2004 Alumni Award Recipients

Alumni Award For Outstanding Professional Achievement

Linda A. Stesney, Esq. ’79

The Alumni Award for outstanding Professional Achievement is presented to Linda A. Stesney, Esq. ’79. Linda’s collegiate career foretold the success she would have later in her career. She graduated first in the class, with a GPA of 4.0 and received awards for highest academic achievement, Government studies and French studies. The later must have been helped by her 1977 summer abroad at the University of Paris (the Sorbonne) immersing herself in the French language and culture.

Linda’s achievement also earned her the privilege and honor of being King’s College’s second Fulbright Scholar. She studied European Economic Community Law at the College of Europe in Belgium. Upon her return to the States, Linda entered The Washington College of Law at American University. She was the Notes and Comment Editor of the Law Review. Linda was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1984.

Linda began her career at Shearman and Sterling in New York City as a corporate associate dealing with securities offerings, bank financing and bankruptcy. In 1990 she became the Assistant General Counsel at Financial Guaranty Insurance Company. She remained with them for 2 years and then branched out in a new direction when she became a private practitioner while also joining Moody’s Investors Service. Linda began her career at Moody’s as a Vice President and Senior Analyst of Credit Card Securitization. Currently Linda is Managing Director of Latin American Securitizations, Servicer Ratings and Frequent Issuer Pricing. That means she manages analytic teams that rate domestic and cross-border securitizations in Latin America and the United. States. King’s is giving Linda a Triple A (AAA) rating for her professional achievement.

She married Marun Jazbik in May 27, 1989 in the Chapel of Christ the King here on the King’s College campus.  Fr. Charles Kociolek presided at their wedding.  They have two children, Mark, age 9,  & Ana Beatrice, or  Bia, age 8.  Linda and her husband are actively involved in raising their children.  In addition to volunteering at Mark and Bia’s school, much of Linda’s time outside the office is spent taking Mark and Bia to practice or lessons for swimming, sailing, baseball, tennis, gymnastics and piano.  Linda and her family travel regularly to Brazil to spend time with Marun’s mother and sisters.  Linda has become fluent in Portuguese.  In recent years she has taken a keen interest in cooking and experiments with Brazilian and Polish recipes.

The King's College Alumni Award for Service to Society

Joseph “Boe” Barrett” ’67

The King’s College Alumni Award for Service to Society was established to recognize Alumni who have distinguished themselves through selfless and caring commitment to benefit others.  The recipient of the 2004 award is Joseph “Boe” Barrett” ’67.

Boe’s grandparents’ homestead is the site of the present Corgan Library, where his Aunt Mary served as Librarian for many years. As a student he came to cherish both the college and the friends he made here. In his senior year Boe was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. He graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration in 1967.

Boe worked briefly for IBM, then at Nestle Company. Three years after graduation, diabetes claimed his sight. Boe’s philosophy is “We can’t control what happens to us in life, but we can control how we react to it.” He was given a medical retirement, but trained for a position with the Social Security Administration. It was then that he met and married Tandy Chiles. They moved to Florida where Tandy’s father was a U.S. Senator and later Governor of Florida. Boe discovered he also had an interest in government. He left his position as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor to become a Congressional aide for Rep. Bill Nelson. Last year he retired as Director of Governmental Affairs for the Orlando International Airport. He and Tandy have two children, also Joe and Tandy.

Boe could have received Social Security Disability benefits from the inception of his blindness, but he turned the trauma of the complications of diabetes into a compassionate ministry to others. He was Vice Chairman of Florida’s Diabetic Retinopathy Task Force, Chairman of the Special Ad Hoc Committee for the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness, and Board Member and past president of the Central Florida Center for Independent Living. 

Boe continues to serve on the Division of Blind Services Advisory Council, Human Services Council for Orange County, the American Diabetes Association- Florida Affiliate and is chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee for the National American Diabetes Association. He is also on the Board of Goodwill Industries of Central Florida and the Children’s Safety Village. Boe used his governmental experience to assist in passing important federal legislation. He was also a member of the Jaycees and is actively involved in his parish.

           Last year the American Diabetes Foundation and Eli Lilly recognized his 50 years of living with diabetes and awarded him the silver “Lilly for Life” medal. He was also the subject of a column of David Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel on December 8th of last year, which was the 33rd anniversary of the onset of his blindness. He interviewed Boe “watching” a Magic basketball game. His daughter, Tandy, describes Boe’s personality as half Garrison Keillor and half Robin Williams.

Boe, you are a role model for everyone.

The Robert J. Ell Alumni Award For Outstanding Service to Alma Mater

John “Jack” Wega

The Robert J. Ell Alumni Award for Outstanding Service to Alma Mater was established to honor the dedication and commitment of King’s first alumni director. Bob Ell served forty-two years with integrity, warmth, professionalism and a wonderful sense of humor. This year we present this award to a member of the class of 1969 who also demonstrated a lifetime of commitment to King’s College.

             John “Jack” Wega graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in French and was inducted as a charter member of Alpha Mu Gamma, the foreign language honor society. After working three jobs to get through college, he accepted a position in the Dallas School District. He continued his education too, receiving a Masters in Reading from the University of Scranton in 1973.

          John left the classroom in 1996 to assume the new position of Federal Programs Coordinator and Technology Director and is responsible for all Federal grants, programs and personnel as well as the information technology for the school district. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Scranton and has taught in the Masters of Education program at College Misericordia. 

Jack never really left King’s. When the alumni phonathon began in 1975, Jack volunteered to call his classmates for donations to King’s. Each year thereafter he either served as class chair or section chair, then served as Chairperson of the 1991-1992 Alumni Phonathon, raising a grand total of $378,405 that year. In 1996, Jack carried the banner representing his class at the Jubilee Mass Celebration. He and his wife, Catherine, also served on the Parents’ Council from 1991 to 2000, welcoming new parents to the college and participating in programs for parents. He also volunteered in the admissions office, calling prospective students. It was a very proud moment for Jack when each of his children graduated from his Alma Mater; Meagan ’95, Lance ’96 and Kyle’00.    

 Jack is a believer in, and an advocate for, a King’s College education, personally writing many recommendations for prospective King’s students. He assumed a lead in the formation of a local Alumni Educators Admissions Network. Jack is a Century Club member and also plays in the Farber Memorial Golf Tournament.

One might think that Jack wouldn’t have time to volunteer elsewhere, but he is an active community volunteer, most notably as the Red Cross Regional Disaster Coordinator from 1981 to the present, the Dallas Fire Department since 1977, and the Dallas Ambulance Association since 1979, serving as chief from 1980-1988. He also served the Dallas Parents’ Soccer Association, the Dallas Band Parents, and professional educational organizations. In one of your nomination letters, you were called “the face of King’s.” Jack, you are the personification of King’s. 

The Robert J. Ell Alumni Award For Outstanding Service to Alma Mater

Mark R. Leffler '75

            Mark R. Leffler graduated in 1975 with a B.S. in Business Administration. While a student he served on the Regis and initiated the first soccer team at King’s.

            Mark’s first job was selling business forms where in one year he developed a new territory from “$0” to $175,000. If you know Mark you know that he can sell anything, but he decided to sell salt and chemicals, once again growing the territory from $225,000 to $1,600,000. As the years went by Mark’s responsibilities at various companies grew from National Sales Manager, to VP of Sales to President of GFI Chemical. Along the way he developed and copyrighted “Selling in Circles” a tool, or system of salesmanship. Mark sold his company and is now Executive Vice President of Basic Chemical Solutions. He is responsible for $150,000,000 in annual sales.

            As you can see Mark’s expertise is in leadership and motivational skills, which he readily shared with King’s when he was asked to join the Business Advisory Committee in 1991. Each year he shares his experience and gives advice to McGowan Business School students in the classroom, and shares his knowledge and understanding of the business world with the dean and faculty.

            When the Business School decided to apply for the AACSB accreditation they called upon a few dedicated members of the Advisory Board to become a member of the Dean’s Cabinet for accreditation. Mark became actively involved in the process and when the accreditation committee visited campus, Mark was there to answer questions and promote his alma mater. The committee noted in its remarks that they were extremely impressed with the integrity and passion that he demonstrated for King’s.

Mark’s family comes first. He and Noreen recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They have two daughters, Gina and Carolyn. Mark once commented that it was clear to him that he has made time for little else than family or work – perhaps a little golf. Mark, we appreciate that the time you did have to commit to another purpose, you committed to King’s. King’s is richer for it and we are grateful.

The Leo Award

Suzanne M. Carney ’96

The Leo Award is named for the King’s College mascot. It suggests the energy, pride, and sense of purpose, which the recipient personifies. This year’s awardee is Suzanne M. Carney ’96.

Suzanne is the oldest daughter of seven children of Nannette and John Carney ’64. No doubt her position at home predestined her to be a leader and a take-charge person. Having John as her dad predestined her to attend King’s. Suzy graduated in 1996 with a B.S. in Marketing and a Minor in English/Writing. She was hired immediately after graduation as an Assistant Director for the Greater Philadelphia Venture Group. Her impressive organizational skill and ceaseless energy led her to be promoted to Executive Director in 1999, becoming the youngest Executive director, at only 24 years old. Her position requires her to interact with venture capitalists, angel investors, lawyers, accountants, investment bankers and entrepreneurs – not an easy lot to impress or satisfy. 

            Since her promotion she has grown the office to 5 full time employees and 225% increase in budget. Her initiatives include frequent and pervasive networking opportunities, quality educational programs and most importantly full production of the Mid-Atlantic Venture Conference which annually attracts over 1200 entrepreneurs and financiers to the Greater Philadelphia region. The mission of the GPVG is to foster a world class private equity and entrepreneurial environment in Philadelphia and under her guidance they are well on their way.

           Suzy was recently nominated to Philadelphia’s “40 Under 40” which recognizes 40 people under the age of 40 who have made significant contributions to the greater Philadelphia region through their professional and community endeavors. She is a member of Governor Ed Rendell’s Committee for Pennsylvania Innovation Index, a Special Olympics Volunteer, Business Mentoring Youth Manager, a member of the local chapter of the Variety Club Supporter and volunteers in the King’s alumni admissions network.

            Suzy credits Dr. Chris Alexander for pushing her beyond her comfort zone and King’s in general for developing her technical, verbal and written skills. She is proud of King’s. Her dad is proud that Suzy supervises graduates of Notre Dame, Villanova and Drexel!


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