Alumni Awards

During Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 19-21, the College of Arts and Sciences honored the inaugural recipients of three Alumni Awards that will be presented annually.

Distinguished Alumni of the Year

John Martonchik

Distinguished Service Alumnae of the Year

Nancy Fink

Young Alumnus of the Year

Jeffrey Verespej


John Martonchik (CIT ’64) is the College of Arts and Sciences 2014 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. This award recognizes alumni who have achieved distinction in professional or community service and have made significant contributions through demonstrated leadership.

After his graduation from the Case Institute of Technology, Martonchik earned a master’s degree in physics at the University of Kansas and a doctorate in astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin. Since 1972, he has been affiliated with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where his research activities include the investigation of atmospheric and land properties using observations from telescopes and spacecraft.

Martonchik is a co-investigator on the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR), an instrument on the Terra satellite, which was launched by NASA in 1999. Data from the device is used in atmospheric and climatological studies. He has published more than 100 papers, and his numerous awards include the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and four NASA Group Achievement Awards.


Nancy Fink (WRC ’73) is the College of Arts and Sciences 2014 Distinguished Service Alumna of the Year. This award recognizes alumni for outstanding volunteer service to the community since graduation and for professional excellence in their careers.

After completing a bachelor’s degree in sociology and French at Western Reserve College, Fink went on to earn a master’s degree in education from George Washington University. She has filled various management roles in human resources and training and is currently assistant director of the Professional Outplacement Assistance Center in Laurel, Md. She is also the president of the Middle Atlantic Career Counseling Association and first vice president of the Maryland Chapter of the International Association of Workforce Professionals.

Fink is a former president of the Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University and of her local alumni chapter. She has been a member of the association’s board of directors since 2005 and was named a director emerita in 2013. In addition, she has been an Alumni Admissions Ambassador for more than 15 years.


Jeffrey Verespej (CWR ’07, MGT ’11) is the College of Arts and Sciences 2014 Young Alumnus of the Year. This award recognizes graduates of the last decade or those who are age 40 or younger for outstanding career achievements.

Verespej is the executive director of Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation, which promotes real estate and economic development in Cleveland’s largest neighborhood. Before assuming this position, he was the director of operations and advocacy at Ohio City Incorporated, where he led initiatives to establish a special improvement district and expand a youth recreation league.

A member of the board of directors for the Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University, Verespej was the founding president of the association’s Cleveland Chapter.