John Carroll University is pleased to announce the recipients of its prestigious Alumni Medal including:
- James A. Coyne '82 (Westport, CT), Partner, Stoneleigh Capital;
- Robert W. Hostoffer, DO '81 (Bratenahl, OH), Physician, Allergy Immunology Associates, Inc., Program Director, A/I Fellowship, Clinical Assoc. Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Case Western Reserve University, and Professor of Medicine at LECOM;
- Robert W. Kraft '73 (Milwaukee, WI), Chairman & CEO, FirstPathway Partners;
- Jane E. (Broeren) Lambesis '83 (Mt. Prospect, IL), Senior Vice President, Sales, Federated Hermes;
- Michael J. Merriman '78 (Chagrin Falls, OH), Chairman of the Board, Nordson Corporation
The Alumni Medal is the highest award given annually by the John Carroll University Alumni Association. It recognizes an individual’s accomplishments in their profession, contributions to their community, exemplary family and personal life, and dedicated service to John Carroll University post-graduation.
The JCU Alumni Association also named Victoria M. O’Keefe, PhD '09 (Cherokee Nation/Seminole Nation) (Baltimore, MD) as its Young Alumni Award recipient. She is the Mathuram Santosham Endowed Chair in Native American Health, Johns Hopkins University, Associate Director, Center for Indigenous Health, and Assistant Professor, Department of International Health, Social and Behavioral Interventions Program at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Clinical Psychologist
Other honors include:
- Deborah L. Solyan '83 (Cleveland, OH), as the Rev. William M. Bichl, S.J. Alumni Volunteer Service Award recipient for her dedicated volunteer service to the JCU Alumni Association
- Margaret "Peggy" (O'Hearn) Finucane, PhD '80 (University Hts., OH), ), who will receive the Rev. Casey Bukala Distinguished Service Award, honoring a JCU graduate who has served the University with distinction as a member of its faculty or staff.
- Daniel K. Cassavar, MD '85 (Bowling Green, OH), as the Campion Shield Recipient for his physical and moral actions in the face of adversity on behalf of others.
Please join me in congratulating this year's class of alumni award winners. Lisa Zone, '98 President, JCU Alumni Association
Alumni Medal Recipients:
Jim Coyne, Partner, Stoneleigh Capital, Business Administration & Finance, 1982
For Jim Coyne, John Carroll’s attention to and investment in its students was apparent from the first time he visited campus. He and a few high school friends drove from Chicago to visit, staying at a motel in Strongsville the night before their tour. When they awoke, their car had been stolen … so the dean of admissions drove out to pick them up and bring them to campus. And the admissions office staff passed the hat to collect funds for bus tickets home.
“It was incredible that people would do that for us,” says Jim. “John Carroll’s campus was beautiful and I liked the school, but that care made a huge impression on me.”
Jim studied finance and accounting at John Carroll. Friends and teammates remember his leadership on the football and rugby fields, as well as his huge smile and constant drive all around campus. Jim felt John Carroll’s Jesuit experience helped him succeed in school, while his business ethics were formed not only in the classroom, but in learning how to be a good, caring person.
After John Carroll, Jim went onto receive a Master of Accountancy from Case Western Reserve University and became a CPA. His distinguished career in the financial industry led to leadership roles in real estate equity and private equity firms, and he is currently active in more than 20 organizations connected with his firm, his industry, and his education.
“You can learn accounting and finance at any school in the country—that ain’t hard,” notes Jim. “The real take-aways are the things that you develop outside of the classroom. The culture at John Carroll has been important to me in business. You can’t just look at business from your point of view, you have to consider the person on the other side of the transaction.”
A dedicated member of the Board of Directors since 2014, Jim has also served on its Finance Committee. He and his wife, Diana, regularly host alumni events at their Connecticut and Manhattan homes, and have established the Fenwick Scholarship Fund. Jim is often a speaker during John Carroll’s Student Finance Association’s trips to New York City and is a passionate John Carroll enrollment ambassador in the Northeast and Chicago regions.
“College is a pretty important time in someone’s life,” says Jim. “You leave home as a teenager and four years later you are an adult. You are formed during those years, and John Carroll’s Jesuit experience is a part of who I am today.”
For his professional accomplishments, dedication to service, and his deep and continued commitment to John Carroll University, The John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award the 2023 Alumni Medal to Jim Coyne.
Bob Hostoffer jokes that it was a family tradition to come to John Carroll: several of his cousins attended, and his uncle taught in the math department. When a minor seminary program at Orchard Lake’s St. Mary’s Preparatory High School didn’t turn out to be the right fit for him, Bob came to John Carroll.
“I can clearly say the roots of my life are firmly planted at Carroll,” says Bob. “Everything I’ve gotten in my family and profession—they all started there. John Carroll was the start of my curiosity for what is now my career, the start of my married life and family, and the start of deep friendships I’ve had since then.”
A class with Dr. Cyrilla Wideman sparked Bob’s interest in immunology, a fascination that remained with him through medical school and a fellowship at the University of Alabama. He served as Clinical Associate Director of Pediatric and Adult Immunology at Case Western Reserve University, President of the Ohio Osteopathic Medical Society, is a trustee of the American Osteopathic Association, and has been widely published in peer-review publications and research abstracts.
As a practicing physician and teacher, Bob was the perfect choice for helping John Carroll establish its pre-health program, at the invitation of Father Niehoff. He also facilitated collaboration between John Carroll and several regional osteopathic programs, resulting in dual-admission agreements that enhanced John Carroll’s undergraduate health education offerings. Bob has also devoted his time and energy to John Carroll’s Board of Directors from 2011–2018.
But Bob’s strong connection to John Carroll lies beyond the classroom and the boardroom. While walking across campus to attend the “last chance Mass” at Gesu one Sunday night during his third year, Bob questioned his decision to leave the seminary and come to John Carroll. “I looked up and said, ‘If you don’t show me the way to go, I’m going back to the seminary.’ I walked into Gesu and most of the lights were off—but one was shining to the right of the altar, on a musician who would later become my wife!”
Bob and Karen now have five children, four grandchildren, and have been foster parents to several other children in need. The Hofstoffers generously support John Carroll’s soccer and scholarship programs and donated rowing shells to the John Carroll Crew Club, each named after Fathers Schell, Niehoff, Nichols, and Bukala.
Longtime friend and former classmate George Lewandowski shared a prayer written by Bob:
God teach me: to be humble, be attentive, be intuitive, be compassionate, be sympathetic, be protective.
God teach me: to surrender to your will, to heal, shoulder this burden with joy.
For his ongoing love and appreciation of Jesuit education, as well as his rigorous legacy of service and commitment to John Carroll University, the John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award the 2023 Alumni Medal to Bob Hostoffer.
Robert “Bob” Kraft’s accomplishments span the globe, underpinned by how he lives his life as a Jesuit “Man for Others.”
Growing up in Flint, Michigan, Bob was recruited to play football at the Air Force Academy, but its ten-year commitment seemed too long for 18-year-old Bob. On the recommendation of a neighbor—a John Carroll alum who spoke highly of both its football program and business school—Bob came to campus.
“I’ll tell you, those four years were just exceptional,” says Bob, who played football for four years, ran track and played tennis for two years, and lettered in all three sports. “Every year was terrific. I loved the campus and had exceptional professors who really worked you, which is what I needed.”
Classmates recall his leadership on the field and off. No one worked harder than Bob, which inspired others to do the same. His positive communication style made it possible for him to give advice without offense, and he always seemed to put others ahead of himself.
Those characteristics remained at the core of Bob’s professional life, leading to deep community impact and economic development. Bob and his firm received the HIRES Medallion Award from the U.S. Department of Labor for their recruitment, training, and employment of U.S. veterans. Bob was a pioneer in leveraging the EB-5 Immigration Investment Program, bringing international investment to Milwaukee and the Midwest and creating job opportunities and a legal path to citizenship. Because of his success with the EB-5 program, Bob is an officer of Invest in the USA, its national trade association.
Closer to home, Bob is active with the Wounded Warrior Project and the Fisher House Foundation, both serving veterans and their families. He has a long history of support for Word of Hope Ministries, a nonprofit working with formerly incarcerated individuals, and repeatedly hires people needing a second chance. Bob also is active with the United Community Center, a comprehensive social service agency serving Hispanic people and residents of Milwaukee’s south side.
“I like to help other people find their way through tough circumstances, which is the Jesuit way,” says Bob. “That really stuck with me from John Carroll; it’s the most impactful thing to me.”
Bob’s impact has also been felt through his support for John Carroll’s football program, Shula Stadium, and acting as a challenge sponsor for JCU’s Day of Giving.
For his professional accomplishments, dedication to serving those in need, and his deep and continued commitment to John Carroll University, The John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award the 2023 Alumni Medal to Robert “Bob” Kraft.
Discipline, focus, and care are three words that arise over and over when describing Jane Broeren Lambesis—whether the speaker is a professional colleague of Jane’s in the investment industry, a fellow John Carroll alumni, or a member of her parish in the Chicagoland area.
Jane’s strong connection with John Carroll grew out of a desire to attend a college that was faith-based, preferably Jesuit, well-rounded … and one that none of her six older siblings had attended. She fell in love with the campus and the people she met on a visit, drawn to both the size of the school and the sense of community she felt.
At John Carroll, Jane studied sociology, then political science, before finding her love of economics through one of Dr. Sonia Gold’s classes. (Jane jokes that she’s the rare individual who uses her college degree on a daily basis.) She was a cheerleader, member of the swim team, and resident advisor, a role that Jane says helped her develop her leadership capabilities.
Those capabilities are apparent in Jane’s professional accomplishments at Federated, where she is a senior vice president and an in-demand mentor and conference speaker. Her leadership skills have also infused decades of advocacy for John Carroll. Jane serves on John Carroll’s Board of Directors and leads its taskforce on enrollment. For years, Jane has been a leading networker in the Chicago area for enrollment, internships, and alumni giving. She formed a Chicago enrollment team, gathering 50 JCU alumni in the region who are passionate about the school and who communicate news from campus to increase enrollment from their region. Jane and several members of the Class of ’83 founded a scholarship in memory of classmate Mary Lynch Julius, which has been fully funded.
Jane is also active in her parish, St. Raymond, volunteers in her community, and cherishes and nurtures her friends and family.
“JCU was a place where I was able to find myself, spiritually, academically, and professionally,” says Jane. “It allowed me to surround myself with like-minded people, as well as a diverse set of people who thought outside of what I was familiar with. John Carroll is a place for all of us. It’s about the whole person, and giving back.”
For her ongoing love and appreciation of Jesuit education, as well as her rigorous legacy of service and commitment to John Carroll University, the John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award the 2023 Alumni Medal to Jane Broeren Lambesis .
MIchael Merrriman '78
Michael Merriman believes in service: he currently serves on the boards of Nordson Corporation, OMNOVA Solutions, Inc., and Regis Corporation, in addition to his work with Resilience Capital Partners. He is also the immediate past board chair of John Carroll, and has been active with John Carroll’s Board of Directors since the late 1990s.
A graduate of St. Ignatius High School, Michael joined several of his friends in attending John Carroll, where he studied accounting. “Frankly, I didn’t have the money to live as a resident,” says Michael. “So I commuted and worked my way through school.” He worked at a beverage store in Mayfield Heights during the school year, and spent summers painting houses and mowing lawns.
During his junior and senior years, Michael learned applied accounting during his internship at Guilford Instruments, a medical laboratory equipment company in Oberlin. He was hired by CFO and John Carroll alum Ray Smiley, with whom Michael would later serve on John Carroll’s Board of Directors. And the Carroll connections kept coming: alumni George Goodrich and Jim Thaling, then both working for Arthur Anderson (one of the Big Eight accounting firms at the time) recruited Michael upon graduation.
“Being a part of John Carroll gives you the opportunity to connect with the Jesuits,” says Michael. “They fill your gas tank. They have always been educators and connected with young people, and it’s a powerful thing to maintain that age-old wisdom and faith inspired by youth and service. To hear that message again, and see it play out every day in your career, rings true for me.”
In his career, Michael served as CFO and CEO at Dirt Devil/Royal Appliance, SVP and CFO at American Greetings, as well as CEO at The Lamson & Sessions Company. He is on the Board of Boys Hope Girls Hope Northeast Ohio, and speaks proudly of the John Carroll students who tutor participants during summer and afterschool programming. Michael also extols the innovative and topical programs offered to alumni in subjects ranging from entrepreneurship to AI.
“To stay involved and be part of the John Carroll community is the best investment you’ll make,” says Michael. “I’ve said yes to JCU and never regretted it—because they said yes to me.
For his accomplishments in business, investment in Jesuit education, and continued commitment to John Carroll University, The John Carroll Alumni Association is pleased to award the 2023 Alumni Medal to Michael Merriman.
Young Alumni Award Recipients:
Rev. William M. Bichl, S.J. Alumni Volunteer Service Award Recipient:
Rev. Casey Bukala, S.J. Distinguished Achievement Award Recipient:
Daniel K. Cassavar, MD '85