Fall Festival / Friday & Saturday / October 6-8

Alumni Awards Dinner

Thursday, September 26, 2019
6:30 p.m.
The Garden City Hotel

To make your reservation online, please visit hofstra.edu/alumniawardsdinner

For more information, please contact Alex LaMagna in the Office for Development and Alumni Affairs at 516-463-5284 or Alexandra.lamagna[at]hofstra.edu.

Alumna of the Year

Executive VP, COO of Development and Constructive Services
RXR Realty

Honorary Alumnus of the Year

Fay J. Lindner Foundation

Young Alumnus

Bain & Company

Alumni Achievement

Merkle Americas

Associate Professor of Journalism,
Media Studies, and Public Relations
Hofstra University

Senior VP, Head of Global Marketing
Sony Interactive Entertainment



VP, Integrated Producer
Townhouse Worldwide

JOANNE MINIERI, BBA (Accounting), ’82
Executive Vice President
Chief Operating Officer of Development and Construction Services
RXR Realty


Joanne Minieri, CPA, is executive vice president of RXR Realty ("RXR") and chief operating officer of RXR Development Services and RXR Construction Services, overseeing an over $3 billion development pipeline of 6,000 multifamily and condominium units along with approximately 2 million square feet of commercial space. RXR is a vertically integrated private real estate company with expertise in investment management, development, design, construction, leasing, financing, and management. RXR is focused on New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area markets. Its portfolio comprises approximately 25 million square feet of commercial properties and projects under active development.

Minieri served as deputy county executive and commissioner for Suffolk County Economic Development and Planning, and was chairperson of the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency Board and the Suffolk County Economic Development Corporation.

Previously, Minieri served as president and chief operating officer of Forest City Ratner Companies and was responsible for implementing the company's business plan, directing the executive management team, and overseeing all aspects of the company's day-to-day operations, with an emphasis on the development and management of financial strategies, programs, and procedures. Under her management, the company diversified its portfolio with the development of 24 retail centers, 10 office buildings, two hotels, and two residential projects.

Minieri was involved in the acquisition of the Nets professional basketball franchise and oversaw the predevelopment of the Atlantic Yards project, an 8-million-square-foot mixed-use development that includes the Barclays Center.

Minieri serves on the board of Trinity Place Holdings Inc., Hofstra University, NEW (Nontraditional Employment of Women), and NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate. She co­chairs the annual National Symposium of Women in Real Estate on behalf of the Schack Institute of Real Estate and the NYU School of Professional Studies. Minieri is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. She has received numerous awards for her accomplishments and exemplary leadership.

Fay J. Lindner Foundation


Robert Goldberg, a former educator and administrator in the New York City and Oceanside school systems who also written several textbooks, is currently a partner in commercial and residential real estate ventures on Long Island. He became president of the Fay J. Lindner Foundation in 1991 and president of the Diane Goldberg Foundation shortly thereafter.

Both foundations are dedicated to improving the quality of life for Long Island residents. Under Goldberg’s leadership, more than $40 million has been invested in capital projects and programs throughout Long Island. His relationship with Hofstra University has been among the most rewarding.   The Diane Lindner-Goldberg Child Care Institute, the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, and the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies are among the foundations’ most successful investments. Goldberg spent many years as a member, and then president, of the advisory board for the Child Care Institute. Monies continue to be provided for child care scholarships every year.

Robert Goldberg and his wife, Arlene, reside in New York City. Their family includes Robin, Jerry, David, Janet, Eric, and Geoff, and three grandchildren, Evan, Molly and Jonah.

MONTE DESAI, BS (Economics), ’11
Bain & Company


Monte Desai has driven change in the public and private sectors. He is presently at Bain & Company, a leading management consulting firm that advises leaders of Fortune 500 companies and private equity investors on their most critical issues.

Desai began his career in public service at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an agency created as part of President Obama's response to the financial crisis. At CFPB, Desai led technology initiatives aimed at reinventing government for the modern era. His team won an innovation award from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Desai was named one of the top 30 leaders in the public sector by NextGen. He has been invited to speak at the White House, State Department, and other agencies.

Desai earned an MBA at Harvard Business School, where he focused on technology and emerging markets. At Hofstra, he was part of Honors College and earned a BS in Economics.

CRAIG DEMPSTER, BA (Political Science), ’94
Merkle Americas


Craig Dempster has been a member of the Merkle executive team for more than a decade. In his role as president, Merkle Americas, he oversees all aspects of Merkle’s North American operation, including sales, account management, solutions, services, and marketing. He is responsible for driving the P&L for Merkle Americas, representing more than 80% of the agency’s revenue and employee base. His team of more than 3,500 is charged with the core goal of delivering exceptional value for clients across the full spectrum of people-based marketing competencies, including performance media, customer experience, CRM, loyalty, and enterprise technology services. In addition, Dempster is responsible for the discovery, vetting, and management of acquisitions that support the strategic direction of Merkle Americas’ plan.

Before being elevated to the role of president in 2017, Dempster served as global services leader, charged with the development and delivery of all Merkle services worldwide, blending Merkle’s unique integrated DNA of data, analytics, technology, creative, customer experience, media, and consulting to deliver world-class people-based marketing to Merkle clients.

In his previous role as global agency services lead, Dempster’s team grew from 75 to more than 1,200 people delivering integrated performance media agency services across search, display, social, mobile, email, web development, user experience, and creative services. He also steered several of Merkle’s corporate acquisitions, including IMPAQT, a market-leading search agency; Social Amp, a Facebook preferred developer that enables the use of open graph data in customer communications; Fifth Finger, a mobile first experience shop; New Control, a digital and direct agency; RKG, a performance digital media agency; and Periscopix, Europe’s leading independent digital media agency.

From 2010 to 2014, Dempster held Merkle’s chief marketing officer position, driving corporate strategy for the business and spearheading the ground-up development of the agency’s marketing communication, public relations, and events organizations. As CMO, he led the evolution and rebranding of Merkle from a database marketing company to a digitally enabled customer relationship marketing (CRM) agency, driven by data, analytics, and technology – a concept now known as Connected CRM®.
Dempster first joined Merkle in 2006 as corporate vice president of Merkle’s Content Solutions Group, an organization that combined data and analytics to drive direct marketing acquisition services for Merkle’s clients across industries.

Prior to joining Merkle, he had a long career at Metromail, and then Experian (which acquired Metromail in the late 1990s). Among his positions there were vice president of data licensing, director of market development, director of interactive marketing, and various sales management positions.

In 2015, Dempster and John Lee, Merkle’s chief strategy officer, co-wrote a book titled The Rise of the Platform Marketer, which explores the competencies that marketers need in order to win in a world of digital addressability at scale.

ELLEN T. FRISINA, BA (Communication Arts/Journalism), ’77
Associate Professor of Journalism, Media Studies, and Public Relations
Hofstra University


A 1977 graduate of Hofstra University with a BA in Communication Arts/Journalism, Professor Ellen T. Frisina credits her coursework and her editor positions with the Hofstra Chronicle with landing her first job in newspapers two weeks after graduation. She was a reporter for several community weeklies on Long Island for three years before becoming assistant director of community relations for South Oaks Hospital/Broadlawn Manor Nursing Home in Amityville. She eventually was promoted to director and created numerous programs there over her 16 years in healthcare public relations.

In 1996, she earned an MA in Media Ecology from NYU and taught as an adjunct faculty member at three colleges before being offered a full-time tenure-track position at Hofstra. She began teaching journalism, but was soon asked to create a brand-new bachelor’s degree program in public relations, which she did. The BA in Public Relations has become one of the top 5 majors at Hofstra.

Dubbed the guru of PR, Frisina was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year twice in her career (the only professor in The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication to have done so). She has received numerous honors, including the Hofstra George M. Estabrook Distinguished Service Award, Mentor of the Year Award from the Public Relations Professionals of Long Island, and an award for exceptional service from the Bay Shore Community Summit Council.

She founded the Hofstra chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America; has taught in study abroad programs in Italy, France, and Spain; and is most proud of the hundreds of careers she has launched by creating a strong network of public relations professionals throughout the country. Her students have risen to outstanding careers in all facets of public relations, and often return to Hofstra to provide advice to her current students. At Hofstra, Frisina served as chair of the University Senate Executive Committee, and has served on numerous committees in the Herbert School and at the University. She has done enormous community service as well, participating with the National Association of Mothers’ Centers, P.E.O., Society of Professional Journalists, and Public Relations Society of America, among others. She is most recently co-author of College Is Not 13th Grade – A Guide for Parents of College-Bound Students (Amazon.com). In addition, her essays have been published in the New York Times, Newsday, Sunday Daily News, PR Tactics, and dozens of books internationally.

She definitely believes in Hofstra Family Pride – her husband, Frank, earned a BA from Hofstra in 1976, and their only daughter, Jessica, earned a BA in 2006 and MEd in 2008.

Professor Ellen T. Frisina will retire from Hofstra in August 2020 and begin yet another career as a volunteer with Foster Grandparents of America, where she will be part of elementary school classrooms as a mentor to a whole new generation.

ERIC LEMPEL, BS (Communication Arts), ’95
Senior Vice President, Head of Global Marketing
Sony Interactive Entertainment


As senior vice president and head of global marketing at Sony Interactive Entertainment, Eric Lempel leads teams across the globe managing one of the largest and most beloved entertainment brands in the world, PlayStation.

Lempel is responsible for marketing and advertising for the entire portfolio of PlayStation products and services. He oversees all aspects of marketing, including brand management, product marketing for PlayStation hardware, software, gaming and entertainment services, and peripherals. He also leads the teams responsible for other marketing functions, including CRM, consumer insights, marketing technology, web, creative, events, design, brand alliances, promotions, and consumer support.

Since he joined Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2000, Lempel has served in a variety of online development and marketing roles for PlayStation. He led the launch of PlayStation Network in 2006, with the release of PlayStation 3. In subsequent years, he drove the digital transformation for the organization, working with teams to grow PlayStation Network exponentially to become the top destination for interactive entertainment. He was also responsible for a wide variety of product planning initiatives, focused on developing features and functionality to enhance the PlayStation user experience.

Lempel started his career in the video game industry in the early ’90s, working at a third-party software publisher during the inaugural years of advanced home console gaming. His experience in the industry crosses several areas, including global business management, e-commerce, marketing, online development, and product planning. He has also held roles in television production and market research.

Lempel holds a BS in Communication Arts from Hofstra University and is currently the West Coast chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board for The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication.

SUSAN SULLIVAN, BA (Drama), ’64, Honorary Doctorate ’01


Two-time Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Susan Sullivan starred for seven successful seasons as Martha, Nathan Fillion’s outrageously entertaining mother, on the hit ABC series Castle. She is currently appearing opposite Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas on the Golden Globe-winning Netflix/Chuck Lorre series The Kominsky Method. She recurs on the current Tim Allen reboot of Last Man Standing, and previously recurred alongside Martha Plimpton and Jay R. Ferguson on ABC’s The Real O’Neals.

Sullivan is well known to television audiences for starring roles in long-running hits Dharma & Greg and Falcon Crest, and has made innumerable recurring and guest appearances on Two and a Half Men, The Nine, and Judging Amy,  to name a few. Sullivan also starred in numerous features and television movies, including My Best Friend's Wedding, The Incredible Hulk, Midway, A Perfect Stranger, and the classic miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man.

Born in New York, Sullivan attended Hofstra University on a drama scholarship. On Broadway, she starred in Jimmy Shine, opposite Dustin Hoffman, among others. Off-Broadway, she played the leads in The Fourth Wall and Buffalo Gal. She toured with the L.A. Theatre Works production of The Pentagon Papers, and her extensive list of regional theater credits includes Fifth of July at the Mark Taper Forum and the National Touring Company's production of Uncle Vanya, The Three Sisters, and the recent award-winning production of A Delicate Balance at the Odyssey. She starred in Twelfth Night, Macbeth, and The Winter's Tale for PBS, and is a member of both the Matrix and Antaeus Theatre companies in Los Angeles. A founding member of the Celebrity Action Council at the Los Angeles Mission, Sullivan has served on the board of the Felice Foundation and been a spokesperson for the National Hospice Foundation and Save the Children.

CHRIS WACKER, BA (Social Science), ’76


Chris Wacker is a technology entrepreneur and CEO of Laserfiche, an elite provider of enterprise software for automating business processes and enabling digital transformation.

As CEO, Wacker sets Laserfiche’s strategic vision and drives business growth. With 30 years of industry experience, Wacker has a unique perspective on connecting inspiration and information, technology’s capabilities and the human touch. He is committed to leading a customer-centric organization —ensuring that every single user has an exceptional, distinctive experience. His dedication to a customer-focused approach to business is inspired by the Laserfiche community and its passion for efficiency and transformation.

Wacker has worked and traveled extensively throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. He holds a bachelor’s degree in social science from Hofstra University and currently lives in Long Beach, California.

RONDELL J. WESCOTT, BA (Video/Television), ’03
Vice President, Integrated Producer
Townhouse Worldwide


Ask Rondell Wescott ’03 where he’s from and he’ll tell you he was “born in Philly, made in New York City!”

The “made” part happened at The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University, where Wescott learned how to take the collective ramblings of an ad agency’s creative department and turn them into reality.

Today, with almost two decades of experience under his belt, he’s produced every medium under the sun, from radio and print ads to digital content to global television campaigns for various brands, including Dr. Scholl’s, Chobani, NBC Universal, ExxonMobil, and Gillette.

Wescott was the producer for Gillette’s most controversial and talked-about ad to date, titled “We Believe,” which addressed the #MeToo Movement and toxic masculinity, among other issues.  It quietly launched online (only) on January 14, 2019, and within a day, the ad became part of the global conversation, garnering both praise and criticism from every major media outlet from just about every part of the world. With so much attention on the ad, it quickly became the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter and now has over 110 million worldwide views. This same ad went on to win numerous awards, including a Silver Lion at the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which is the highest honor in advertising.

He also recently established the Rondell J. Wescott Endowed Scholarship at Hofstra University, which will be awarded every year, in perpetuity, to one or more deserving students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in television at The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication.

Wescott is currently vice president of Hofstra’s Black/Hispanic Alumni Association, and he serves as parliamentarian/historian for the Hofstra University Alumni Organization.

You can check out his work at www.rondelljw.com or follow him on Twitter @rondelljw.