UMass Amherst Alumni Association Presents 2007 Annual Distinguished Alumni Awards

BOSTON – The University of Massachusetts Amherst Alumni Association presented its annual Distinguished Alumni Awards today at noon in the Great Hall of the Massachusetts State House in Boston. UMass President Jack Wilson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Stephen Tocco and UMass Amherst Chancellor John V. Lombardi were on hand to congratulate this year’s recipients.

Since the mid-1950s, the Alumni Association has honored alumni, faculty, and friends who have translated their UMass Amherst experience into distinguished achievement and service in the public, business or professional realms. The 2007 honorees include Jess Kane ’70, orthodontist and associate professor at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine; Carmel Valianti ’79, founder of Help Save Our Environment and Solar Now; Fergus M. Clydesdale ’66G, distinguished professor and head of the UMass Amherst Department of Food Science; Thomas O’Brien, former dean of the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst; Tisato Kajiyama ’69G, president of Kyushu University in Japan and Arlindo Jorge ’50, electrical engineer, inventor and philanthropist.

Jess Kane ’70, a resident of Holliston, is a successful orthodontist and associate professor at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston. He co-founded Project Stretch, a charitable organization created in 1988 that provides free dental care to disadvantaged children around the world. The organization’s efforts are supported through fund-raising events and private contributions. The doctors donate their time and often pay their own travel expenses to locations in Africa, Lithuania, Venezuela and Mexico as well as the United States. Kane is a life member and past president of the UMass Amherst Alumni Association and serves on the UMass Amherst Foundation Board of Directors.

Carmel Valianti ’79, a resident of Ipswich, is the founder of Help Save Our Environment, an international student environmental group, and founder of Solar Now, an environmental organization that advocates for and educates about renewable energy through college internships, student conferences, teacher workshops and curriculum for pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Solar Now also supports research into renewable energy sources around the world. Valianti has served as a consultant to the United Nations Environmental Programme, private electric utility corporations and school systems across the United States. She received the Environmental Protection Agency’s Presidential Commendation from President George H.W. Bush in 1990.

Dr. Fergus M. Clydesdale ’66 PhD, a resident of South Deerfield, is a distinguished professor, head of the department of food science, and director of both the strategic research and strategic policy alliances at UMass Amherst. His research involves the study and regulation of physiochemical changes in food, which alter nutritional bio-availability, physiological effects, food quality, food acceptability and overall health and quality of life. His work provides a unique perspective since it combines food science, nutrition, public health policy and consumer acceptance. Clydesdale has published some 375 scientific articles, co-authored or edited 20 books and is the editor of Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. He has also served on numerous government advisory committees related to health, diet, and nutrition, and has been named a National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences.

Thomas O’Brien, a resident of Amherst, recently stepped down as the Dean of the Isenberg School of Management after 19 years of service. During his tenure, he was able to increase financial support for the school and broaden the geographical and demographic scope of its Business Advisory Council, creating the first satellite development office on campus. In addition to capital projects and five endowed faculty positions, the O’Brien years were marked by many milestones: inception of the DiMES student diversity program, the George Spiro Communications Program, creation of the Chase Career Center and the Center for International Securities and Derivatives Markets. O’Brien presided over the growth of the School’s online MBA program and, in 2002, orchestrated the inclusion of the departments of sport management and hospitality and tourism management into the Isenberg School.

Dr. Tisato Kajiyama ’69 Ph. D, a resident of Fukuoka, Japan, is the president of Kyushu University, one of the former seven imperial universities in Japan. He also serves as vice president of The Japan Association of National Universities. Kajiyama is one of the most respected polymer scientists in the world and is generally regarded as the initiator and developer of the polymer surface and interfacial phenomena. His research has been in the areas of surface structure, fatigue analysis of polymeric solids, molecular design of monolayers and LB films, blood compatibility of biomedical polymers and molecular aggregation. His extraordinary body of work has greatly influenced the polymer science and engineering department at UMass Amherst and has generated support and funding for research and development at the university and within the field.

Arlindo Jorge ’50, a resident of Mill Neck, N.Y., was among the first students to receive a degree in electrical engineering from UMass Amherst. He studied under the GI Bill and spent his first two years at the Fort Devens campus. Jorge began his career with the electron tube division of the Sperry Gyroscope Co., developing high-powered final amplifiers (klystrons) for Navy and Army radars, and became section head of the radiation division where he was an expert on microwave tubes. The klystron has since been used in satellite communications, airplane and missile guidance systems and telephone and television transmission. Modern radiation oncology therapy traces its origins to the invention of the klystron. While at Sperry, Jorge also co-invented the dual oscillator radar system. Jorge later founded Syncor Industries Corp., a company which manufactured electronic equipment for the United States Navy and Army. His current project focuses on assistive technology, which allows patients to be transferred to and from a newly designed hospital bed and wheelchair automatically.

The UMass Amherst Alumni Association promotes the interests of the university and its 206,000 alumni throughout the world. The Alumni Association’s mission is to foster a connection between alumni and the campus through programs and services that enlighten, strengthen, and develop alumni loyalty and interests. More information is available at

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