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* A new award, the Richard T. Sarkin Award for Outstanding Teaching, will be instituted April 15 during the University at Buffalo Alumni Association's 2005 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony in Sheraton Four Points Hotel, 2040 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga.

The late Dr. Sarkin, a pediatrician renowned for his teaching expertise, will be the first honoree of the award that bears his name.

He died last October in a plane crash while traveling to a conference on humanism in medicine.

UB President John B. Simpson and Jennifer B. Wozniak, president of the UB Alumni Association, will present the awards at the 6 p.m. event. Susan Banks, news anchorwoman for WKBW-TV, will emcee.

The association's highest honor, the Samuel P. Capen Award, will go to Elizabeth Pierce Olmsted Ross, who has championed issues related to the blind and visually impaired for six decades.

The first female ophthalmologist in Western New York, she has been involved with the Blind Association of Western New York, now known as the Elizabeth Pierce Olmsted Center for the Visually Impaired, since she began practicing medicine.

Known as a a generous philanthropist, she established the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences' Ira G. Ross and Elizabeth P. Olmsted Ross Chair in Ophthalmology at UB.

Frank Jen, professor emeritus in the UB School of Management, will receive the Walter P. Cooke Award, which is presented to a non-alumnus for notable and meritorious contributions to the university.

Lawrence Peckham will receive the Clifford C. Furnas Memorial Award. Peckham founded LPA Software, a major player in commercial software systems for inventory control, warehousing, defect management and supply-chain management. LPA was named one of Rochester's fastest- growing companies for eight years before Peckham sold it.

Five alumni will receive the Distinguished Alumni designation in recognition of their career accomplishments, community or university service, or research and scholarly activity. They are:

* William F. Balistreri, professor of medicine and director of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at the University of Cincinnati. He is considered to be one of the leading pediatric hepatologists in the world.

* Juanita K. Hunter, who has spent 20 years as a faculty member in the UB School of Nursing. Her career of more than 50 years includes a significant role in the establishment of the Nursing Center for the Homeless of Buffalo.

* Hadi Makarechian of Corona Del Mar, Calif., chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president of Capital Pacific Holdings, a diversified real estate company with operations in four states.

* Mark W. Nusbaum, who was the project architect for the restoration of New York City's Grand Central Terminal. He lives in New York City.

* Hsin-Huang Hsaio will be presented a special Distinguished International Alumni Award. A resident of Shijr City, Taiwan, he is executive director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Area Studies in Taipei and a professor in the Department of Sociology at National Taiwan University.

The Philip B. Wels Outstanding Service Award will be given to Kenneth A. Manning, chairman of the Dean's Advisory Council for UB's Law School. He is managing partner and a trial lawyer at Phillips, Lytle in Buffalo as well as a legal author. He lives in Kenmore.

John T. Curtin, who has served on the federal bench for 37 years, will receive the Community Leadership Medal.

Four UB students will be awarded J. Scott Fleming $500 scholarships. They are Christopher Gorri, of Watertown, a senior studying business administration; Jennifer Pugh, of Depew, a medical student; Sujata Sofat, of Williamsville, a senior majoring in biomedica; sciences, and Mario Tlatenchi, of Brooklyn, a senior political science and geography student.

< James J. Leatherbarrow, of North Collins, has been installed as commander of the Hamburg Power Squadron. He succeeds John W. Andrijczuk of Blasdell.

Other officers installed by District 6 Lt. Commander William Warren during the squadron's annual "changing of the watch" ceremony in West End Hotel include the executive officer, Kenneth A. Swain, of East Aurora; administrative officer, Paul Bembenista, of Orchard Park; secretary, Dorian Bembenista, of Orchard Park; treasurer, Ronald J. Guido, of Orchard Park; education officer, Gerald T. O'Connor, of West Seneca; and assistant education officer, Kenneth M. Wieczorek, of Holland.

Installed on the executive board were Arthur Koske, of West Falls, Susan Sasiadek, of Orchard Park, and Mary Ann Orlando, past commander, of West Seneca.

In addition to its social activities, the mission of the national United States Power Squadron is educating sailors in boat safety. Despite its name, it contains wind sailors and well as power boaters.

< Two Hamilton College students from Buffalo participated in the college's alternative spring break program, which is intended to increase students' awareness and concern of social issues while generating a lifelong interest in community service.

Erica Colligan, the daughter of David and Nancy Colligan, used the spring break to go with a group of eight students to Thomasville, Ga., to dig trenches for controlled forest fires.

A graduate of City Honors School, Colligan is a junior majoring in neuroscience at Hamilton College in Clinton.

James Maloney, the son of Charles and Elizabeth Maloney, used his break time to travel with nine other Hamilton students to Soddy Daisy, Tenn., to help with environmental work for the Cumberland Trail/Tennessee Trail Organization.

Group goals included clearing a forest and helping to build a new hiking trail. The project began in 1998 and will be more than 300 miles long when completed.

Maloney, a sophomore majoring in communication, is a graduate of Nichols School.

< Three North Tonawanda carriers for the U.S. Postal Service have received Million Mile Awards from the National Safety Council.

The awards for accident-free driving over 30 years or one million actual road miles were presented March 17 in a ceremony in the North Tonawanda Post Office to Richard Burton, David Mutto and Charles Wildt.

Each received a pin and a plaque from the National Safety Council in the ceremony led by Ross Pfaff Jr., postal officer in charge. Mary Spring, manager of Post Office operations in Western New York, also participated.

Millions of Safe Driver Awards have been issued since the program began in 1930. The award attests to driving skills of drivers enrolled in the program and their ability to avoid accidents.