!” joked Moore in his acceptance speech. “I want to start by saying thank you to UMass Dartmouth. I’m truly honored to be here and receive this award. This is my first time back to campus since I graduated during the winter session in 2018, and I actually didn’t get a chance to walk at graduation. That’s been a regret of mine, so today is extra special for that reason.”

Medical Laboratory Science chairperson and professor Frank Scarano was selected as this year’s recipient of the Faculty/Staff Recognition Award, bestowed to the best and brightest leaders of our university. His dedication to paving paths of success for students makes him a favorite among all aspiring medical laboratory scientists at UMass Dartmouth.

“I am truly honored to be chosen for this award. I think it’s a wonderful coincidence that this ceremony today is in the middle of National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week,” said Scarano, earning a few hoots and hollers from the MLS alumni who were once his students. They gave Scarano a heartwarming surprise with their attendance, vowing to show support for the mentor that guided them during their studies.

As an educator, my focus is always on our students,” he continued. “Keeping our students at the center of what we do is essential for everything, and I feel very fortunate to have found a career path that has allowed me to combine my love for clinical microbiology and medical laboratory science with my love for teaching.”

Alumni board, SAA, recipients
From left to right: Diane Phillips '84; Olivia DeSimone '27; Cole Perrault '26; Haim Gal Moore '18; Jenna Taveras '25; Frederick Lebow '67; James DeMello; Frank Scarano; Paula Cruz '14, MS '21; Anthony Buttafoco '24; Joshua Bernadin '24; and Chancellor Mark Fuller.

As the Alumni Achievement Award recipient, Frederick Lebow ’67 undoubtedly had an extensive engineering career that brought him limitless success and contributed to the advancement of technology. For the past 41 years, he’s been the founder and president of FSL Associates, an engineering firm providing environmental, civil, and forensic services.

“Thank you to the Alumni Relations Office, who called me up one day and asked me if I wanted a UMass Dartmouth diploma to replace my SMU diploma,” Lebow said in his speech. “I said, ‘Well, will I have to take more classes?’ A small donation later, and here I am in front of all of you. Thank you so much. I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.”

A loyal friend of UMass Dartmouth and Blue and Gold Legacy Award honoree, James DeMello has always put education at the forefront of his mission as a leading community figure of the SouthCoast. Aside from his prosperous career as a chemical engineer, he founded the DeMello International Center for Business and Education located in downtown New Bedford to raise awareness for the region’s scholastic and economic development.

“In 1990, I was promoted to president of Acushnet Rubber Company, and I couldn’t believe someone from New Bedford could make it in that position,” said DeMello, who’s also deeply connected to his Portuguese heritage. He is a proud supporter of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences’ Bridging the Atlantic program, an international alliance in community health among American and Azorean nursing students and faculty. “I can tell you this: in every part of my home, my father and mother would talk about one thing, and that was education. Without it, I wouldn’t be successful.”

Upon the completion of the ceremony, the room buzzed with excitement as guests mingled between sips of beer and wine. Passing appetizers were served as the Get Lucky Band played live music and photos were taken to capture this very special moment.

As a cherished tradition that dates back to 1970, the 51st annual Alumni Awards represents the university’s unyielding commitment to recognizing and celebrating its distinguished community members that are trailblazers of success and change. Each and every year, our recipients inspire future generations of Corsairs to strive for greatness in and out of the classroom while making us proud to be UMass Dartmouth.