Close search

BW celebrates 2024 Alumni Merit Award honorees

Eight outstanding individuals are being lauded with Baldwin Wallace's highest alumni honor — the Alumni Merit Award — which recognizes exceptional accomplishments and dedicated service to one's profession, community and alma mater.

YJ4L banner with Strosacker in background 

On May 16, the following alumni were recognized at a special ceremony.

Paul Clark photoPaul Clark '81

As regional president for PNC Bank in Cleveland, Clark had an illustrious career. He successfully led the local conversion for customers, employees and community partners following PNC's acquisition of National City Corp. He retired from the bank in 2019 after a remarkable career and community service that included 26 local nonprofit organizations, successful capital campaigns, and economic development and advocacy initiatives that continue to positively impact Northeast Ohio.

His civic commitments include being on the BW board of directors since 2009. He also has been a board member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland Council on World Affairs, Gordon Square Arts District, Greater Cleveland Partnership, University Circle Inc. and University Hospitals Health Systems Inc.

Clark received a BW Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and an honorary degree from Cuyahoga Community College. Other recognitions include the Levin College In Tribute to Public Service Award, United Way Volunteer of the Year, Kol Israel Humanitarian Award, Richard H. Adler Community Leadership Award, Cleveland Business Hall of Fame and The Cleveland Foundation Homer Wadsworth Award.

In addition to his BW MBA, Clark has a bachelor's degree from Denison University and is a Stonier School of Banking graduate.


Penny ForsterPenny Forster '01

Having earned a BA in sport management and business administration, Forster began her career with the former Cleveland Indians, now Cleveland Guardians. Her roles with the organization have grown progressively in the last 23 years.

In her current position as director of community impact, Forster manages relationships that translate into securing new sources of income from individuals, foundations and corporations for Cleveland Guardians Charities. She also oversees youth baseball and softball development, alumni relations and community impact programming at the league and local level. She is involved with Major League Baseball community projects, including the All-Star Student Veterans Center on BW's campus.

Active in the Greater Cleveland community, Forster is chair of the board of advisors for the Kidney Foundation and a True2U mentor in the Cleveland Public School District. For BW, Forster has mentored students interested in the sport management field and has served as a guest speaker and panelist for events. For several years, Forster has been a BW Gives advocate. She is the second vice president on BW's Alumni Council, a position leading to service as BW's Alumni Association president in 2025.


Ashleigh GordonAshleigh Gordon '06

An elite violist, Gordon's resume includes a prestigious list of recordings and performances spanning the globe.

She is co-founder, artistic director and violist of Castle of our Skins, a concert and educational series celebrating Black artistry through music. She has been featured in the Boston Globe and The New York Times. She received the Charles Walton Diversity Advocate Award from the American Federation of Musicians. Gordon is a Brother Thomas Fellow, a nominee for the "Americans for the Arts Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities" and named one of WBUR's "ARTery 25," twenty-five millennials of color impacting Boston's arts and culture scene.

An advocate of social change, Gordon has presented numerous lectures and workshops. She frequently appears as a panelist discussing topics of diversity in classical music. She is on the board of directors for Project STEP (a rigorous string training organization for Black and Latino youth) and serves on the steering committee for the Boston Cultural Leaders Coalition, an arts and cultural movement dedicated to intersectional racial justice and equity.

She is a graduate of New England Conservatory, Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt and BW's Conservatory of Music.


Phyllis HarrisPhyllis Seven Harris '02

As executive director of the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, Harris has brought transformational growth, vitality and expansion to the organization.

Her leadership in nonprofit circles also extends to service on local and national nonprofit boards, including the Women of Color Foundation, Assembly for The Arts and CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers. In 2020, she co-founded Sage & Maven, LLC, where she and her business partner support organizations to strengthen their commitment to equity and inclusion, social justice, leadership development and excellence in nonprofit management.

She is a past recipient of the Cleveland Foundation's Homer C. Wadsworth Award, has completed a leadership fellowship with the Arcus Foundation and is a graduate of Leadership Cleveland. She served as a co-chair of the transition team for the City of Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb and on the advisory selection panel for the City of Cleveland Community Police Commission.

Harris holds a master's degree in nonprofit management from Case Western Reserve University and a bachelor of arts in communications from BW. In 2022, she was recognized by Cleveland Magazine as one of CLE's 500.


Zarema JaramilloZarema Arutyunova Jaramillo '00

A double major in international affairs and business administration at BW, Jaramillo later earned a law degree from American University. She is an attorney in Washington D.C., where she is senior counsel and partner with Lowenstein Sandler, heading up its D.C. office and concentrating on antitrust and trade regulation issues.

Her practice focuses on complex antitrust matters, such as government investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, regulatory clearances in M&A transactions and high-stakes antitrust class action defense.

She has served as a trade specialist for the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration in the Office of China and as the acting director of the U.S. Department of Commerce Corporate Governance Program in the Office of Russia. 

In these roles, she provided guidance to U.S. companies regarding bilateral and unilateral treaties and trade agreements and compliance with international standards. Throughout her career in both the government and the private sector, she has designed and implemented training programs for corporate executives and legal practitioners throughout the United States, Russia and Central Asia to address antitrust, anti-bribery and other corporate governance issues.


Tricia MeltonPatricia "Tricia" Melton '87, '08

This award is presented posthumously.

Melton earned a bachelor of arts in psychology in 1987 and a master of arts in reading literacy in 2008. She was drawn to helping people from an early age, working in the kitchen of Glenbeigh Hospitals prior to graduation. Soon after, she became a young adult drug and alcohol counselor at Glenbeigh and later at Laurelwood Hospital as a milieu therapist.

The opportunity to serve as a student development specialist with BW's TRIO Upward Bound program gave Melton an opportunity to impact students at younger ages before they became involved with drugs and alcohol. She held this role for more than 20 years.

Many of her students remained in touch with her long after their completion of the Upward Bound program and honored Melton at her funeral for the impact she had on their lives. On campus, Melton was an advocate for BW students, including active involvement with the former SPROUT program (Single Parents Reaching Out for Unassisted Tomorrows) and the Black Student Alliance. She was also a member of the BW Women's Club and a community career mentor for the BW Career Center.


Amy NowackAmy (Bardeen) Nowacki '02

After graduating magna cum laude from BW with a bachelor of science in mathematics, Nowacki went on to earn a master of science in applied mathematics at Clemson University and a doctorate in biostatistics at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Nowacki began her career in the department of quantitative health sciences at the Lerner Research Institute of the Cleveland Clinic / Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in teaching and biomedical research roles. She is an associate professor of medicine in epidemiology and biostatistics.

She received a Kaiser Permanente Teaching Award from CWRU, outstanding educator award from the Lerner Research Institute and several accolades from the American Statistical Association, of which she is a longtime member and former program and section chair.

In her community, Nowacki has been a Sunday School teacher, a softball coach for youth leagues and co-directs a youth volleyball league. She has served BW as adjunct faculty in the department of mathematics and computer science and is a member of BW's mathematics advisory board. Nowacki also volunteers for the BW Career Center.


Stamy PaulStamy Paul '94

Paul received her MBA in management from BW and her bachelor's degree in psychology from Kent State University. She is senior vice president of human resources for Airgas, one of the nation's leading suppliers of industrial, medical and specialty gases.

Paul's innovative and entrepreneurial mindset led her to the creation of Graffiti HeArt, a nonprofit organization offering a platform for graffiti writers and aspiring artists to practice their talent. More than 60 public murals led by Graffiti HeArt can be seen throughout Greater Cleveland.

Paul is a board member for the Cleveland Institute of Art, where Graffiti HeArt has funded more than 55 youth scholarships for the Pre-College Program. Paul was named one of Cleveland's 2016 Most Interesting People by Cleveland Magazine, 2019 Community Leader of the Year by Cleveland Magazine, 2020 YWCA Women of Achievement Award and 2023 Ruth Ratner Miller "Power of Place Award" by Downtown Cleveland Alliance.

For BW, she has been a supportive advocate for graduate programs and has referred several colleagues to pursue degrees with the School of Business.

Media Contact

More News

BW students, faculty heading to Paris as Team USA Olympic volunteers

BW grad student one of five globally to receive Fulbright-National Geographic Awards

Leadership team moving Baldwin Wallace University forward