Alumni Achievement Honored at Annual Medal of Excellence Dinner

New Jersey Industry Turns Out to Celebrate Engineering Innovation in Advancing Technology in Industry, Education, and Research

Six distinguished alumni of Rutgers University’s School of Engineering were honored for their professional achievement and commitment to the school at the 2013 Medal of Excellence Awards dinner on Thursday, October 4, 2013.

This year’s honorees included alumni who have significantly contributed to the advancement of technology and innovation in the areas of cyber security, cellular medicine, global climate satellites, and pharmaceutical manufacturing. The event also recognized those who have distinguished themselves through their service to the School of Engineering including two young alumni whose efforts resulted in Rutgers University achieving distinction as a Boeing Portfolio School.

“The 2013 honorees showcase the outstanding achievements of the school’s alumni and also demonstrate the diversity of careers that encompass an engineering degree,” said School of Engineering Dean Thomas Farris.  “With more than 20,000 alumni, Rutgers University engineering graduates are making an impact on innovation that sparks New Jersey’s economy and shapes lives around the globe.”

Proceeds from this event will benefit the Rutgers School of Engineering Scholarship Fund. 

To see photos from the event, click HERE.

The 2013 Medal of Excellence honorees include:

Medal of Excellence Award
Lt. General USAF (Ret.) Charles E. Croom, ENG’73

Following a more than 30-year career of distinguished service and technology experience with the U.S. Air Force, Charles "Charlie" Croom is now responsible for shaping cyber security at Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services. A graduate of Rutgers University’s ROTC program, Croom entered the Air Force in 1973. His career spanned four commands that included: major command, numbered air force, Air Staff, defense agency, Joint Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and unified command levels. Croom retired in 2008 as a U.S. Air Force lieutenant general, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), and the commander of the Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations.

Distinguished Alumnus in Industry and Commerce
Remo Colarusso, Jr., ENG’83, RBSG’88

A distinguished member of the pharmaceutical industry, Remo Colarusso is currently head of pharmaceutical sciences and manufacturing services at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the pharmaceutical branch of Johnson & Johnson.  He is responsible for driving the development and clinical supply of new pharmaceutical and supporting lifecycle of approved commercial products in the marketplace. Colarusso earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical and biochemical engineering and an MBA from Rutgers.

Distinguished Alumnus in Education and Research
Gregory Russotti, PhD GSNB’97

Gregory Russotti, vice president of technical operations at Celgene Cellular Theraputics, is an internationally recognized leader in cell therapy bioprocess development, including vaccine process development and cell therapy processing and manufacturing.  His influence extends to regulatory agencies such as the FDA, helping to shape the regulatory landscape of cell therapy processing. Russotti has been a member of the Rutgers Biomedical Engineering Industry Advisory Board since 2003. 

Distinguished Young Alumni
Megan Smith, ENG’06, GSNB’08
Zachary Daroff, ENG’11

Boeing engineers Megan Smith, structural analysis engineer, and Zachary Daroff, structural and payloads design engineer, were recognized for their efforts in establishing Rutgers University as a Boeing Portfolio School.  Their year-long voluntary efforts were crucial in securing this important and prestigious partnership which includes recruitment opportunities for all Rutgers students and visibility at research events. 

The Dean’s Award for Service
Fred Bernath, PhD ENG'66, GSNB'67, GSNB'73

Fred Bernath has had a long and respected association with Rutgers and the School of Engineering, beginning as an undergraduate in 1962. He is currently associate dean of academic affairs for the School of Engineering, a position he has held since 1986.  During his 40 years as faculty member and associate dean he has served as a professor and researcher, department undergraduate director and graduate director, and has helped guide thousands of Rutgers engineering students through their undergraduate careers. 

Distinguished Engineer Award (Rutgers Engineering Society Honor)
Kenneth R. Johnson, ENG’66

Ken Johnson is honored for his significant contributions to the satellite industry for one of the world's leading centers of space craft design and fabrication. Now retired after a 35-year career with the Astro-Space division (RCA - GE - Lockheed Martin), he built and delivered more than 150 satellites--including virtually all of the meteorological satellites used in monitoring the global climate.  Johnson is a tireless advocate of Rutgers and committed for many years to strengthening the alumni community. Among his volunteer service, he is an officer of the Rutgers University Alumni Association, a past president of the Rutgers Engineering Society, and chair of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Advisory Board.