TFAS honored its 2013 Alumni Award winners at a reception held at TFAS Headquarters on May 10 during Alumni Weekend. Each year TFAS presents the awards to recognize the distinguished accomplishments of its alumni and commend their dedication and service to TFAS.
This year’s winners were chosen by a selection committee composed of Alumni Council members and chaired by Neil Vigdor (IPJ 98).
“The recipients of this year’s alumni awards embody the principles we at The Fund for American Studies hold dear,” said Vigdor. “They lead by example, not out of convenience. They believe in free markets, educational empowerment and sharing their wisdom for the betterment of their communities.”
This year’s winners were:
Young Alumnus Award
Rodney P. Hughes (ICPES 04, IIPES 05)
Rodney Hughes is a Ph.D. candidate in higher education at the Pennsylvania State University. Hughes received his bachelor’s degree from Penn State and the Schreyer Honors College with honors and highest distinction in economics in May 2007. He then went on to receive a master’s in economics in 2009. Hughes has accepted Penn State’s James Rodgers Award from the department of economics and was awarded the Thesis Prize from the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Additionally, Hughes was honored with the George Viksnins Award for Excellence in Economics at ICPES 2004 and was a Freedom Scholar in 2005. Hughes’ current research focuses on the hot topic of tuition prices, admissions and student outcomes, and he received a prestigious dissertation grant from the Association for Institutional Research. While his academic background is quite impressive in its own right, his contributions to his community far exceed what is normally expected of students. While pursuing graduate studies, Hughes served on the Board of Directors of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. He also served as the student representative to Penn State’s Board of Trustees, with a one-year term as chair of the Committee on Campus Environment, and on the Special Investigations Task Force at Penn State, stepping up when he was asked to serve the university community during a difficult time. Hughes has accepted an invitation to join the Center for Education Policy Research in the Harvard Graduate School of Education as a research manager.
Alumni Achievement Award
Michael Caslin (ICPES 78)
Michael Caslin is the managing director of strategy and development for Rising Tide Capital (RTC), a nonprofit in Jersey City that helps struggling entrepreneurs start and grow businesses in low-income communities. Caslin brings to RTC a passion for entrepreneurship and three decades of proven success in social enterprise and business venture development. Over a 20-year career as the CEO of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Caslin helped lead the organization from start-up turn-around stage in 1988 to what it is today – a social enterprise with $20 million in annual revenue and 4,000 NFTE teachers and 1.4 million graduates across 31 states and 14 countries. He is also the founder of several triple bottom line ventures, including URGENT VC- CleanTech Venture Development for renewed urban centers and sustainable tribal reservations; and the Urban Ecology Institute founded with Boston College. A recognized expert on entrepreneurship, he has been called to testify before various institutions, including the United Nations, U.S. Congress and the White House. He has been a featured lecturer at numerous universities, including Harvard, Babson, Stanford, Duke, NYU, Columbia and the University of Hong Kong and Prague Business Schools. Caslin currently serves as an adjunct faculty member of Babson College’s Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship and professor of entrepreneurship and sustainability at CUNY- Baruch Zicklin Business School in New York.
Kevin Burket Alumni Service Award
Peter Feldman (IPVS 04, LSI 07)
Peter Feldman currently serves as counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. He graduated from American University’s Law School and received his undergraduate degree from Colgate University. His previous experience includes working on communications for the McCain-Palin campaign and on the legislative staff of Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio. Feldman is a dedicated TFAS alumnus who gives back in numerous ways. His volunteer efforts support both the organization as well as students. Feldman is a member of the Alumni Council, where he is a frequent attendee at TFAS events, conferences and council meetings. In addition, he often volunteers to serve as a student mentor and as a roundtable discussion leader during the summer programs. Additionally, Feldman was on the IPVS 10th Anniversary Committee, which organized an alumni award and service project. He also headed the Alumni Ball Committees in both 2011 and 2013.