MELBOURNE, FLA. — They are a pilot and a consultant, a business executive and a physician, a communicator and a professor, a meteorologist and a financial advisor.
Their professions are varied, but in their excellence, achievements and standing as proud Florida Tech Panthers, there is unity. And now, another connection: These eight notable individuals are all winners of the university’s top alumni honors.
The Jerome P. Keuper Distinguished Alumni Award, the President’s Award for Service and Leadership, the GOLD Ad Astra Alumni Award and Outstanding Alumni Awards from each of Florida Tech’s four colleges were presented at the university’s annual Alumni Awards Gala on March 25 in the Clemente Center.
Here’s a look at the winners.
Jerome P. Keuper Distinguished Alumni Award
Recipient: Svafa Grönfeldt, Ph.D. ’95 MS
Grönfeldt is a professor of the practice at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she is a founding member and faculty director of MITdesignX, an academic program dedicated to design innovation and entrepreneurship. She is also a co-founder of The MET fund, a Cambridge-based seed investment fund providing early seed funding to qualified MITdesignX startups.
A member of the Florida Tech Board of Trustees since 2017, Grönfeldt holds a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics, an M.S. in technical and professional communications from Florida Tech, where she was the 2010 Outstanding Alumni Award winner from the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts, and a B.A. in political science and mass media from the University of Iceland.
GOLD Ad Astra Alumni Award
Recipient: Angie Lassman ’12 BS, ’14 MS
Angie Lassman, an American Meteorological Society-Certified broadcast meteorologist for the NBC News Climate Unit, is the recipient of the 2023 Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) award. She covers weather and climate across NBC News platforms, including Weekend Today, MSNBC and NBC News Now.
Prior to her work at NBC News, Angie spent six years in Miami as part of the NBC 6 First Alert Weather Team, where she created the NBC 6 Climate Check Series, covering environmental issues, natural disasters and tropical systems, locally and globally. A native of Fraser, Michigan, Angie was recruited to play volleyball for Florida Tech and graduated in 2012 with a B.S. in meteorology, later earning an M.S. in meteorology.
President’s Award for Service & Leadership
Recipient: Glad Kurian
Glad Kurian has served as a financial advisor and professional money manager for families and individuals for over 28 years. He came to Florida Tech after his education and training in mechanical engineering in India. He changed course and pursued his MBA while also teaching as an adjunct lecturer for several years. He started at Morgan Stanley in the mid-1990s and he then continued his academic experience at the Wharton College of Business.
Kurian has served the Florida Tech mission for close to four decades as a vital connector for the university throughout the community. His ability to introduce Florida Tech leadership to individuals, civic leaders and organizations has made a profound difference. Through his connections, he has also played a role in the growth and evolution of the Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Tech.
College of Engineering and Science: Engineering Outstanding Alumni Award
Recipient: Sujit Jain ’83 MS
Sujit Jain is a seasoned, globally-networked executive. From 2018 until his 2022 retirement, he served as president of the powertrain solutions division – passenger cars, commercial & off-road, and electric vehicles, at Robert Bosch LLC. In 2006 as president of the gasoline systems division at Robert Bosch, he successfully restructured a loss-making, $800-milion business to a consistently profitable, $2.5 billion-business by 2017. This past year, Jain was inducted into the Bosch Hall of Fame.
He received a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1979 from Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, where he was named a distinguished alumnus in both 2021 and 2022. Jain earned an M.S. in mechanical engineering from Florida Tech in 1983, and he credits the late Thomas Bowman, Ph.D. and his advanced combustion engines course with setting the foundation for his career in internal combustion engine technology.
College of Engineering and Science: Science Outstanding Alumni Award
Recipient: Dr. David Wisinger ’82 BS
David Wisinger, MD, FACP is chairman of the department of medicine for Valleywise Health and District Medical Group in Phoenix, Arizona. He is also assistant dean of faculty affairs, professor of medicine and the Dr. James P. Laumond Endowed Chair in Medicine at Creighton University School of Medicine and a professor of medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix.
Dr. Wisinger received his B.S. in biology from Florida Tech in 1982 and his MD from the University of South Florida in 1986. He has worked treating disadvantaged patients in Phoenix since 1986 at the public health system formerly known as Maricopa Integrated Health System, recently rebranded as Valleywise Health. He feels strongly that his experience at Florida Tech gave him a strong STEM foundation and, more importantly, served to steer him into his current roles impacting those often forgotten and most in need.
College of Aeronautics Skurla Outstanding Alumni Award
Recipient: Jill Eanes ‘91 BS, ’93 MBA
Jill Eanes is a captain at United Airlines, where she also serves on the pilot recruitment team. She is a champion for diversity throughout United and the aviation industry and volunteers through Florida Tech, United Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association to mentor aspiring pilots, with an emphasis on women and LGBTQ+ aviators. Eanes has 30 years of experience as a commercial pilot, including over 20 years with United.
She is a three-time graduate of Florida Tech, earning both an associate degree and B.S. in aviation management with flight, and an MBA in human resource management. She is also a former Florida Tech flight instructor. Eanes is a member of the Florida Tech College of Aeronautics Advisory Board and has established an endowed scholarship for LGBTQ+ Florida Tech students focusing on those studying aviation and aeronautics.
Nathan M. Bisk College of Business Outstanding Alumni Award
Recipient: Robert “Bob” Seemer ’85 MBA
Robert “Bob” Seemer is a management consultant and trainer for organizations and individuals seeking performance excellence. Inspired to achieve excellence in athletics, he was: a Cocoa High School All-American in basketball, the captain of the Georgia Tech Division I varsity basketball team, and a draftee of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks
Seemer earned his bachelor’s degree from Georgia Tech and earned his MBA at Florida Tech in 1985, noting that it was a pivotal landmark in his career. Early in his career, he held industrial engineering, management and leadership positions at United Parcel Service, Boeing Commercial Airplane Co. and Florida Power and Light. After leaving FPL in 1991, he and Maria, his wife-partner, created Competitive Technologies, a consulting and training firm. After selling Competitive Technologies, the Seemers created Electronic Training Solutions to capitalize on the world’s early transition to digital learning.
College of Psychology and Liberal Arts Outstanding Alumni Award
Recipient: Carolyn Baney ’92 BS
Carolyn Baney was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 13, 1935. She attended grammar and high school in McKeesport – the same high school Florida Tech’s second president, John Miler, graduated from. After high school, she trained as a phlebotomist/lab technician and then went to work at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, where she was involved with tuberculosis research. Carolyn also enrolled at the university, where she met her husband of 60 years, Richard, a medical student working in an adjacent lab. A year later, they were married. After their first of four children was born, she took a ten-year break from work to care for their children. During this time, she traveled with her family, as her husband served in the Navy.
As Baney’s family responsibilities eased, she returned to work as a phlebotomist and volunteered to drive the bloodmobile for a local hospital. She enrolled at Florida Tech and graduated with a B.S. in business communications. Her further employment positions included jobs with a public relations company and an auto dealership. Carolyn was very active in community affairs, supporting and participating in fundraisers for Florida Tech, Holmes Hospital, and other organizations.