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FAU Honors 2013 Hall of Fame Inductee and Distinguished Alumni of the Colleges

BOCA RATON, Fla. (May 30, 2013) – The Florida Atlantic University Alumni Association (FAUAA) recently hosted a reception to honor distinguished FAU alumni. More than 200 guests attended the event, which took place at the Recreation and Fitness Center on FAU’s Boca Raton campus. Alumni from eight of FAU’s colleges were honored for their career accomplishments, and Gene G. Kinney, M.A. ’92, Ph.D. ’94, was introduced as the 2013 inductee into the Alumni Hall of Fame. Since 1985, the Hall of Fame has served as a platform for recognizing alumni excellence.

Kinney is a recognized leader in the field of neuroscience drug discovery and Alzheimer’s disease research and therapeutics. He serves as chief scientific officer and head of research & development at Prothena Biosciences in San Francisco. He has been involved with the discovery and development of novel therapeutics for neurological and neuropsychiatric indications and has contributed to a national strategy addressing the increasing burden of Alzheimer’s disease through invited participation in Leaders Engaged in Alzheimer’s Disease (LEAD) teams.

“I graduated from FAU with more than a degree. I graduated with friends, colleagues, and mentors, as well as a comprehensive education from an institution that has supported me throughout my career,” said Kinney. “I value my time at FAU and enthusiastically encourage current and future students to embrace the opportunities this ever growing and improving university continues to offer.”

Representing eight of FAU’s colleges are the following distinguished alumni:

Lee E. Brown, M.Ed. ’87, Ed.D. ’00, College of Education – Brown is a full professor in the Department of Kinesiology and director of the Human Performance Laboratory and the Center for Sport Performance at California State University, Fullerton. He has published more than 25 books and book chapters, delivered more than 400 presentations at symposiums around the world, and authored more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Donna Chamely-Wiik, B.S. ’98, M.S. ’00, Ph.D. ’04, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science – Chamely-Wiik is an assistant scientist/scholar in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at FAU. She also serves as director of FAU’s Quality Enhancement Plan, an initiative that was instrumental to the University’s reaccreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Thomas J. de Groot, B.S.O.E. ’83, College of Engineering and Computer Science – De Groot is senior program manager at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training (MST) for the Remote Minehunting System, Multi-Vehicle Communications System, and Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Development Testing. He has been a member of the College of Engineering and Computer Science Dean’s Advisory Board since 2007 and has mentored a number of FAU students.

Laurie Grissman, M.S.N. ’02, D.N.P. ’10, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing – Grissman is a nursing entrepreneur who opened Mobile Medical Associates, an independent house call practice in Stuart, Fla., in 2010. The company is one of 17 primary care home visit practices in the U.S. chosen as demonstration models in the Independence at Home Project sponsored by the Commission for Medicare Services (CMS). It is the only nurse-owned and advanced-nursing-based group included in this important project.

Sharon Hayes, M.B.A. ’95, College of Business –Hayes is the chief executive officer at Edward White Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla. She is a registered nurse with strong clinical and operational experiences in national and international environments including serving as chief nursing officer of the Jack Nicklaus Children’s Hospital at St. Mary’s Medical Center and director of emergency services at King Fahad Hospital in Saudi Arabia.

Elizabeth Lugo, B.S.W. ’94, College for Design and Social Inquiry –Lugo is president and chief executive officer of the Volen Center in Boca Raton. Under her leadership, the Volen Center has experienced rapid growth and an increased budget due to the addition of many contracts, grants and fee-for-service programs. Lugo currently serves on FAU’s School of Social Work Advisory Council and Aging Academy Advisory Council, and has supervised numerous FAU interns over the years as a field instructor.

Mary Beth McDonald, B.A. ’74, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters – McDonald, an FAU TV pioneer, helped create WING-TV, which paved the way for campus television at FAU. After a career in communications that spanned more than 25 years, she was elected mayor of Vero Beach and served from 2004 to 2006. McDonald is vice president of the Taxpayers’ Association of Indian River County, a member of FAU’s Advisory Board, and has been instrumental in establishing an alumni group in the Indian River area.

Niina Pollari, B.A. ’06, Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College – Pollari is a project specialist at the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, as well as a poet, editor and translator with four published works. She was invited to London to read part of her senior thesis on Paradise Lost at a professional and juried academic conference celebrating the 400th birthday of John Milton. She also received an honorable mention in research from Early English Books Online, and is the only FAU student ever to do so.

For more information about the FAUAA, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 1-888-FAU-ALUM or, or visit



Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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