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2021 president's gala Honorees

Vinny Tedesco   Murray Pasternack   Allison Puff   Don Mahalli

An Evening to Honor

The Ram’s Horn Award for Corporate Leadership 
Vincent Tedesco, Total Technology Solutions

The President’s Award for Alumni Leadership
Murray Pasternack ’60

The President’s Award for Faculty Leadership
Professor Allison Puff

The President’s Award for Student Leadership
Don Mahalli ’21



Kara Cannon

Enzo Biochem, Inc

The Ram's Horn Award for Corporate Leadership

Accepting for Enzo Biochem, Inc., Kara Cannon - Chief Operating Officer

Kara Cannon is a P&L leader with deep marketing, sales, and operations skills. She has over 30 years of experience in the life sciences industry at Enzo Biochem, Inc., Pall Corporation, and Dynal Biotech. Ms. Cannon’s technical expertise combined with her ability to connect international teams has delivered powerful results throughout her career.

Currently, Ms. Cannon is the Chief Operating Officer of Enzo Biochem (NYSE: ENZ), a publicly traded life sciences company with global operations (2022 to present). Previously, she was the Chief Commercial Officer of Enzo Biochem (2017-2022) and joined Enzo Biochem in 2010 as the Head of Global Commercial Operations for the Life Sciences Division (2010-2017).

After earning a Bachelor’s degree in biology from Franklin and Marshall College, Ms. Cannon started her career at Dynal Biotech (1990-2000), joining this start-up business as it launched operations in the US. This foundational experience exposed her to myriad corporate disciplines, including marketing, sales, operations, product development, and technical support.

She held progressive commercial roles at Pall Corporation (2000-2010), where she led global marketing, as well as the diagnostics and biotechnology segments.

Ms. Cannon is passionate about fostering talent for the future and serves of the Board of Directors for Farmingdale State College and acts as an advisor to the School of Health Professionals at New York Institute of Technology.

Enzo Biochem, Inc

Global Life Science Company Servicing the Community for over 45 Years

Enzo Biochem has been a leader in innovation and product development to support a diverse range of needs in biomedical research and healthcare for over 45 years. With a comprehensive portfolio of 20,000 high-quality products including antibodies, genomic probes, assays, biochemicals, and proteins, Enzo supports the work of academic research centers and industry partners who are shaping the future of healthcare around the world. The company’s proprietary products and technologies play central roles in all areas of translational research and drug development, including genomic analysis, protein analysis, cellular analysis, tissue analysis, and small molecule chemistry. Enzo has a broad and deep intellectual property portfolio, with patent coverage across a number of key enabling technologies. During the pandemic, executed under Enzo’s School and Institution Testing (“SIT”) Program, Enzo provided the necessary level of safety for students, staff, and faculty to return to campus, with Farmingdale State College being the first academic institution to leverage Enzo’s expertise.



Joseph Rothenberg ’64

The President's Award for Alumni Leadership

Fr. NASA Associate Administrator for Space Flight & Goddard Space Flight Center Director

Joe is semi-retired, and serves on the Board of Directors for several corporations and as a member of National Academy of Science – National Research Council Committees.  

Graduating from Farmingdale in 1964, Joe was hired by Grumman as a result of Senior day career fair. During his tenure at Grumman, he held engineering and program management positions on a number of NASA programs. Joe subsequently joined NASA in 1983 where he served in Human and Scientific Space Flight engineering, Institutional and Program leadership positions. Post NASA he held several executive and consultant positions in the commercial “new” space industry. Joe also served on the Board of several nonprofit and privately held corporations, and as a consultant to the Environmental Defense Fund overseeing the development of a Methane detection satellite system.

Joe retired from Google in 2016 where he served as an Engineering Director for the successful development and deployment of the first MicroSat based high-resolution Earth remote sensing satellite constellation. From 2002 - 2011 initially held the position of President and a member of the Board of Directors of Universal Space Network and later Senior Vice President for international development for the Swedish Space Corporation.

Joe retired from NASA in 2021 as the Associate Administrator for Space Flight. Prior to serving as Associate Administrator for Space Flight,  he was Director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. During his tenure as the Associate Administrator, he was responsible for 17 Space Shuttle Missions, and the development and deployment of the International Space Station. As director of the Goddard Joe was responsible for NASA Space and Earth Science Mission development, operations, and science programs.  Joe joined the Goddard Space Flight Center in 1983 to lead the development of Mission Operations for Hubble Space Telescope. After discovery of the flawed optics was selected to lead development and execution of the highly successful first HST on-orbit servicing mission which corrected the telescope’s optics. 

Joe earned an MS degree in Engineering Management and a BS degree in Engineering Science, from CW Post College of the Long Island University, an AAS degree from the State University of New York Agricultural and Technical Institute at Farmingdale and was awarded Honorary Doctorates from Stevens Institute of Technology and CW Post College. He received numerous NASA awards including Distinguished Service and Outstanding Leadership Medals, and Senior Executive Service Presidential Rank Distinguished and Meritorious Executive Awards. Received the National Aviation Association’s Collier Trophy, the AIAA Goddard Astronautics Award, the National Space Club’s Nelson P. Jackson Award, was inducted into the Smithsonian’s Aviation Week and Space Technology Hall of Fame and is a lifetime “Associate Member” of the National Academy of Science – National Research Council.

Joe resides in Darnestown, Maryland with his wife Fran. Joe and Fran were married between semesters in his Senior year at Farmingdale and have 3 children and 6 adult grandchildren.


Allison Puff

Professor Allison Puff


The President's Award for Faculty Leadership

Professor, Visual Communications Department

Farmingdale State College

An educator, administrator, and accomplished freelance designer, illustrator, and entrepreneur, Allison Puff has contributed a great deal to Farmingdale State College and to the community at large.  Currently the Academic Program Manager, she has helped faculty across the College develop sixteen new programs and revise fourteen. She has also served as Associate Provost, Associate Dean of the School of Business, and Chair of the Visual Communications Department. Highlights of her time in administration include working with faculty to implement an Applied Learning graduation requirement, spearheading the College’s successful Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement award, and supporting the development of the first fully online programs at FSC. 

A staunch proponent for the arts across the campus, Puff was the founding member of FSC’s Public Art Committee and has long served on the Artists and Lecturers Program Board and the Writing in the Disciplines Committee. Her teaching is equally outstanding, earning her both the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Farmingdale Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching. 

Puff has also co-chaired the American Institute of Graphic Design’s National Design Educators Steering Committee and served on the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Education Board.

She received her MFA in “Illustration as Visual Essay” from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2000 and earned two BAs, one in English and Communications and one in Illustration. She is a Full Professor of Visual Communications.


Don Mahalli

Don Mahalli '21


The President's Award for Student Leadership

Valedictorian for the Class of 2021

Farmingdale State College

Don Mahalli graduated Summa Cum Laude from Farmingdale State College with a Bachelor's degree in Business Management and minors in Politics and Legal Studies. Achieving a perfect GPA, Don was named Valedictorian for the Class of 2021 and received the Student Award for Academic Excellence, the TRIO Director’s Award, and the State University of New York Association of Council Members and College Trustees Excellence and Student Initiative Award. On campus, Don was the President and Founder of the Law Club, the Secretary for the Art and Design Club, a tutor in the Math Center, a Senator for the School of Business, and a member of TRIO. In the future, Don hopes to create a non-profit Vineyard in Israel that employs both Israelis and Palestinians. Lastly, Don enjoys baking bagels, making wine, and ghost hunting.


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The Office for Development and Alumni Engagement works closely with the Farmingdale College Foundation – raising and managing critical philanthropic dollars for the College, cultivating meaningful relationships with donors, corporate partners and community friends – and the Farmingdale Alumni Association, keeping our 100,000 alumni informed, engaged, proud, and supportive of the College, strengthening their lifelong connection to FSC students and each other.

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