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Dean's Advisory Board Biographies

The Dean’s Advisory Board consists of friends and alumni who provide support, advice, and counsel to the Dean of the School of Arts & Science at Iona College.
  • Deborah Benvenger

    Deborah Benvenger Member

    Deborah Benvenger is chief admissions officer at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Debbie received her BA in Mathematics (’79) and MBA (’84) from Iona College, and has extensive experience in admissions including at the College. She joined the Dean's Advisory Board in fall 2018.
  • Robert Burns, Ph.D.

    Robert Burns Charter Member
    Bob Burns, retired associate professor of Marriage and Family Therapy, has been at Iona College for over four decades.  Currently he is an adjunct professor in Marriage and Family Therapy Department.

    Bob holds NYS licenses in both Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy. He has been a licensed psychologist in New York since 1971 and has worked in a variety of settings, including psychiatric clinics, residential treatment centers, hospitals, schools and independent practice. Bob has completed training in critical incident de-briefing and served at the World Trade Center and the Boston Marathon Bombing.
  • Alvin Clayton

    Charter Member
    Alvin moved from Port of Spain, Trinidad, in the West Indies, to the metropolitan Washington D.C., area to attend Archbishop Carrol High School where his interest in art was born. He then attended Mount Saint Mary’s University where he earned a BA in Education. Drafted to play professional soccer, Alvin’s plans were derailed when the North American Soccer League disbanded. Clayton was offered an opportunity to model for a photographer, and he landed his first contract with Wilhelmina in NYC.
    His clean-cut looks and engaging smile were the focus of fashion editorials in GQ, Vogue, Glamour, Elle, Esquire, Details, French Vogue and Ebony Man. A passport abroad was the conduit to the arts and his first exposure to the great post-impressionists. He studied in Paris for three years with Henri Matisse's saturated palette being the most profound influence. In 1992, he landed his first solo show at the Lee Arthur Gallery in New York's Soho Buzz.
    Currently, he enjoys a full list of famous supporters and collectors. In the winter of 1999, the Smithsonian Center for African American History and Culture invited Clayton to be part of a commemorative installation entitled "Location and Spirituality in African American Art.” His passion to inspire young artists and collaborate in progressive community grassroots events continue to be part of his daily routine as an artist and Owner of Alvin & Friends Restaurant located in New Rochelle, N.Y., where he resides with his children and wife.
  • Richard Cummins, JD, LLM

    Charter Member
    Richard majored in Philosophy at Iona, graduating in 1961. He was a Root-Tilden Scholar at New York University School of Law. After law school he clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He studied comparative law in New York and Paris and has practiced international law at Cravath, Swaine and Moore and Mobil Corporation for over 30 years in New York, London, Paris and Washington, D.C. 
    Since 1995, Richard has held the position of Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C., specializing in Comparative (European and Latin American) Law.  He has taught comparative law, transactions courses and seminars in Roman and Islamic law. 
    The Richard & Diane Cummins Legal History Research Grant at The George Washington University Law School provides a stipend of $10,000 to support short-term historical research using Special Collections at GW's Jacob Burns Law Library, which is noted for its continental historical legal collections, especially its French Collection, with strengths in Roman and canon law, church-state relations, international law, and many incunabula holdings.
  • Stephen Daunt, Ph.D.

    Charter Member
    Steve Daunt came to Iona College to play basketball. He majored in physics, chemistry and math. He attended graduate school at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, where he worked in molecular spectroscopy (Physical Chemistry and Chemical Physics). His supervisor enjoyed lab privileges at Canada's National Research Council in Ottawa, where Steve explored laser work and first found out the relationship of his field to astronomy. That lab is now the Stacie Institute for Molecular Sciences (formerly the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics). Dr. Herzberg was the lab director, and he won the Nobel Prize while Steve was a student working in his branch. During those years, Steve became interested in computer simulation that brought him into his first contact with the University of Tennessee (UT).
    Steve came to UT as a postdoc in 1975 and taught in the Math Department for three years while he did research in the Dept. of Physics & Astronomy. When he started teaching in the Physics Department he decided that his research was pulling him more and more into astronomy and, that teaching it might be a good idea. Steve has taught astronomy and various physics courses at UT and he is also an adjunct professor at Maryville College (Maryville, Tenn.) in astronomy, medical physics and nuclear medicine.  He has been a visiting research scientist at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt, Md.) and he has done work in support of the Voyager, Cassini and Galileo Mission and the Hubble Space Telescope. Steve spent 10 years as NSERC Faculty Fellow at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.
  • James Kevin Devlin, CFC, Ed.D.

    Charter Member
    Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Brother Kevin Devlin moved to Woodside, Queens where he attended St. Sebastian’s Grammar School and Power Memorial Academy in Manhattan. Upon graduation from Power Memorial, he was accepted to Iona College and joined the Christian Brothers on July 1, 1957.
    Upon graduation from Iona College, where he majored in history and political science, Br. Devlin was assigned to St. Pius X High School in Montreal, PQ, Canada, where he taught a large immigrant population. In 1963, he was assigned to Iona Prep and he remained there for nine years. During this time, he earned his MA in Education from Seton Hall University
    After Iona Prep, Brother taught at Bishop Hendricken High School for six years before being appointed as Headmaster of the Iona Grammar School. After seven years, he came to Iona College in 1986 where he worked in Admissions for 10 years. For the past 18 years he has been the Director of Student Retention. Recently he became the Senior Director of the Center for Student Success. Brother teaches as an Adjunct in the Psychology Department. He attended Fordham University and received his Doctorate in Educational Administration in 1998.
  • John F. McGuire III

    Charter Member
    A graduate of Iona College with a BS in Chemistry, Professor Jack McGuire completed his graduate studies with an MBA from Harvard University. He also served as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps. He has prior teaching experience in the business programs at Babson College and Boston College, and currently teaches crisis management at the Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College.
    Prior to joining the Tuck faculty in 2008, Professor McGuire was President and CEO of the American Red Cross, leading efforts in the response to Hurricane Katrina. He previously served in senior executive positions in major U.S. and European corporations including Johnson & Johnson and E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, as well as smaller biotech early-stage companies.
    He has been a member of the advisory boards of LEK Consulting (a business strategy consulting firm) and Insigniam Performance (a consulting firm specializing in culture change and performance management). Much of his career has involved managing organizational transitions and culture change.
    Jack is an expert in public policy and management. His current research focuses on strategic planning in healthcare and change in change-resistant organizations.
  • Richard D. Persen

    Charter Member and Chairperson
    Rich is an experienced technical documentation professional who served as Senior Principal Technical Writer and Senior Manager at Oracle Corporation. In this capacity, he managed Oracle software application projects for the supply chain including process and discrete manufacturing products.
    His life’s work spans military instruction, curriculum and courseware development, video production, immunochemistry development, clinical laboratory diagnostic research, clinical trial design and execution, and the commercialization, marketing, advertising, and promotion of products in a variety of market segments including medical devices, pharmaceuticals, recipe formulation and color control of plastics, paints, coatings and foods.
    In addition to his work in clinical laboratory sciences, Rich has documentation experience in manufacturing operations, warehouse management, quality assurance, regulatory management, and materials management. He now consults in new business development and social media. His most recent work has focused on designing and helping deliver a pilot e-portfolio course at Iona using Taskstream.
  • Michelle Morris

    Charter Member
    Michelle Morris is executive director in the Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s Alternative Investment Research group, where she is responsible for the evaluation and selection of investment managers and funds across multiple strategies, including private equity, real estate and hedge funds. Previously, Michelle was a member of the Investment Team of the Morgan Stanley Emerging Managers Fund in Morgan Stanley Investment Management and was responsible for evaluating multiple strategies for the emerging manager platform and raising capital for the fund.
    Michelle joined Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s U.S. Institutional Advisory Group in 2007 and was responsible for business development with public pension funds. She became a U.S. Regional Sales team coverage officer in the Northeast and Southeast regions. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Michelle held various positions at Citigroup in corporate M&A, private equity fundraising, institutional investment management sales, Smith Barney retail Sales and Marketing and public finance banking.
    Michelle received a BA in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She holds Series 7 and 63 FINRA licenses and she is a former board member of the National Association of Securities Professionals.
  • Glen Mules, Ph.D.

    Charter Member

    Glen R.J. Mules retired at the end of June 2015 from IBM Corporation, where he was a Senior Instructor and Principal Consultant with the newly formed IBM Analytics Group. He started at IBM in the IBM Information Management World-Wide Education department in 2001 as a result of IBM's acquisition of Informix Software. He worked at IBM, and previously at Informix, as an instructor, a course developer, and in the enablement / development of corporate instructors worldwide. He taught courses in Big Data and the Hadoop ecosystem -- his current research interests -- and relational database technology.
    He has a BS.c. in Mathematics from the University of Adelaide, South Australia; an MS.c. in Computer Science from the University of Birmingham, 
    England; and a Ph.D. in Education (Educational Technology) from Walden University in Minneapolis. He worked as a high school teacher in his native Australia early on in his career. In the 1970s, he designed, programmed and managed banking systems in Manhattan and Boston. In the 1980s, he was a VP in Electronic Payments with Bank of America in San Francisco and New York. In the early 1990s, he was an EVP, Marketing for a software development company and chaired the ANSI X12C Standards Committee on Data Security for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).
    Currently Dr. Mules is an adjunct professor at Iona teaching Computer Science.

  • Sean O’Shea

    Charter Member

    Entrepreneur Sean O'Shea is the founder and Chief Development Officer at Majestyk Apps  – a premiere mobile agency in New York – where a team of engineers, developers, creatives and strategists collaborate to define the future of the mobile experience. His role has led to opportunities to partner and to invest in products that are changing the marketplace, creating an active portfolio of investments.

    With his guidance and expertise, Sean and his team were recently announced as winners of the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge, securing a partnership with IBM to commercialize the IBM supercomputer "Watson" into an adaptive "A.I." based smart toy.
  • John Pennacchia, Ph.D.

    Charter Member
    John Pennacchia is a Senior Project Engineer for IBM in the Systems & Technology Group of the Microelectronics Division. He has 28 years of experience in development and manufacturing in Electronics Packaging.
    He has held technical and managerial positions at various levels of responsibility during his career. Areas John’s expertise include: Wafer Solder bumping, electroplating for Lead and Lead-Free solders, Thin Films multi-layer Process and materials for electronic packaging devices and Multilayer Ceramics.
    John holds several patents and internal corporate publications. He has received three outstanding technical achievement awards at the corporate level. His focus is on process integration from development into manufacturing as well as processes and controls for Lead-free electroplating. He holds a PhD (1986) and MS (1984) from Polytechnic University in Polymer Chemistry, historically known as “Brooklyn Poly” (currently NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering). He also holds a BS (1981) in Chemistry from Iona College. John resides in the Mid-Hudson Valley in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., with his wife and three children.
  • Lucy Perazzo, MD

    Charter Member
    Lucy Perazzo graduated magna cum laude from the Iona Honors Program in 1988. During her senior year, she participated in an internship in the Invertebrate Paleontology at the Museum of Natural History where she studied evolutionary changes in the fossil record using Trilobites. Upon graduation, she began a Doctoral Program at SUNY Stony Brook in Evolutionary Biology with plans to pursue Paleontology. During her teaching she realized she missed Physiology.
    Lucy continued with Neuroscience research on the human fetal pathways responsible for hearing as well as pathological processes leading to deafness at SUNY Stony Brook and the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles. She then entered the University of Chicago Medical School for her true calling – the field of medicine. Lucy completed her Internal Medicine Residency at NYU/Bellevue and has been a practicing Internist since 1999 in both NYC and now in Westchester County.
    Lucy has maintained a passion for teaching and life-long learning, and she has taught or precepted courses at SUNY Stony Brook, U. of Chicago, Iona College, and NYU/Bellevue Residency program as well as teaching her patients daily about their health, diseases and treatments. She remains passionate for academic endeavors. Lucy is married to John Edwards, PhD, a research scientist in cell physiology at NY Medical College, and they have two lovely daughters.
  • Shenan Reed-Golimbu

    Charter Member
    Shenan Reed-Golimbu leads MEC as President of its digital business. She is responsible for driving the advancement of digital growth and innovation across North America.
    A highly respected leader in the digital space, Shenan has a strong background in integrated planning, and the savvy for how data informs the overall communications planning process. Her acumen spans the entire spectrum of digital marketing, including: Digital Strategy, Online Media Placement, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Strategies, Creative Consulting, and E-Commerce/eCRM Consulting. Her early understanding of the digital consumer journey led her to open her own agency, Morpheus Media in 2001 where she built a highly profitable and well-respected business with fashion clients such as Neiman Marcus, LVMH, Mont Blanc, Chanel, The New York Times, and A&E Television Networks.
    Shenan is a much sought-after speaker and commentator. Her valuable insights are cited in a host of international publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Women’s Wear Daily. A deep understanding of analytics and online media management mandated her inclusion on the DoubleClick Client Advisory Board and Google Zeitgeist Summit.
  • Rohan Samarakoon, Ph.D.

    Charter Member
    Rohan Samarakoon graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Biology from Iona College. He received his MS and Ph.D. degrees from Albany Medical College in New York in Molecular Cell Biology (1997-2003). His doctoral thesis defined novel cell signaling mechanisms induced by fibrotic growth factors and mechanical forces in the context of vascular disease.
    Rohan did his post-doctoral fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Dr. Joseph V. Bonventre’s laboratory (2003-2006) where his research, funded by a fellowship award from American Heart Association, characterized the molecular mechanisms associated with kidney injury and fibrosis. Dr. Samarakoon is currently an Assistant Professor at the Center for Cell Biology at Albany Medical Center. His research program there is aimed at identifying new fibrotic molecules and testing them as therapeutic agents against kidney failure in pre-clinical settings.
    Extensively published, Rohan serves as an editor and a peer reviewer for several high profile scientific journals. During his career, Dr. Samarakoon has trained numerous BS/MD students, graduate students, medical students, medical residents and research fellows to become researchers and physician scientists.
  • Victor A. Stanionis, Ph.D.

    Charter Member
    Iona alumnus, Class of 1960, and professor of Physics, Victor A. Stanionis, Ph.D., began his 54th year teaching physics at Iona College in September 2014. The author of several books in science and many papers on teaching science at the college level, he coordinated the Scientific and Technological Literacy Program at Iona for 24 years.
    Victor received grants to implement the program from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as part of their New Liberal Arts Program. He also coordinated Iona’s 50th Jubilee Celebration in 1990-1991. As director of the Thomas G. Bullen, CFC, Memorial Lecture Series in Science and Technology, he has brought 86 speakers since 1989 to lecture to Iona’s student body. Nineteen were Nobel Laureates, four MacArthur Fellows, two chairs of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and many National Medal of Science recipients. Scientists such as Arno Penzias, James Watson, Freeman Dyson and Henry Heimlich have been speakers in the series.
    In 2000, the Iona College Alumni Association awarded him the Brother Arthur A. Loftus Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Education.” In 2010, he was presented with the “Facere et Docere” award from Iona College for 50 years of service. The Iona College “Recognition Award for Outstanding Academic Accomplishments and Dedicated Service” was presented to him at the 2012 College Convocation.
  • Edwin (Ned) W. Thanhouser

    Charter Member
    Ned Thanhouser is the grandson of the silent film pioneers Gertrude and Edwin Thanhouser, and he is now President of the Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc. Since 1986, he has been actively involved in the research, acquisition, preservation, and publication of the history, surviving films, and related ephemera from the Thanhouser studio that operated in New Rochelle from 1909 to 1918.
    Ned is a member of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA), Domitor: The International Association for the Study of Early Cinema, and the Society of Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS). He has presented and published numerous research papers. Edwin is also co-founder and vice-president of the International Youth Silent Film Festival, which organizes competitions for filmmakers (age 20 and under) to create modern versions of silent films. Visit for more information.
    Working with film archives and private collectors, Ned has produced 14 DVD titles that contain 57 surviving Thanhouser films not seen by the public for over a century. These films are now available on DVD and online at no charge to researchers, scholars and film lovers at He is currently in post-production of a 50-minute documentary film  - The Thanhouser Studio and the Birth of American Cinema —scheduled to premiere at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival in Italy in October 2014.
  • Joseph Wiener

    Charter Member
    Joseph Wiener, BS, MS, is an R&D product development scientist at PepsiCo, where he works on beverage formulations. He has worked on core CSD-brands, Foodservice platforms, and innovative fountain equipment.

    Joe earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Iona College and a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from Manhattan College. In his current position, Joe leads product development of the ready-to-drink Lipton Iced Tea products for the Latin America Region within the Pepsi Lipton Tea Partnership—a joint venture between PepsiCo and Unilever.
  • John P. Willis, Ph.D.

    Charter Member
    John Willis is an Albany native and a 1965 graduate of Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons High School in Schenectady, N.Y. John completed his BS in Chemistry at Iona in 1969. Following Iona, he joined Sterling Winthrop Drug Company as a production chemist at their facility in Rensselaer, N.Y.
    In 1974 he completed graduate studies at SUNY Oswego where he earned an MS in Electro-Analytical Chemistry. In 1977, he completed doctoral studies in Organic Chemistry at the University of Connecticut under the direction of Professor James M. Bobbitt.
    Following two years as a research scientist at the Uniroyal Corporate Research Center in Connecticut, he returned to academia and in 1980 completed post-doctoral studies at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. In 1980 he began his 34-year career in medical devices when he joined Nova Biomedical in Boston.
    Following Nova, he worked for a number of medical device companies including Radiometer A/S and MediSense. He was also the founder or co-founder of a number of medical device start-up companies in the Albany and Boston area.
  • Shoshanna N. Zucker, Ph.D.

    Charter Member
    Shoshanna N. Zucker-Freundel graduated magna cum laude from Iona in 1989. From there, she explored the field of scientific research by first working at Columbia University and then pursuing her doctoral degree at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Her graduate studies focused on regulation of the protein that causes multidrug resistance in cancer cells.
    Shoshanna was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Buffalo in the area of gap junctions and cancer and continued on as a research assistant professor. She demonstrated how combinations of genetic manipulations, drug therapy and non-thermal plasma can selectively target melanoma cells. Shoshanna is currently an assistant professor at D’Youville College School of Pharmacy. There she closely supervises students in independent projects.
    Shoshanna maintains an active research position at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. She is currently pursuing translational research to promote future therapy for melanoma. In addition to her research, Shoshanna is very enthusiastic about teaching and is the course leader for first year PharmD students in anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology, and she also instructs an Introduction to Collaborative Learning. Shoshanna is married to a pulmonologist, Dr. Anthony Frudel. She has two daughters.