Alumni Class Notes

ClassnotesHave you recently been promoted, honored or published? Have you switched employers or career paths? Share the news with fellow Detroit Mercy alumni, parents, friends, faculty and staff.

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Pete DeLisi ’60, is the author of the book Strategic Leadership and Systems Thinking, published in December 2020 by Routledge in the United Kingdom. He was previously the dean of the Information Technology Leadership Program at Santa Clara University in California.


JAMS, a provider of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services, has announced the addition of James M. Alexander ’73 to its Detroit panel. He will serve as an arbitrator and mediator in dispute resolution.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed Nick Ciaramitaro ’74 to the state’s Civil Service Commission. He is the retired director of legislation an dpolicy at Michigan AFSCME Council 25.

Hon. Mona K. Majzoub ’76 was named a 2020 Woman of the Year by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. She is a former U.S. Magistrate Judge.

Edward G. Sarkisian D.D.S. ’78 was appointed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to the State of Michigan Board of Dentistry for a four-year term representing dentists.

James H. Turner ’77 was honored by the Florida Bar for his work on behalf of low-income and disadvantaged clients. Since 2013, his legal practice has been devoted to serving the most vulnerable clients.

Leon L. Wyden Jr. ’79 has been appointed vice president of Finance and Administrative Services at California State University San Marcos.


Carol Aiken, D.D.S. ’82, has been selected as a 2020 Centurion Fellow in The American College of Dentists, a distinction achieved by fewer than 5 percent of dentists and recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of dentistry in ethics, professionalism, excellence and leadership. She has practiced in Boston for more than 30 years.

Gail (Stern) Alpert ’81, was reappointed by Mich. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to the MI-STEM Council. She is president and secretary for FIRST in Michigan, a nonprofit STEAM organization.

Jeffry M. Bauer ’80 is the new chief operating officer for the Michigan region of the American Red Crosss. He has been a longtime volunteer with the organiztion.

Zenell (Beard) Brown ’85 has published Coffee and Conversations: Inclusion and Belonging, a book on diversity and inclusion for lawyers and judges. She is the executive court administrator for Michigan’s Third Circuit Court.

John C. Dzarnowski ’88 has been appointed chief executive officer for the Oak Brook, Ill., architectural firm of FGM Architects. He has been with the company since 2007.

Shirley (Harris) Ellis ’80 was inducted into the National Black Radio Hall of Fame. She is the driving force behind the central Georgia radio station WFVS.

Timothy F. Kosinski, D.D.S. ’84 has earned the 2020 Lifelong Learning and Service Recognition for his commitment to lifelong learning, volunteering his services to communities in need, mentoring associates and new dentists, and participating in organized dentistry. He practices in Bingham Farms, Mich.

Mary M. Kucharek ’88 has been named a partner at the Troy, Mich.-based law firm Beier Howlett. She is the city attorney for the City of Orchard Lake Village and the Village of Lake Orion and is assistant city attorney for the city of Birmingham.

Julie (Petrucci) Kurcz ’88 was named to Automotive News’ list of 100 Leading Women in the auto industry. She is the executive director of Product Quality for Kia Motors America.

Michael O. Okoroafor ’82 has been named to the annual Environment+Energy Leader 100, which recognizes environment and energy doers who break trails in creating new solutions, programs, platforms and products. He also serves on the Alumni Advisory Board to the College of Engineering & Science.

C. Timothy Trenary ’85 was named executive vice president and chief financial officer for Superior Industries, a Michigan-based light vehicle aluminum wheel supplier.


Chris N. Costis ’96 has been promoted to structural engineering manager at Ghafari Associates’ Dearborn, Mich., headquarters.

Jennifer A. Dukarski ’96, a partner in the Detroit law firm Butzel Long, has been appointed co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Communicatinos Law Diversity Committee.

Christian W. Fabian ’94 has joined the Chicago off of the international law firm McDermott Will & Emery. His practice focuses on private equity and cross-border transactions.

Meredith R. Harper ’94, vice president and chief information security officer for Eli Lilly and Company has been appointed to the University of Detroit Mercy Board of Trustees, the Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center Board of Directors and the National Technology Security Coalition Board of Directors.

Kristi Koons Johnson ’97 was named the assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles Field Office of the FBI.

Vaijanthi (Joshi) Oza, D.D.S. ’98 was appointed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to the Michigan Board of Dentistry. She is a dentist and owner of Royal Dental, P.C. in Pontiac, Mich.

Rhett B. Rowe ’91 has been named CEO of Great Lakes Business Credit. He was previously the company’s senior managing director.

Ahmed Rubaie ’92 is the new chief executive officer and board member of Anomali, a California-based leader in intelligence-driven cybersecurity solutions.

Stephen C. Ruschak ’92 was named executive vice president, Surety at Arch Insurance North America.

Dexter W. Shurney ’90 was appointed senior vice president and chief medical officer of Community Well-Being and the Blue Zones Institute at Adventist Health.

Christine (McGregor) Sitek ’92 has been named to Automotive News’ list of 100 Leading Women in the auto industry. She is executive director of Global Purchasing & Supply Chain at General Motors.

Darrell T. Whitney ’96 has been appointed vice president and chief human resources for Troy, Mich.-based Meritor Inc. He has been with the company since 2008.

Cynthia R. Williams ’99 has been appointed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to the state’s new Council on Climate Solutions. She is global director of sustainability, homologation and compliance at Ford Motor Company.

David A. Woods ’91 is now senior vice president and chief loan officer of Citizens National Bank. He joined the company in 2018.


John A. Cullis ’00 has joined the Intellectual Property Department in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg.

Aine (Lawler) Denari ’00 has been named to Automotive News’ list of 100 Leading Women in the auto industry. She is the president of Brunswick Boat Group.

Jeffrey T. Gendzwill ’04 has joined the law firm of Cozen O’Connor in the Washington, D.C. office’s intellectual property practice.

Monica S. Irelan ’06 has been appointed city manager of Painesville, Ohio.

Denise (Ector) Quarles ’02 was named to the Siemens Foundation board of directors. She is head of external affairs for Siemens USA’s southeast region.


Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has appointed Mikyia S. Aaron ’15 to the Grand Valley State University Board of Trustees. Aaron is general counsel and external business affairs director for the Laborers International Union of North America.

Tiffany M. Burrows ’13 has joined the Troy, Mich. office of Secrest Wardle in the law firms Motor Vehicle Litigation and Premises Liability Practice Groups.

Ponce D. Clay ’15, ’18 was named to Crain’s Detroit Business’ list of notable veterans and was a winner of the Detroit Bar Association’s Outstanding Young Lawyers awards for 2020.

Alexandra C. Jockwig-Welsh ’19 has joined Ontario, Canada-based law firm Lerners. She will work in the Toronto office as a member of the insurance defense group.

Lawrence Opalewski ’13 has been named a partner at the Detroit office of Dalton & Tomich where he represents religious organizations in land use disputes, property owners on zoning issues and serves as general counsel for private businesses.

Detroit-based law firm Dickinson Wright announced the election of Ariana Pellegrino ’14 to partner of the firm. She is a member of the firm’s Detroit office.

Nicholas W. Siewert ’14 has joined the transportation law practice group of Plunkett Cooney in the firm’s Bloomfield Hills office.

Cecily M. Sparks ’16 has been named project manager at the Troy, Mich.-based engineering firm Peter Basso Associates. She has been with the company since 2013.


Shaun R. Austin ’20 has joined the Detroit-based law firm McKeen & Associates in the area of medical malpractice.

Amanda M. Groth ’20 has joined the Detroit-based law firm McKeen & Associates in the area of medical malpractice.

Alyssa Hussein ’20 has joined the litigation and dispute resolution group in the Detroit office of the law firm of Miller Canfield.