2010 Alumni Difference Makers announced

October 11, 2010

UM-Dearborn Difference Makers logoFor more than 30 years, UM-Dearborn has honored outstanding alumni for their contributions to the University and community. These men and women are "difference makers" who have continued the University's legacy of leadership in their lives and careers. A selection committee of alumni, faculty, staff and students went through a rigorous process to review all the outstanding nominations and select the award recipients. The 2010 Alumni Difference Makers are:

Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
Ismael Ahmed ('75 CASL, '09 HLLD) is the director of the Michigan Department of Human Services and a nationally-recognized advocate for children, the poor and the underserved, as well as an expert in immigration and social reform.

Alumni Service Award
Joseph LaRussa ('99, '03 CECS) has served on the Alumni Society Board for 11 years, and as its chair for two years. During his tenure, LaRussa was instrumental in growing the Alumni Legacy Scholarship endowment,

Young Alumnus of the Year
Christy Baas ('01 CASL) is manager of Global Branding and Media at the international law firm of Miller Canfield. She also is co-founder of Vibe Fit, a fitness company serving metropolitan Detroit.

Ledian Dibra ('08 CECS) is an associate engineer with DTE Energy. In this position he has personally coordinated more than 40 co-op and internship opportunities for UM-Dearborn students.

School of Education Alumnus of the Year
Toni Simovski ('97 CASL, '01 SOE) has been a faculty member for 12 years at South Lyon High School, where he teaches AP American Government. He has earned numerous awards for his innovative teaching, including 2007 Michigan Civic Educator of the Year and 2009 Michigan Social Studies Educator of the Year.

College of Engineering and Computer Science Alumnus of the Year
Janet Hall ('68 CECS, '90 COB) was the first female graduate from the College and had a long and distinguished career in manufacturing until her retirement in 2002.

College of Business Alumnus of the Year
Ricardo Kisner
('74 COB) has spent much of the 30 years of his career serving local and regional government entities. In March 2009, he returned from Illinois to his hometown to assume the position of chief financial officer for the Detroit Public Schools.

College of Arts, Science and Letters Alumnus of the Year
Anthony Viscogliosi
('84 CASL) has more than 25 years of experience in the orthopedic industry as an accomplished founder, entrepreneur, CEO, board member, leading Wall Street analyst, banker, global financier, author, visionary and lecturer.

Join the UM-Dearborn community in honoring the Alumni Difference Makers, Friday, Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. in the Institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems (IAVS) Building. To RSVP or for more information visit www.umd.umich.edu/alumniawards.

Photographs for above slideshow by Rachel Shomsky