Distinguished Alumni Award

At our annual banquet, we honor an alumnus from the Rochester area as our Distinguished Alumni Award (DAA) recipient. The Club makes a donation to our scholarship fund in the recipient's name.

The recipient shall be:

  • a living graduate of Syracuse University at either the undergraduate, graduate or doctoral level

  • a resident of the greater Rochester area

  • recognized by their peers for his/her contributions to their chosen profession

  • recognized by their peers for using their education, time and talents for the betterment of their community and Syracuse University


2020 Nominations will open in 2020 (exact date T.B.D.)



Recent Award Winners


Amie Freling Brown in bedroom (1).jpg

2019 recipient - Amie Freling Brown ‘89

Amie has used her creativity to build a successful business and influence design around the world through her social media empire.  She was recently named one of the 5 Rochester Influencers to follow. She has thousands of followers via Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and her blog, “Meme Hill”. She was amazed when photos of a basement re-modeling projects received 26,000 likes in just hours!

In 2018, she was the winner of the Home Depot Think Tank Competition and she’s been named a “Better Homes and Gardens Style Maker” for three years in a row.  Her work has been featured on HGTV and in national magazines, yet she still finds time to give back to her community. She donated a complete home makeover for a breast cancer patient for Breast Cancer Awareness month.  She also went back to her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma and did a makeover of the President’s Room in time for move-in day.

2018 recipient - Dr James Miller
G'91, Ph.D '98

For the past forty years, Dr. Miller has led a distinguished career in the field of higher education. As Senior Vice President for Enrollment Management and Career Services at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), he plays a crucial role in the strategic planning and leadership of the university. He is an active member of many professional organizations working in the field of higher education, serves on multiple boards/committees of local nonprofits, and is a longtime donor to SU's School of Education.



2017 recipient - JaIme Saunders G'05

Jaime Saunders is the President & CEO of the United Way of Greater Rochester.  Before joining the United Way, Jaime served as the President & CEO of Willow Domestic Violence Center; an Associate Director for the nonprofit research and consulting firm, Center for Governmental Research (CGR); and served as the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Operations for Foodlink, the regional food bank.

Saunders holds a Masters of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Whittier College in California.

2016 recipient - Mike vadala '81

Mike Vadala, President and CEO of The Summit Federal Credit Union, is known to all of us for his professional accomplishments and service to the University and to our community.

He has served on:

  • the SU Athletic Policy Board

  • the Board of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions from 1997 to 2006, becoming Chairman in 2005

  • the ’Cuse Council

  • a loyal member of the Rochester alumni club for many years

Mike is a generous contributor to many local charities — including the Leukemia Society, The March of Dimes, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the United Way — and to our Club’s own scholarship fund.

A person of many talents — Mike’s band, Different Every Time, plays regularly in the Rochester area. In 2015, Mike founded the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic, an LPGA Symetra Tour event, which is gearing up for its second go this summer.

Mike is a model for using his time, talents and Syracuse education in service to others.



2015 Recipient - Robert duffy G'98

Bob Duffy joined the Rochester Police Department in 1976, and became our Police Chief in 1998. He left that post to run for mayor, an office he held from 2006 until 2011, when he became our Lieutenant Governor. He returned to Rochester in January of 2015 to become the President and CEO of the Rochester Business Alliance.

No stranger to academia, Bob holds 2 degrees from Monroe
Community College, a Bachelor of Science degree from RIT, and
a Master of Arts Degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship
and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Bob is a model for using his time, talents and Syracuse education
in public service to our community. 

2014 recipient - terry mangurian skuse G'75

Terry received a master’s degree in 1975 from the college of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), and had a career that included teaching interior design at RIT, and working as a designer for Mangurians Furniture. She and her husband John have two sons, Brian and Jeffrey, who also graduated from VPA in 2004 and 2005. They are a family with a passion for all things Orange!

Here are just a few of the ways that Terry has given of her time and talents:

  • she has served on the VPA Advisory Council since 2009, providing input and advice regarding the needs of the College

  • provided a leadership gift for the indoor football practice facility for the Athletic Department at Manley Field House

  • Through the Harry T. Mangurian Foundation, helping to fund the renovations to Sims Hall, which houses the department of Communications and Rhetorical Studies at VPA

  • lead the fundraising effort to redesign and replace the SU Marching Band uniforms



2013 Recipient - Pat Stark '54

Pat led the Orangemen to their first Bowl Bid in 1953 where they faced Bart Starr and Alabama in the Orange Bowl. He later returned as QBs Coach under Ben Schwartzwalder and helped lead Syracuse to the National Championship in 1959.

He moved back to Rochester in 1969 to become the head coach of the University of Rochester Yellowjackets for 13 years.

Pat was inducted into the Syracuse University Letter Winner of Distinction Hall of Fame in 1991, the Greater Syracuse Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Frontier Field Walk of Fame in 2000.