Alumni News - February 2020

One Last Look Back…

Case Western Reserve University President Barbara R. Snyder’s
State of the University 2019.

New Appointments on Campus

Photo of Robert Solomon, vice president for inclusion, diversity and equal opportunity, and Joy K. Ward, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Robert Solomon (left), an Akron, Ohio, native who previously served as The Ohio State University’s assistant provost for diversity and inclusion, was appointed Case Western Reserve’s new vice president for inclusion, diversity and equal opportunity. Meet Mr. Solomon>>

Joy K. Ward (right), an associate dean for research and dean’s professor at the University of Kansas was appointed the next dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She will begin her new role on July 1. Welcome Dr. Ward >>

We Have an Affinity for You!

Reflecting diverse interests and backgrounds, our affinity groups—people connected by a common interest or goal—contribute to leadership development, policy formation and advocacy events and activities, while providing personal and professional networking opportunities for members. 

Find Out the Latest When You Follow our Affinity Groups on Facebook!

African American Alumni Association >>

Latino Alumni Network >>

Pride Alumni Network >>

Re-Cap: CWRU @ CES 2020

Venkataramanan “Ragu” Balakrishnan, Charles H. Phipps Dean, Case School of Engineering, meets with a CWRU student on the floor of CES 2020.

As a devotee of sci-fi movies and a tech follower, once I arrived at CES® 2020 I didn’t know where to begin. I felt like a kid in a candy store! To me, the year 2020 has always felt like some far off date where I expected to see flying cars, robots that understood our needs and helped with our daily routine, and paper thin computer screens. CES® 2020 provided those and so much more!

Celebrating 50 years of innovation and technology,  CES® showcased more than 20,000 products and welcomed more than 175,000 attendees, including 4,400 exhibiting companies. The more than 2.9 million square feet of exhibit space is more than anyone could take in during this single week, but that didn’t stop me from trying.

While artificial intelligence, IoT connected devices, 5G and mobile connectivity were a dominant presence throughout many exhibits, there was a wide array of presenters. However, there were a few that stopped me in my tracks: an augmented reality punching bag stood out as it reacted to my movement as I threw punches; on-demand helicopters, similar to the current app-based rideshare companies; an at-home-brewery product similar to single-serve coffee pod devices; and a flat panel TV which rolled up when not in use.

Some of the most impressive innovations were found in the twelve booths made up by CWRU’s presence in the “University Innovations” aisle at CES’s Eureka Park. To learn more about the CWRU booths at CES, please read The Daily article which featured each of the presenters.

The interactions between presenters and attendees was certainly a sight to behold and the potential all of these innovations possess is staggering. CES® 2020 did not disappoint - I certainly felt like the future has arrived!

Kris Reiber
Assistant Director, Chapter & Regional Programming
The Alumni Association of CWRU

Photo: Venkataramanan “Ragu” Balakrishnan (left), Charles H. Phipps Dean, Case School of Engineering, meets with a CWRU student at CES 2020.

CWRU Engages Entrepreneurs

Michael Goldberg

President Barbara R. Snyder and Provost Ben Vinson III recently announced the appointment of the Weatherhead School of Management’s Michael Goldberg as the inaugural executive director of the university’s Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship. Launched through support from the Veale Foundation, the institute will serve as Case Western Reserve’s preeminent hub for entrepreneurship—leading its own programming and activities while also working with individual schools and campus organizations. The institute also will serve as an entry point for those beyond the campus who want to learn more about the university’s initiatives, which include academic offerings and extracurricular activities as well as product and business development. Learn more here >>

As part of their programming, The Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship has created an Alumni Speaker Series featuring CWRU alumni entrepreneurs. The community is invited to stream these interviews live and participate in the conversation by submitting questions online. In January, the first installment of the Alumni Speaker Series featured Mike Fisher, MBA (MGT ‘00; GRS ‘13, management), Chief Technology Officer of Etsy and a dual CWRU alumnus. Fisher discussed his career journey, entrepreneurship and two-sided marketplaces in a conversation facilitated by current CWRU student Nsisong Udosen, who is pursuing her BA in Human-Computer Interaction and Business Management. Watch the first installment of the Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship Alumni Speaker Series here. >>

The second conversation will feature Halle Tecco (MGT '06), Founder and CEO of Natalist on February 12 at noon (EST). 

Later this month, don't miss Joe Mandato (MGT '04), Senior Advisor, Mainsail Partners, on February 20, 6-7 p.m.

Follow The Alumni Association on Facebook for updates about these events and links to future interviews. 

CWRU Alumni Receive Caregiver Catalyst Awards from Cleveland Clinic

Twice a year, caregivers from across the Cleveland Clinic apply for Caregiver Catalyst Grants, ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. Through a competitive process, these one-time grants are awarded to the project proposals that show the most promise for making an impact within one year, at the end of which caregivers must report on their progress and return unused funds.

In January, 20 caregivers were selected and funded through this program. Of the 20 selected, five are CWRU graduates:

  • Carl Tyler, MD (GRS '99, family medicine) 
  • Louie Hendon III, BSME (CWR '97)   
  • Jennifer Bayer, MSSA (SAS '97)
  • Amy Colver, MA, MSSA (SAS '12, GRS '12, bioethics)
  • Reena Mehra, MD, MS (GRS '04)

Learn more about the grant recipients and their ideas >

Love Is in the Air at the Linsalata Alumni Center

Missing media item.

In 2019, Allysen (CWR '10) and Matt (CWR '09) Shaughnessy (pictured above) claimed a piece of CWRU history by purchasing an engraved paver stone on the Linsalata Alumni Center courtyard. Not long after, in May 2019, they stood on top of that paver and said, "We do."

A photo of the Foster-Castele Great Hall at the Linsalata Alumni Center, full of tables set for a wedding reception

In November 2019, CWRU employee
Victoria Avi (CWRU LaunchNET),
hosted a gorgeous, autumnal reception
in the Foster-Castele Great Hall.

Celebrate with us >>  

Alumni Around the World Can Connect with Current Students Studying Abroad

Photo of three people, posed and smiling for the camera

Dozens of CWRU students are broadening their global perspective this spring by studying around the world. A total of 86 students are spending their semester studying in 19 different countries, with Spain and the United Kingdom as the most popular destinations. The Netherlands, Denmark and Australia are all hosting multiple CWRU students this semester as well! Another 24 students are spending the entire 2019-2020 academic year abroad - half are undergraduates and half are from the School of Law.

Created by the Center for International Affairs and The Alumni Association, CWRU's Study Abroad Alumni Connections brings international alumni together with current students pursuing study abroad opportunities. Alumni can play an important role in helping students adapt to life and learning outside the United States, and hear a current student’s perspective on CWRU.

To start the discussion, students and alumni are matched via email either before the student’s departure or during their international stay. As conversations continue, students and alumni may arrange meet-ups, including ones that allow alumni to show-off their country to student visitors. Depending on class size, a group dinner for students and local alumni may be arranged.

Matches are made for the duration of the student’s study abroad program, ranging from one academic year to one semester. Alumni who are interested in connecting with study abroad students can contact Chamois Williams, Director, Alumni Engagement.

Volunteer for Spring 2020 >

Happy Lunar New Year!

Happy New Year 2020 - the year of the rat - picture of a red rat

Each spring, Case Western Reserve University looks forward to welcoming students back to campus where they re-engage with their classmates and create new connections with faculty and staff. As everyone returns to campus for another semester of learning and research, we wish you a happy Lunar New Year.

Case Western Reserve University continues to grow in life-changing research, increased scholarship and extraordinary learning opportunities for our students. We work diligently to maintain these opportunities and explore new ways to engage our students on a global scale. These efforts are critical as we ensure that our students continue to receive a high-level, high-impact education from a top-tier institution.

In this new year, we encourage you to stay in touch with us! To learn more about our current activities and ways to stay engaged, please visit our website. From all of us at Case Western Reserve University, we wish you a healthy and prosperous Lunar New Year. If you wish to learn more about our global programs, please contact Tiarra Thomas, Assistant Director of Special Projects at

Writers Take Center Stage at CWRU

William N. Skirball Writers Center Stage Sixteenth Season 2019-2020 logo - white and brown banner with vintage typewriter image at the center

The William N. Skirball Writers Center Stage Series brings the literary world's best writers to Cleveland. The 2019-2020 series is presented by the Cuyahoga County Public Library Foundation and Case Western Reserve University, with funds raised by this series supporting Cuyahoga County Public Library, the nation's top-rated library system for nine consecutive years. Read up on this special program >>

Think Forum - Free Lectures at CWRU

Think Forum written on a blue banner in light blue font

Case Western Reserve University invites the campus and Greater Cleveland community to engage with prominent academic leaders and international experts through the Think Forum lecture series. Held at the Maltz Performing Arts Center, this free speaker series features two fall and two spring events. Think about attending our two spring events >>

Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation Featured Harvard History Professor

Khalil Gibran Muhammad speaks at the MLK Convocation at CWRU

The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation was held in the Tinkham Veale University Center on Friday, January 17 and attended by more than 600 members of the university and Cleveland community. The audience included current students, local high school groups and members of the African American Alumni Association. 

Racial justice scholar and Harvard History Professor Khalil Gibran Muhammad was the event's keynote speaker. Muhammad’s scholarship examines the broad intersections of race, democracy, inequality and criminal justice in modern U.S. history. He is the author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America; has appeared in several popular documentaries, including Ava DuVernay’s Netflix feature, 13th, and Slavery By Another Name (PBS); and is a contributor to The New York Times viral 1619 Project. 

For the convocation, Muhammad delivered the lecture Diversity is Not Enough: How Bias Education Makes Us Smarter, Fairer and Kinder, focusing on the importance of education and the need to teach our nation's true history so that we understand the relationship of slavery to the present and move towards greater racial equity. The convocation also included the State of Diversity address by Dr. Joy Bostic, Interim Vice President of the Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity, and the release of the annual Case Western Reserve University Diversity Report.
Photo credit: Daniel Milner

Weatherhead School of Management Travels to Mumbai

CWRU Alumni Gather for an Event in Mumbai, India

On January 11, alumni in Mumbai gathered to meet with Scott Shane, PhD, Professor of Economics at Case Western Reserve's Weatherhead School of Management, and Weatherhead alumnus Vikram Gupta, MBA (MGT ‘01). Shane presented thoughts on securing startup capital and pitching potential investors. While in town, Shane also delivered a keynote at a conference of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, an institute in the field of engineering education and research.

African American-Focused Mobile Museum Visited Campus

African American Alumni Association members pose with a display contributed to the Mobile Black History Museum that visited the CWRU campus.

On January 25, the Black Student Union and the African American Alumni Association (AAAA) co-sponsored The Black History 101 Mobile Museum, an award-winning collection containing more than 7,000 original artifacts of Black memorabilia dating from the trans-Atlantic slave trade era to hip-hop culture. During the program, audience members of all ages viewed artifacts which communicated the trials and triumphs of blacks in American history, pointed out parallels in today’s United States, and challenged people to participate in lasting solutions for recurring problems. 

A display, courtesy of the AAAA, Exhibits Coordinator Scholarly Resources & Special Collections with Kelvin Smith Library Elizabeth Meinke, and CWRU archives, as well as photos provided by Gwendolyn Johnson and the Juneteenth Committee, featured CWRU black history, including student activism from the 1960s through 2018 and notable alumni from 1836 through the 1990s.  “Imagine how hard it must have been for them back then, yet they graduated," a student mused. “That gives me hope.” 

Slides, shackles, and other artifacts, from slavery through Jim Crow, the Hip Hop Movement and into the present, linked the past with current issues of social justice in Professor Griff’s Black History 101 Mobile Museum. 

"I enjoyed talking to everyone,” said AAAA Communications Chair Linda Berry Wheatt (FSM ’72, GRS ’77).  “Students were surprised to find out that my experiences on campus fifty years ago were not very different from theirs today. Our students are academically savvy and socially conscious. If you get a chance to connect with them when you come to campus, I’m sure you’ll be impressed." 

Photo (l to r): Fred Wheatt, Linda Berry Wheatt (FSM ‘72, GRS ‘77), Massado Ngompe, Kira Reed, Okiemute Eyemaro, Tiarra Thomas (CWR ‘12), Tameya Scott, Professor Griff, Black Student Union President Aliah Lawson, AAAA President Vera Perkins-Hughes (WRC ‘76) and Levite Pierre.

Power of Diversity Lecture: Eric Liu, author and CEO of Citizen University

Eric Liu

On February 25, the public is invited to attend the engaging lecture, Become America: How to Revive Our Belief in Democracy, featuring Eric Liu, CEO of Citizen University, author and civic evangelist, at CWRU's Tinkham Veale University Center. 

Liu is a nationally recognized speaker on topics such as citizen power, civic health, the future of democracy and American identity. He is the CEO of Citizen University, a nonprofit that fosters responsible citizenship, and executive director of the Aspen Institute's Citizenship & American Identity Program. He is the author of the books You're More Powerful than You Think: A Citizen's Guide to Making Change Happen; Becoming America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility and Democracy; and The Accidental Asian: Notes of Native Speaker.

Sponsored by the CWRU Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity. 

Register for this free event >> 

Hope to see you this summer!  

A group picture of Summer on the Cuyahoga, featuring Cleveland-area interns with the Cleveland skyline in the background.

The Summer on the Cuyahoga (SOTC) internship program needs your help in showcasing Cleveland's exciting opportunities to current Case Western Reserve University students.
Approximately 10 select CWRU students will be participating in SOTC, a unique program that combines a summer internship with an immersive, Cleveland-centric experience. This program is driven by alumni volunteers like you. We hope we can count on your involvement.

SOTC is open to students of Case Western Reserve, Colgate, Cornell, Denison, Oberlin, Ohio Wesleyan, Smith and University of Chicago. The program brings together 50-70 students for an intensive summer immersion program designed to help interns explore the professional, civic and social offerings of the Cleveland area. SOTC offers students challenging internships, community introductions, alumni connections and group housing for the summer. In partnership with employers and community leaders, the program showcases the region's abundant opportunities to the student participants. The goal is to attract talented graduates for full-time positions in the region. Study up on SOTC >>

Volunteering Opportunities for Alumni:

  • Provide short-term housing for interns (homestay)
  • Offer friendship and mentoring to an intern (alumni host)
  • Host an SOTC event

As an SOTC volunteer, you are invited to special events throughout the summer - creating wonderful opportunities to network with Cleveland-area professionals who share a common passion for attracting young talent to this area, including SOTC Board members and volunteers and representatives from the corporations who employ SOTC interns.

If you would like to volunteer this year, please complete this survey to confirm your specific interests.

African American Artists Featured in Alumni Exhibition

African American Art work: Jerome T. White's Scars and Stripes oil painting; Anna Arnold's Madonna and Child in the Garden sculpture

African American Alumni Art Exhibition, sponsored by the Case Western Reserve University Art Education Program, will be on view at the university’s Art Studio (2215 Adelbert Road). The free exhibit is open to the public February 8 until March 6. Curated by Tim Shuckerow, director of Art Education and Art Studio for the College of Arts and Sciences of Case Western Reserve, the exhibit features works, including paintings, drawings, photographs, textiles and masks, by Anna Arnold (GRS ‘10, art education), Gina Brent (GRS ’92, art education), Danny Carver (GRS ‘81, art history; GRS ‘94, art education), Napoleon Dismuke (GRS ‘01, art education), faculty member Sandra Noble, Cecelia Price (GRS ‘19, art education), Georgio Sabino (GRS ‘09, art education), Travis Williams (GRS ‘17, art education), Jerome White (GRS ‘94, art education) and Tucker White (GRS ‘91, art education).

Register for the free opening reception on February 8, 5-8 p.m. here>> 

Photos: Scars and Stripes by Jerome T. White; Madonna and Child in the Garden by Anna Arnold

Case School of Engineering Celebrates Engineer Week: From Case to Space 

Astronaut Don Thomas (CIT '77) in his astronaut suit

This year's Engineers Week at CWRU, February 17-23, includes competitions, challenges and a keynote address by Don Thomas (CIT '77) during the annual Engineers Week Reception. Thomas will discuss his journey from boyhood dreams to becoming a NASA astronaut and flying on four Space Shuttle Missions, as well as share his experiences of living and working in space as well as some of his favorite views of Earth.
Explore From Case to Space >> 

Cleveland Hillel Hosts Author and Trans Activist 

Black and white portrait of author and activist Abby Stein

Abby Chava Stein is a tenth-generation descendant of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Hasidic movement and a trans activist. Her first book, Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman, was recently published by Seal Press. Cleveland Hillel will host an evening with Stein on February 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the Thwing Ballroom. 

Purchase tickets for this exciting event >>

Offer Current Students Your Career Insight March 9-13

Photo of two people in scrubs wearing face masks in an operating room

Career Connections gives first and second year undergraduate students the opportunity to shadow alumni in the student's area of geographical and career interest over the student's spring break. 

We are looking for alumni hosts who could offer one day or half-day shadowing opportunities during the week of March 9-13. If you are interested, please sign up through the Alumni Career Network by simply checking off the "Shadowing for Career Connections" option on your profile, under ways you would like to engage. Please do this as soon as possible, as we begin matching students in the next few weeks.

If you have any questions, please contact Laura Papcum, Assistant Director, Alumni Career Services, Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education.

Celebrate Holi, the Festival of Colors, on April 5


Students celebrate Holi on the CWRU campus with colorful powders.

Join CWRU for a colorful dance party on Sunday, April 5 in celebration of Holi! Known as the festival of colors, Holi celebrations consist of throwing colored powder and water at others. The event celebrates the arrival of spring and thanksgiving for a good harvest. Though primarily celebrated in India and Nepal, Holi is observed in many other countries throughout Southeast Asia and around the world.


All are invited to CWRU’s Holi celebration which will feature lots of colored powder, Indian street food, water games, music and other traditions. This free event will take place on Freiberger Field from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, April 5. CWRU’s Holi event is sponsored by The Center for International Affairs, The Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Office of the Provost and First Year Experience. The celebration is made possible with the help of the Undergraduate Indian Students Association and other student organizations.

Find more information about Holi here:

Opportunities for Lifelong Learning

The Siegal Lifelong Learning Program connects the academic world and Northeast Ohio's wider community through innovative and engaging programming. Adults of all ages are invited to pursue their love of learning by participating in courses and lectures with internationally renowned scholars and local experts who share their cutting-edge research and current topics of interest.


A wooden table on which sits a jar of honey and a pestle and mortar containing herbs and flowers.

Learn about integrative medicine therapies and services that work in conjunction with traditional medical treatments to heal the mind, body & spirit. Led by physicians from University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network, these plain-spoke lectures run on Mondays, March 2-30 at University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network in Warrensville Heights, Ohio. Each session includes dinner, followed by the lecture and Q&A session. Participants are invited to sign up for one or all. For details, pricing and registration, visit 


The Nobel Prize medallion

This series highlights each of the six Nobel Prize winners from 2019. CWRU leading experts in related fields, many of whom have professional ties to the prize winners, will present an overview of the Nobel Laureate, their research and why they were ultimately awarded a Nobel Prize. This series runs on Tuesdays, March 3-April 7 at the Landmark Centre Building in Beachwood, Ohio. Participants are invited to sign up for one or all.
For details, pricing and registration, visit