Penn State Behrend has more than 30,000 alumni and a third of them are 35 years or younger. Our alumni population gets younger each year as each of our record-breaking senior classes graduate. Each one of our fresh graduates has high hopes and large goals as they begin the next chapter in in life. The Penn State Alumni Association established an award in 2005 to recognize our young alumni who have attained professional success early in their careers.
The Alumni Achievement Award has honored only 85 extraordinary alumni – five of them graduates from Penn State Behrend. These prominent young alumni, 35 years of age or younger, are invited by the President of the University and the Chancellor of Penn State Behrend to return to campus and share their expertise with the students and community. Alumni Achievement Award recipients demonstrate to students that Penn State Behrend alumni succeed in an exceptional fashion at an early age.
If you or someone you know would qualify for the Alumni Achievement Award or any of the other University awards, email Kristen Comstock at firstname.lastname@example.org to suggest a nomination.
David W. Boyce ’01 is chief executive officer of CMI Industry Americas, Inc., a leading supplier of steel-processing complexes for flat carbon steel production, as well as equipment for processing stainless steel and long products. Boyce is responsible for all operations in the Americas for CMI Industry. Boyce is an 2001 mechanical engineering alumnus and received the Alumni Achievement Award in 2013.
Matthew T. Bresee ’00 is president of the Erie BayHawks, the NBA Development League team affiliated with the New York Knicks. Bresee, who received the Alumni Achievement Award in 2012, oversees daily team and business operations and sets strategy within the Erie BayHawks organization. Under his leadership, average game and total attendance have both risen. Bresee is active in the Erie community, with the Visit Erie Board of Directors and March of Dimes. As a graduate of Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, he volunteers with the FastStart Behrend mentoring program for underrepresented students.
Melissa Hayes Shirey '97 received our 2011 Penn State Alumni Achievement Award. Shirey is an attorney and founding member at The Family Law Group, LLC, in Erie, which focuses on adoptions, surrogacy matters, guardianships and other family law matters. Shirey has successfully litigated cases at both the Pennsylvania trial court level and before the Pennsylvania Superior Court. Notably, one of Shirey's cases received national media attention and established Pennsylvania law regarding the custody rights of a biological parent versus a surrogate. She represented the biological father and successfully restored custody of triplets to him after the surrogate assumed custody after their birth. Shirey also worked to establish a procedure in Erie County to allow birth certificates to immediately reflect the intended parents' names in surrogacy births.
Our 2010 Alumni Achievement Award recipient was George Dodworth ’99. Dodworth is owner of Lightwave International, Inc., a technology-driven laser and special effects company headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA. Lightwave International specializes in lasers and special effects for the touring industry, corporate theatre, film, television, and civic events. Dodworth’s company had humble beginnings, building his first laser inside on-campus housing while a student at Penn State Behrend. The company has since grown to the largest laser entertainment firm worldwide and has designed laser shows for many international musical tours, including: Madonna, Korn, Ghostland Observatory, Linkin Park, and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters.
In 2009 the Alumni Association recognized Lacresha Hall ’95 with the Alumni Achievement Award. Hall is founder and chief executive officer of Hallway of Life Recovery Center, a sober living environment in Delray Beach, Fla., that provides a safe place for women to practice the skills necessary to maintain abstinence from substance use and provide support for women with eating disorders. Hall also has a private psychiatric practice, DeAnima Psychiatric Services. Hallway of Life Recovery Center, founded by Hall, works to teach women independence and the life skills needed to live a healthy and productive sober life on their own.