Nov. 13, 2006

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences honors outstanding alumni and faculty/staff

A senior investment executive who has twice been recognized as one of Maryland's Top 100 Women; a geneticist who led the development of the first molecular map of the rice genome; and a professor of plant breeding who introduced almost 20 new potato varieties. These three were among the alumni honored at a banquet sponsored by the alumni association of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) on Nov. 10.

This year's Outstanding Alumni Award winners are:

Marie Van Deusen '74, senior vice president for wealth management for Smith Barney Citigroup, for being a trailblazer for women in the field of financial services and mentoring young women to follow in her stead. Van Deusen also initiated a program to assist low-income people in enrolling in Medicaid, income tax preparation, finding affordable housing and getting legal assistance.

George F. Lamont '57, partner and former president of Lamont Fruit Farm Inc., one of New York's top-10 fruit farms, for working at the forefront of innovation in his business and leading the industry in orchard management, fruit storage, packing and marketing advances.

Frank J. O'Connell '65, MBA '66, a senior partner with the Parthenon Group in Boston, management consultants to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and private equity firms, for his work in investing in and raising capital for entrepreneurial ventures with leading-edge technology and mentoring their management teams.

Marian K. Rippy, M.S. '79, president of Rippy Pathology Solutions Inc., which provides pathology services to the medical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, for her work studying the pathogenesis of hemorrhagic fever viruses and ricin intoxication in nonhuman primates.

G. Harris Wilcox '43, chairman of Harris Wilcox Inc., a company he started in 1952 and has developed into one of the premier farm real estate and appraisal firms in New York state, for his work as one of the nation's most outstanding livestock and farm sale managers and auctioneers.

The Outstanding Faculty Award recipients are:

Susan R. McCouch, Ph.D. '90, associate professor of plant breeding with a joint appointment in plant biology and a special appointment in CALS International Programs, for her internationally recognized research in rice genomics and her deep commitment to the teaching, research and extension values of Cornell.

Robert L. Plaisted '50, professor emeritus of plant breeding, for his leadership in helping the plant breeding department maintain worldwide prominence in plant breeding and for his work in helping to develop nearly 20 potato varieties and breeding lines.

The winner of this year's Young Alumni Achievement Award is Elia Colon-Mallah '88, DVM '92, assistant academic chair of Allied Health Sciences and director of the Veterinary Science Technology (VST) program at Suffolk County Community College, for her leadership in transforming the VST program into one of the best veterinary technology programs in the country.

Samantha Wickham '08 is a communication major in CALS.