Alumni Association Names 2012 Distinguished Alumni


Vito Cannavo

Five prominent graduates of Stony Brook University have been named recipients of the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award, which represents the Stony Brook Alumni Association’s highest honor. All will be honored at an awards dinner on November 13, 2012, at Flowerfield in St. James, New York.

The 2012 honorees are Vito A. Cannavo (BA ’75), partner, Sullivan, Papain, Block, McGrath & Cannavo PC; Andrez S. Carberry (BA ’00, MA ‘02), employment counsel, Avon Products, NA; David Gelernter (MS ’80, PhD ’83), artist, writer and professor of computer science, Yale University; Suzanne Johnson (PhD ‘74), distinguished research professor, Florida State University College of Medicine; and Joseph L. Tromba (BS ’77), developer and founding member, Endoscopy Center of Long Island, attending physician, Winthrop University Hospital and teaching affiliate of Stony Brook University Medical School.


Andrez Carberry

Sherri Sussman (’91, ’95), president of the Stony Brook Alumni Association, noted that each individual honoree has made extraordinary contributions, ranging from corporate and civic leadership to innovative research and artistic achievement. “As different as their paths to success have been, all of our recipients share a common bond,” said Sussman. “They all chose to transform talents into skills that make the most of their Stony Brook experiences. Each deserves special recognition for how well they used their time at the University as a foundation for discovering, reshaping and enriching the world around them.”

Cannavo is a partner in the firm of Sullivan, Papain, Block, McGrath & Cannavo, one of the leading personal injury firms in the nation. He is in charge of one of the firm’s General Negligence departments and has won numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements in medical malpractice, premises liability, motor vehicle and firefighter-related litigation. Cannavo serves as President of the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn. He has been listed in New York magazine and Super Lawyers magazine as one of the top lawyers in New York, and he has received the highest rating (AV®) from Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings. He has also been listed in The Best Lawyers in America.


David Gelernter

Carberry is the Employment Counsel for Avon Products, NA. Prior to joining Avon, for several years he served as an associate attorney at Fox Rothschild, LLP (New York City) and as an associate corporate counsel for the Employment and Labor Division of the New York City Labor Department. Carberry serves as an adjunct professor of law at Hofstra University School of Law. He has numerous honors to his credit including the Legal Rookie of the Year Award, New York City Law Department (2005 to 2006) and recognition as one of New York’s “Rising Stars” by New York Super Lawyers (2011). He was selected for the New York State Bar Association Labor and Employment Section Diversity Fellowship Program for 2011 to 2012. He also serves on the board of directors for the Pajama Program, a New York City-based charity that provides new pajamas and books to underprivileged children who are abused, orphaned or fostered.

Gelernter is a professor of computer science at Yale, contributing editor at the Weekly Standard, former board member of the National Endowment for the Arts and a regular contributor to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. His latest book, America-Lite, was published in June. Among his other titles are Mirror Worlds, the novel 1939, the memoir Drawing Life. He has published essays, fiction and reviews in Commentary, The Weekly Standard, Wall Street Journal, National Review, ArtNews, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Scientific American and many others. His essays are widely anthologized. The first museum show of his paintings will open at the Yale University Museum in Manhattan this fall.


Suzanne Johnson

Johnson is a Distinguished Research Professor at Florida State University (FSU) College of Medicine and 2012 President of the American Psychological Association. She received her BA in psychology from Cornell and her PhD in clinical psychology from Stony Brook. From 2002 to 2010 she served as the first Chair of the Department of Medical Humanities and Social Sciences a FSU College of Medicine in Tallahassee. Prior to that time she was Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Pediatric Psychology and Family Studies at the University of Florida Health Science Center in Gainesville. Johnson has numerous publications in the areas of pediatric psychology and clinical health psychology and has received many research, teaching and service awards. She has more than 30 years of continuous research funding from the National Institutes of Health, including a Research Career Development Award.

Tromba received his medical training at the University of Catania, Italy, where he graduated with honors. He was a developer and founding member of the Endoscopy Center of Long Island, one of the largest free-standing ambulatory endoscopy centers on the East Coast. Tromba is an attending physician at Winthrop University Hospital and a teaching affiliate of Stony Brook University Medical School. He is an active participant in the Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology fellowship teaching programs at Winthrop University Hospital and has been nominated for Teaching Attending of the Year. He has served as an adjunct professor of gastrointestinal physiology at Hofstra University and has published many articles in peer-reviewed journals. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Gastroenterology.



Joseph Tromba

“This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients embody the personal and intellectual transformation that takes place from the student experience at Stony Brook University,” said Matthew Colson, Stony Brook Alumni Relations Executive Director. “The Alumni Association and Stony Brook are extremely proud to recognize and share their success with them on this very special occasion.”


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