School of Engineering Announces Alumni Achievement Honorees

The School of Engineering's Annual Medal of Excellence Award Event Recognizes Innovation in Advancing Technology in Industry, Education, and Research

Five distinguished alumni of the Rutgers School of Engineering will receive the school’s most prestigious awards at the 2013 Medal of Excellence Awards Dinner on Thursday, October 3, 2013. The Awards recognize important contributions made by alumni in advancing technology and innovation in New Jersey and throughout the world.

This year’s honorees include alumni whose contributions in research, education, and industry have benefited society and furthered economic development. The event also recognizes those who have distinguished themselves through their service to the School of Engineering.

“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.  “Rutgers University engineering graduates are making an impact in innovation that sparks New Jersey’s economy and shapes lives around the globe.”

The 2013 Medal of Excellence honorees include:

Medal of Excellence Award

Lt. General USAF (Ret.) Charles E. Croom ENG’73

Charles "Charlie" Croom joined Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services in 2008 as vice president of cyber security solutions where he is responsible for shaping cyber security following a more than 30-year career of distinguished service and technology experience with the U.S. Air Force. 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. He joined the Johnson & Johnson team in 1988 and has held various leadership positions including: engineering director for Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., executive director of engineering and process excellence for J&J Centocor, Inc., and vice president of worldwide manufacturing for J&J Global Biologics Supply Chain, among others. 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’01

Boeing engineers Megan Smith and Zachary Daroff are 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.  Daroff earned his degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Smith earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering at Rutgers.

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 received both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in chemical engineering from the School of Engineering, followed by a doctoral degree in chemical and biochemical engineering.  In 1972, he was named assistant professor in the Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Department.  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.  He has also coordinated six ABET accreditation visits, overseen many developments in the curriculum such as institution of the Cooperative Education Program and expansion of Study Abroad opportunities for School of Engineering students, and represented the School of Engineering on numerous activities within Rutgers University and in the external engineering community.

Distinguished Engineer Award (Rutgers Engineering Society Honor)

Kenneth R. Johnson ENG’67

Ken Johnson is honored for contributions to the satellite industry over a 35-year career (RCA, GE, and Martin Marietta), most notably his improved techniques in power generation, thermal management, structural stability, and guidance control. These techniques allowed satellites to carry larger and more capable payloads. Johnson served as engineer, manager and leader of one of the leading centers in the world for spacecraft design and fabrication. He led, and was responsible for, the completion of hundreds of satellites, including most of the weather satellites used for monitoring the global climate. He was also responsible for directing new ways of building power systems and communications payloads, leading to better products at a lower cost. Serving as manager of the Space Station Platform Design team, his efforts led to NASA using his team’s design as NASA’s reference configuration and allowed the platform to be easily reconfigured to serve a variety of missions.

The 2013 recipients will be honored at the Medal of Excellence Awards Dinner in the Life Sciences building on the Busch campus at Rutgers University. The event begins with cocktails at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner and dessert and the evening’s presentations, which will conclude at 9:00 p.m. Each honoree will be formally recognized at the event.

Tickets are available for $100 per person. Proceeds from this event benefit the Rutgers School of Engineering Scholarship Fund.  This fund rewards the school’s most talented and deserving students by providing critical financial resources and educational opportunity. To purchase tickets or request sponsorship information, call Rebecca Perkins at 908.580.0946 or visit the event’s website at