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Hofstra Celebrates Its Alumni Award Winners, September 24

Alumni House

Hofstra University and the Alumni Organization will host the 2015 Alumni Awards Dinner at the Garden City Hotel on Thursday, September 24. Alumni and friends will celebrate the personal and professional accomplishments of nine distinguished alumni and friends of Hofstra University.

Tickets are $150 per person; undergraduate alumni from the past decade may attend for $125.  RSVP online or for more information contact Stephanie Adomavicius, special events coordinator in the Office for Development and Alumni Affairs, at (516) 463-5284

The nine distinguished individuals to be honored by Hofstra are:

Steve Witkoff
Steve Witkoff

Alumnus of the Year

Steven Witkoff, BA, ’80; JD, ’83, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Witkoff Group

Mr. Witkoff founded The Witkoff Group, a privately held, global real estate development and investment firm headquartered in New York City, in 1997. The firm is a market leader in the ownership and development of premier residential, hospitality, office, retail, and mixed-use projects in major cities both in the United States and abroad. With extensive experience in all aspects of the development process, from financing and acquisitions through construction, Witkoff has successfully led the repositioning of over 70 properties comprising some 18 million square feet in major central business districts in the United States and abroad.

Prior to founding The Witkoff Group, Witkoff co-founded Steller Management Company, where he acquired and repositioned a portfolio of residential buildings in New York City. He previously practiced as an attorney in real estate law at Dreyer & Traub and Rosenman & Colin, where he represented a number of large developers and investors.

Arno Fried
Dr. Arno Fried

Honorary Alumnus

Arno H. Fried, MD, FACS, Advanced Neurosurgery Associates, Hackensack University Medical Center, St. Barnabas Medical Center and Newark Beth Israel Hospital

Dr. Fried, a neurosurgeon for 20 years, is the director of the Department of Neuroscience at Hackensack University Medical Center, where he also serves as director of Pediatric Neurosurgery and director of the Level 4 Epilepsy Center. Most recently, Dr. Fried was appointed Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at St. Barnabas Medical Center and Newark Beth Israel Hospital. In addition, he holds the position of Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at St. Peters University Hospital.

He established the Pediatric Neuroscience Institute and Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at Hackensack University Medical Center. Dr. Fried’s program in Pediatric Neurosciences has grown to become the largest in New Jersey and one of the largest in the country.

Dr. Fried is one of a handful of neurosurgeons in the country to be board-certified in both general neurosurgery, as well as pediatric neurosurgery, and recently became the only pediatric neurosurgeon in New Jersey to be re-certified by the American Board of Pediatric Neurosurgery.

Young Alumnae

Emily Miethner
Emily Miethner

Emily Miethner, BS, ’10, Founder and CEO, FindSpark + MCG Social

Ms. Miethner is founder and CEO of FindSpark, MCG Social and an adjunct professor. Through FindSpark, a community dedicated to setting up millennials for career success, Miethner has produced more than 200 educational career programs. She has cultivated an active digital and in-person community of over 20,000 young professionals and top employers including HBO, BuzzFeed, L’Oreal, VaynerMedia, Blue Apron, and Univision — inspiring career optimism in diverse young professionals around the world with actionable, career-changing tips and resources.

MCG Social, the consulting branch of FindSpark, provides community management, event production, and millennial expertise to clients such as Elizabeth Arden, Trojan, NBCUniversal, IFC, and FirstMark Capital.

An award-winning professional speaker, Miethner leads talks and workshops about personal branding, internships, social media, and networking. She’s been a featured speaker at The International Youth Leaders Assembly at The United Nations, SXSW Interactive, Lean In NYC, Internet Week, Time Inc, Columbia University, Princeton University, and New York University, among others.


Luz Peña
Luz Peña

Luz Peña, BA, ’12, Award-Winning Journalist

At 22 years old, Ms. Peña, a graduate of Hofstra’s journalism program, began broadcasting national news for MundoFOX. It wasn’t long before her passion for storytelling and fluidity on-camera was recognized, and she was given her own TV segment focused on informing the Latino community on technology and social media.

In 2014 the L.A Press Club recognized her with a Best Use of Social Media in Journalism Award for her coverage of an 11-year-old Latino boy who was bullied on Facebook and Twitter. Later that year, she was named one of the top 40 Latino on-air talents in America by the Huffington Post. While at MundoFox, Peña worked jointly with Fox Deportes as a host for the Buzzer and averaged 2 million views per week.  This year, Peña moved to San Francisco to report for KDTV 14 – Univision. As a reporter in this top market she continues to merge multimedia journalism and Latino affairs in her stories making her one of Univision’s youngest broadcast news talents.

Alumni Achievement

Stuart Bass
Stuart Bass

Stuart L. Bass, JD, ’79; MPA, Professor of Legal Studies in Business, Frank G. Zarb School of Business at Hofstra University

Professor Bass, a three-time recipient of Hofstra’s Teacher of the Year Award for the Zarb School (1997, 2007, 2015) joined the Hofstra faculty in 1984. In 2001 he was appointed director of Graduate Programs at the Zarb School and was instrumental in revising a highly competitive MBA program and was at the forefront in creating the MBA program in Health Care Management in association with the North Shore-LIJ Health System. He also helped to launch the MBA in Sports and Entertainment Management. He teaches business law classes at the undergraduate, graduate levels as well as the Executive MBA program.

During his 30 years at Hofstra, Bass has served on the Development Personnel Committee, working as chair for three years. He has twice been elected to the University Senate, and currently serves as chair of the Executive Committee, on the Planning & Budget Committee, and as a delegate to the University’s Board of Trustees, where he is Speaker of the Faculty.


Major General Patrick Higgins

Patrick M. Higgins, BA, ’80, Major General, U.S. Army (Ret.)

Major General Higgins is deputy director for Operations/Intelligence Integration, Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization and director for the Counter-IED Operations-Intelligence Integration Center. He is responsible for supporting the combatant commanders with rapidly fused operational information, intelligence and technology to enable the defeat of threat networks.

MG Higgins served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and among his many assignments in his distinguished career, commanded the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, where he participated in Operation Enduring Freedom. Prior to his current assignment, he was director, Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization, J-8, Joint Staff at the Pentagon.

His awards, decorations and badges include the Defense Superior Service Medal (three oak leaf clusters), Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with “V” device, Bronze Star Medal (one oak leaf cluster), Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal (six oak leaf clusters), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (three oak leaf clusters), Army Achievement Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge (with star), Expert Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Military Freefall Parachutist Badge, several awards of foreign parachutist badges, Air Assault Badge, Ranger Tab, Special Forces Tab and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge.


Tanya Levy-Odom
Tanya Levy-Odom

Tanya Levy-Odom, BBA, ’90, Director, Investor Relations, Time Inc.

Ms. Levy-Odom is the director of investor relations for Time Inc., responsible for communicating with existing and prospective investors and key influencers including buy side and sell-side analysts as well as corporate governance contacts. Prior to joining Time Inc., she was a vice president/domestic equity analyst for Alliance Growth Equities, a subsidiary of Alliance Bernstein, responsible for equity forecasting and stock selection in the Consumer sector.

Levy-Odom serves as chair of the Council of Presidents, and served as president of the Hofstra University Alumni Organization from 2012-2014. She was the vice president for services from 2010 – 2012, and, previously, served as parliamentarian/historian. In addition to serving as a member of Hofstra University’s Women in Leadership Initiative, Levy-Odom is a past president of the Hofstra University Black/Hispanic Alumni Association.


Judith Livingston
Judith Livingston

Judith A. Livingston, JD, ’79; LLD ’98, Senior Partner, Kramer, Dillof, Livingston & Moore

Ms. Livingston, a partner at Kramer Dillof Livingston & Moore since 1989, has won 32 trials to date with verdicts in excess of $1 million – more than any other female attorney.  She has negotiated hundreds of settlements that have resulted in payments to her clients of almost a half-billion dollars. She specializes in medical malpractice and personal injury cases. In recognition of her trial skills, Livingston was the youngest person and the first woman in the United States admitted to the Inner Circle of Advocates – an invitation-only professional group limited to the top 100 trial lawyers in America.

Livingston has been called “A Legal Legend” by Law Dragon, and was named in Best Lawyers magazine for 2011 and 2013 as the New York Medical Malpractice “Lawyer of the Year.” She was cited by the National Law Journal as one of “40 lawyers who have made their mark in the area of health care law;” and she has been listed yearly by New York magazine and Super Lawyers magazine as one of the best lawyers in New York. New York also cited her as one of “the 50 most influential women lawyers in America.”


Robert Rosenthal
Robert Rosenthal

Robert D. Rosenthal, JD, ’74, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer, First Long Island Investors, LLC

Mr. Rosenthal co-founded First Long Island Investors, LLC, a Long Island-based wealth management firm that is committed to providing individualized advice and counseling in the preservation, growth and administration of liquid and illiquid wealth for high net worth individuals, families and select institutions. Mr. Rosenthal has also held leadership positions at Entenmann’s Inc., New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P., and W.P. Stewart Asset Management (NA), Inc.

Rosenthal is vice chair of Hofstra University Board of Trustees and serves as chair of the Endowment and Investment Committee.  Through personal philanthropy and the Jodi and Robert Rosenthal Family Foundation, Rosenthal and his wife Jodi have continuously supported Hofstra in its development efforts, including the creation of the Jodi and Robert D. Rosenthal Endowed Scholarship. In addition, he is a member of the Executive Committee and the Board of Trustees of North Shore-LIJ Health System, as well as Co-Chairman of its Investment Committee and Vice Chairman of North Shore-LIJ Health System Foundation. Rosenthal also serves as lead director of Systemax Inc., a New York Stock Exchange company.

Photographer: Zack Lane, University Photographer

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