When West Virginia University graduates leave campus, diplomas in hand, they do so with passion, a strong work ethic, pioneering spirit and deep commitment to service.

Four extraordinary graduates who exemplify those very ideals will be honored on Friday, Feb. 21, with induction into the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni highest honor awarded to graduates of the institution. Dr. Vicente Anido Jr., Dr. Gopala Krishna, Dr. Bernadette M. Melnyk and Joseph Steranka will join an elite group of fewer than 85 people to receive this prestigious honor. The event will be held at The Erickson Alumni Center beginning at 7 p.m.

“Bernadette, Joe, Vince, and Gopala are true visionaries who exemplify our WVU ideals—entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, and of course hard work. Each has achieved tremendous success in their respective fields and are very deserving of this recognition,” said Stephen L. Douglas, President and CEO, WVU Alumni Association.

Vicente Anido Jr.

Dr. Vicente Anido Jr., grew up believing anything is possible. His father instilled the values of hard work and a can-do attitude. Today, Anido is a highly respected ophthalmology industry veteran and leader with more than 37 years of multinational general management experience in the healthcare field, including broad exposure in prescription and non-prescription pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics and biologics.

He is a multifaceted leader, having excelled in managing both large and small companies—public and private. Anido’s substantial experience and solid reputation for building focused, results-oriented teams have served him well in successfully executing multiple private and public financings, including IPOs and taking companies private. He has served on multiple boards of directors of public, private and non-profit companies.

Anido, a native of Morgantown, currently serves as Chairman and CEO of Aerie Pharmaceuticals Inc., a privately held clinical stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing products to treat glaucoma. The company has offices in Bedminster, N.J.; Research Triangle Park, N.C.; and Newport Beach, Calif.

From 2001 to 2012, he was president, CEO and a director of ISTAPharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Bausch & Lomb. Prior to this, Anido served as general partner of Windamere Venture Partners. He also has served as president and CEO of CombiChem Inc., a biotechnology company, and was president of the Americas Region of Allergan Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company focusing on ophthalmology, dermatology and neuromuscular indications. Prior to Allergan, Anido held management positions at Marion Laboratories and Marion Merrell Dow Inc.

Click below to hear the WVUToday radio spot about the newest Academy of Distinguished Alumni members.

Anido serves on the Board of Directors of Depomed Inc., a NASDAQ listed pharmaceutical company. He also serves as a strategic advisor to CheckedUP, a mobile-health management software platform and application that empowers patients to manage their surgical process.

Anido, who was born in Havana, Cuba, received a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy (‘75) and a master’s degree in pharmacy administration (‘78) from WVU’s School of Pharmacy and a doctorate in pharmacy administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In 2013 he received an honorary doctorate of science from the WVU School of Pharmacy.

Gopala Krishna

Dr. Gopala Krishna was born in Kaiwara, a village in southern India, where he was one of six children. He completed the 10th grade in Kaiwara, often studying at night using kerosene lamps and street lights because his home had no electricity at the time. He was first in his family to pass 10th grade with honors and he spent the next two years living independently and studying in a larger nearby village.

After completing 12th grade with honors, he pursued his dreams in metropolitan Bangalore by attending the College of Agriculture, University of Agricultural Sciences where he earned a bachelor’s degree, finishing 11th among 400 students, and later a master’s degree where he finished at the top of his class and was recognized with a University Gold Medal.

With strong academic credentials and a zeal for higher learning, Krishna was one of three students to receive a full scholarship from the Indian government to study abroad. After choosing the U.S. for his post-graduate studies, he chose WVU because of research being done by Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design Professor Joginder Nath, who also went out his way to help Krishna begin his studies at WVU.

After receiving his doctorate in Genetics and Developmental Biology from WVU in 1984, Krishna embarked on a distinguished career in the field of toxicology, conducting post-doctoral research at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health research center and later joined the staff of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

In 1986, Krishna joined Pfizer where he served in numerous roles, including manager and senior scientist for Pathology and Experimental Toxicology. In 1996 he was named chairman of the Genetic Toxicology Program and senior manager of Pathology and Experimental Toxicology before being named Associate Research Fellow and director of Drug Safety Evaluation. During his nearly 15-year career with Pfizer, Krishna directed research and new methods of toxicology research, leading to the development of such life-saving drugs as Lipitor, Rezulin, Neurontin, and Nipent, among others.

He served as section head of Regulatory Toxicology and Safety Pharmacology and head of Genetic Toxicology at Abbott Labs contributing to developing drugs such as Humira and Kaletra, from 2001-03 before joining MGI Pharma Inc. as director of Toxicology. In this role, he oversaw all pre-clinical drug safety activities in support of drug discovery and development of new pharmaceuticals for global registration, including developing pre-clinical strategies to support MGI Pharma’s drug development effort, identifying and evaluating contract laboratories, and implementing/managing toxicology studies.

Today, Krishna serves as executive director and head of Preclinical R&D and Competitive Intelligence for Supernus Pharmaceuticals where he directs drug discovery and development in the area of neuroscience. He and his team have helped to develop key life-saving drugs, including Oxtellar-XR and Trokendi-XR, which are used to treat epilepsy. Collaboratively, Krishna continues to direct research to treat ADHD, epilepsy, depression and Alzheimer’s.

Krishna, who holds a master’s degree in business administration from Eastern Michigan University, served as an adjunct professor of toxicology at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. He is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences and a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology. He has served as guest editor and member of the editorial board for the international journal Mutation Research and as an expert grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Krishna has published extensively and has been an invited speaker around the globe in the field of Pharma R&D and drug safety. He has won several awards for his innovative contributions and leadership by walking that extra mile and making a difference in the “waiting” patient.

Krishna remains a devoted Mountaineer and is actively engaged in WVU’s innovative Genetics and Developmental Biology program. In addition to collaborating with Dr. Nath on writing several chapters for textbooks, he also has served as a guest lecturer on the role and application of cytogenetics in drug development and toxicology. He also has provided generous financial support to students in the Genetics and Developmental Biology program and assisted in special events, including the CentiGrad Celebration.

Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk

A never-ending dreamer with a passion to make a difference in people’s lives, Dr. Bernadette “Bern” Melnyk is a nationally/internationally recognized expert in evidence-based practice, intervention research and child and adolescent mental health and is a frequent keynote speaker at national and international conferences on these topics.

She has consulted with hundreds of healthcare systems and colleges throughout the nation and globe on how to improve quality of care and patient outcomes through implementing and sustaining evidence-based practice. Her record includes more than $19 million of sponsored funding from federal agencies as principal investigator and more than 230 publications.

Melnyk serves as associate vice president for Health Promotion, University chief wellness officer, and professor and dean of the College of Nursing at The Ohio State University. She also is a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Ohio State’s College of Medicine.

A native of the small rural town of Republic, Pa., who credits her father with instilling a never-ending sense of optimism, gratitude and determination in her, Melnyk earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from WVU’s School of Nursing in 1979, a master’s degree with a specialization in nursing care of children and pediatric nurse practitioner from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Ph.D. in clinical research from the University of Rochester where she also completed her post-master’s certificate as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

She is co-editor of four books, including Evidence-based Practice in Nursing & Healthcare: A Guide to Best Practice; Implementing EBP: Real World Success Stories; the KySS Guide for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Screening, Early Intervention and Health Promotion; and Intervention Research: Designing, Conducting, Analyzing and Funding, the recipient of an American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award.

Melnyk is an elected fellow of the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Nursing, the National Academies of Practice, and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. She served a four-year term on the 16-member United States Preventive Services Task Force and currently serves as a member of the National Quality Forum’s Behavioral Health Steering Committee, the National Institutes of Health’s National Advisory Council for Nursing Research, and the Centers for Disease Control Laboratory Best Practices Workgroup. She also serves as editor of the journal Worldviews on Evidence-based Nursing.

Melnyk has received numerous national and international awards, including the Audrey Hepburn Award, Mary Tolle Wright Excellence in Leadership Award, the Research Hall of Fame Award from Sigma Theta Tau International, the Jessie Scott Award from the American Nurses Association for the improvement of healthcare quality through the integration of research, education and practice, the 2012 Midwest Nursing Research Society Senior Scientist award, the NIH/National Institute of Nursing Research’s inaugural director’s lectureship award, and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties Lifetime Achievement Award. She also has been recognized as an Edge Runner twice by the American Academy of Nursing for founding and directing the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners’ KySS child and adolescent mental health program and her COPE Program for parents of preterm infants.

In April of 2013, Melnyk launched and chaired the first National Summit on Building Healthy Academic Communities that drew more than 300 leaders from 93 universities and colleges across the U.S. and recently founded the National Consortium for Building Healthy Academic Communities, an effort to improve population health in institutions of higher learning across the U.S.

Joseph P. Steranka

Joe Steranka has always had a passion for sports. After graduating from WVU’s Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism (‘79), he began a career in the sports industry where he worked for the NBA’s Washington Bullets and Cleveland Cavaliers before joining the renowned sports agency ProServ where he directed marketing campaigns for sports stars and events including Arthur Ashe, Michael Jordan, Jimmy Connors and Volvo Tennis.

Steranka spent 25 years with The PGA, his final seven as Chief Executive Officer, where he guided the world’s largest working sports organization’s efforts to grow the game of golf and its tournaments both domestically and around the world. In addition to his role as CEO with the PGA, he served as Chair of the World Golf Foundation and as a member of the leadership teams for the World PGA Alliance and the International Golf Federation’s work to return golf to the Olympic Games.

Through his stewardship, the PGA developed longstanding broadcasting agreements with CBS, NBC Universal, Turner Broadcasting and others to distribute the Association’s premier events including the Ryder Cup and PGA Championship to record worldwide audiences. He also cultivated a relationship with acclaimed advertising agency Leo Burnett, leading to popular public service announcements for PGA members and steered an unprecedented new media strategy, including the creation of an alliance with Time Warner to enhance PGA.com, one of the leading golf websites.
Steranka is one of just 11 PGA Honorary Members bestowed in the storied golf association’s history, joining a prestigious list that includes former Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. He has received numerous awards, including the March of Dimes Sports Leadership Award (2009), the UJA Sport for Youth Award (2012) and the PGAs of Europe Christer Lindberg Bowl Award (2013).

Under Steranka’s leadership, the PGA initiated an innovative government relations programs—We Are Golf—designed to achieve legislative and public affairs goals on behalf of the $68-billion-a-year golf industry.

Now in his 36th year in the sports industry, Steranka continues to give back through his involvement with numerous philanthropic organizations including the School of Journalism’s Visiting Committee, the George Esper International Student Enhancement Fund, Children’s Healthcare Charities of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and the Folds of Honor Foundation of Owasso, Okla., for whom he chairs the Board of Directors. He also serves as a consultant for various sports and media organizations and serves on the advisory boards of Latin Business Today, Great Golf Resorts of the World, and the South Florida PGA.

For more information about the Academy, contact the WVU Alumni Association at 304-293-0972. For more information, visit http://alumni.wvu.edu.



CONTACT: Tara Curtis, WVU Alumni Association
304.293.0972. tecurtis@mail.wvu.edu

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