Strong leadership skills, business savvy and community involvement are just a few of the qualities that define greatness. Frank Cerminara, Thomas L. Harrison and Marshall S. Miller, new members of the 2006 West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Alumni, exhibit all of these qualities and more.
The WVU Alumni Association will present the inductees into the Academy at the Erickson Alumni Center at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11.
These distinguished alumni have established themselves as the best of the best in business, leadership and community service,said Stephen L. Douglas, president and chief executive officer.We are proud to recognize these graduates by bestowing our highest honor on them.
As a small child emigrating from Italy , Frank Cerminara overcame both language and culture barriers to become a successful businessman. As the first in his family to attend college, he graduated from WVU in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering. He also earned an MBA in corporate finance from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania .
Cerminara began a long career at Hershey Foods in 1972 as a budget analyst, and moved his way up the corporate ladder to vice president and chief financial officer. He retired from the senior leadership at The Hershey Food Co. in December of 2005.
Throughout his career, Cerminara has served on various boards and been honored with a variety of business and community service awards, including the Board of Managers of the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange and on multiple committees of the Chocolate Manufacturers Association. He also was on the advisory board of the FM Global Insurance Co.
In 2005, Cerminara was named amongAmerica’s Best CFOs,by Institutional Investor magazine.
He was given a key to the city in his hometown of Follansbee , W.Va. , in 2002 and also served as the grand marshal of the annual Community Days Parade.
Cerminara was inducted into the Academy of Industrial Engineers at WVU in 1994.
Throughout his career, Cerminara has stayed true to his Mountaineer roots. In 2003, Frank and his wife, the former Susan Klatskin, a 1969 WVU graduate, established the Frank and Susan Cerminara Opportunity Fundthe largest endowment ever given to the department. The endowment provides recognition scholarships for sophomore, junior and senior students, and supports the work of faculty in WVU ’s IMSE Department.
He also has contributed his time to this alma mater as a guest lecturer, mock interviewer with senior IMSE students and an evaluator of course content.
The Hershey Food Co. is also one of the largest employers of WVU IMSE graduates.
The Cerminaras live in Hummelstown , Pa. , where they are both active in the community.
Thomas L. Harrison
Are certain people just genetically wired to be successful? Does environment play a role in success? Those are questions that Thomas Harrison, a 1972 graduate of WVU , posed when researching his bookInstinct: Tapping Your Entrepreneurial DNA to Achieve Your Business Goals.
The answer to both is yes, according to the author.
Through his research and observation, Harrison has discovered ways ofunlockingthe success in all of us and finding ways to manipulate brains to crave that success. Harrison changes the age old Nature vs. Nurture argument to Nature seeks out Nurture.
Harrison found that, much like tobacco and other addictive drugs, when one experiences success, the body produces chemicals that make the brain crave that substance. Therefore, the more success one encounters, the more they crave it and become addicted to that success.
The book has received positive feedback since its recent release, and Harrison has been able to turn his fascination with the science of success into a success of his own.
Harrison received his master of science degree in cell biology and physiology from WVU and began his career at Pfizer Laboratories where he served as sales representative and later marketing director. After leaving Pfizer, he worked for an independent health care advertising agency for six years before branching out on his own.
He co-founded Harrison&Star Business Group, which became the most successful and rapidly growing agency in health care at the time. He ran the agency for five years and during that time started a medical education company, a medical PR group and a direct-to-consumer health care company.
In 1992, Harrison&Star was acquired by Omnicom, the largest marketing and communications company in the world. Harrison continued to chair his company as well as Diversified Healthcare Communications through 1997 when he was appointed president of Diversified Agency Services (DAS). DAS is the largest division of Omnicom with over 150 separate marketing services and specialty communications companies reporting to him. The DAS division accounts for more than $4 billion of revenue and has more than tripled in size under Harrison’s leadership. In 1998 he was named chairman and chief executive of DAS .
Harrison is also involved with many philanthropic organizations such as The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Montefiore Hospital and the New York Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. He also founded a not-for-profit education foundation in the Westchester County School District .
He is a member of the Dean’s Council at Tulane Medical School and is chairman of the Dean’s Council at The Steinhardt School of Education at New York University . He also serves on the NYU Campaign Steering Committee
Harrison has been honored by the Long Island College Hospital , the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore and the Lymphoma Foundation for his work in the community and with philanthropic organizations. He received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor given to American citizens who have made significant contributions to society.
He has also developed close ties to the WVU P .I Reed School of Journalism because of his professional interests and his association with the integrated marketing communication program.
Harrison resides in Westchester County , N.Y. , with his wife Pam. They have three children, Lindsay, Michael and Matthew.
Marshall S. Miller
Growing up as a small child in Bluefield , W.Va. , Marshall Miller had a fascination with rocks. Miller was able to turn his childhood fascination into a profitable and enjoyable career. In 1975, he founded Marshall Miller&Associates (MM&A) �€one of the top engineering and geological consulting firms in the country.
Miller graduated from WVU with a bachelor’s degree in geology in 1966 and later earned a master’s degree in 1973. He continues to be a loyal supporter of academics as well as development and improvement of his hometown and the state of West Virginia .
Although Miller’s work took him to Illinois and Virginia , his love for West Virginia brought him back. As chairman and CEO of MM&A, Marshall has watched his southern West Virginia company grow into 11 offices in eight states with more than 150 employees. The firm also has notable markets in China , South America , India , Australia and Canada .
Not only has Miller excelled in the business world, but also in academia. He has published more than 25 professional publications on a variety of topics, including a 250-page book mapping and modeling the geology of southwest Virginia . Miller also edited a book on coal in the Appalachians . These publications have helped Miller become recognized as one of the foremost authorities in this industry.
Miller has received numerous honors for his excellence in business and his dedication to the community. In 2004 he was awarded the Robert Hamilton Award for Community Service and was inducted into the West Virginia Coal Hall of Fame. A year later, Miller was inducted into the WVU Business Hall of Fame. In 1998, Engineering News Record recognized MM&A as one of theTop 500 Engineering Design Firms.He received the Society of Mining Engineers Distinguished Member Award in 1997. The WVU Geology/Geography Department presented Miller with the Alumni Professional Achievement Award in 1995. He was also named the Merrill Lynch and Ernst&Young Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. Magazine and was recognized as the Citizen of the Year by the Boy Scouts of America.
Miller’s commitment to his community and alma mater is strong. He co-founded the Bluefield Area Foundation and founded the Marshall Miller Foundation.
He established the Marshall Miller Energy Professorship in the WVU Department of Geology and is a member of the Advisory Board at the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Miller also serves as a board member and past president of the West Virginia University Foundation Board of Directors and was a member of the national campaign committee .
Miller believes that West Virginia has the ability to become one of the nation’s energy leaders and continues to support new technologies, his community, state and alma mater.
He and his wife, Sharon, reside in Bluefield , Va.
The WVU Alumni Association, chartered in 1873, represents more than 165,000 University graduates residing in every county in West Virginia , every state in the union and approximately 60 foreign nations. With nearly 100 registered chapters and constituent groups, the Association’s 26,000 dues-paying members support Homecoming Weekend, the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni and dozens of other social and philanthropic programs. For more information, visit .