2019 Alumni Award Honorees
Alumni Achievement Award: Jeffrey Baker ’73, ’75, Fairport, New York
Baker is an adjunct psychology professor at Monroe Community College in Rochester and has also taught for several universities, including Rochester Institute of Technology, Walden, Buena Vista, and Thomas Edison State.
Baker has worked as a learning specialist for students with disabilities, and his research on college students with learning disabilities was presented at meetings of the American Psychological Association. He served Excelsior University as secretary of the alumni association for one year, as alumni association trustee for seven years, and as a volunteer, assisted students in various advisory roles. He was a faculty member and subject matter expert for Excelsior from 2009 to 2016.
Baker is president of the New York State Conference of the American Association of University Professors, president of the Learning Disabilities Association of New York State, and a member of the American Psychological Association. He was previously president of the Learning Disabilities Association of the Genesee Valley and previously served on the board of the Society of Broadcast Engineers. Before becoming involved in higher education, he had a more than 20-year career in broadcast technology.
In addition to an Associate in Arts in Liberal Arts and a Bachelor of Science with a major in psychology from Excelsior College, Baker earned a master’s degree in counseling from Syracuse University and a PhD in psychology from Capella University.
Carrie B. Lenburg Award: Greta Kostac ’91, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Kostac is a family nurse practitioner with Aurora Medical Group in Fond du Lac and a visiting professor in the nurse practitioner program at Chamberlain University in Downers Grove, Illinois. She has been a nurse for over 40 years, including a nurse practitioner for 20 years and a nurse educator for 15 years.
As a registered nurse, Kostac has been responsible for program development, policy and procedure development, and directing staff in the home care area. As a family nurse practitioner, she has cared for patients across their life span, treating both acute and chronic problems as well as emphasizing preventative care. As an educator, Kostac has served as the program director for the nurse practitioner program at Marian University in Fond du Lac. While serving in that role, she was also chosen as the graduate nursing program chair, overseeing the graduate nursing program. Kostac has been the lead on accreditation teams both specific to the nursing program as well as to the university. She has been the principal investigator on multiple grants, including grants from the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Resource and Service Administration. She has served on many thesis and dissertation committees. She was promoted to associate professor and was granted tenure while at Marian University.
Kostac is a member of the Wisconsin Nurses Association and American Nurses Association and is a past member of both the National Organization for Nurse Practitioner Faculties and Sigma Theta Tau. She volunteers extensively in her community, and in 2015, received the Graduate Teacher of the Year-Marian University award for her excellence in teaching and service to the university and students.
Kostac earned an Associate of Science from Gogebic Community College in 1982, an associate degree in nursing from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in 1982, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Excelsior College in 1991. She went on to earn a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1998 and a Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2007.
C. Wayne Williams Award: Christine Robinson-Cooley ’97, East Greenbush, New York
Christine Robinson-Cooley ’97, of East Greenbush, New York, is an assistant re-entry manager with the New York State Department of Corrections. She has held a variety of positions within the state criminal justice system, working with inmates, parolees, victims, and their families, and continues to volunteer her time with mental health advocacy groups within the community.
Robinson-Cooley started her career in social work as a residential case manager at an Intensive Supportive Apartment Program at the then Mental Health Association in Albany County and as a community living specialist at Homeless and Travelers Aid in Albany, New York, implementing the Shelter Plus Care Program in 1994. Since then, she has been employed in the New York State Criminal Justice System as a correction officer, parole officer, senior parole officer, and presently as a mental health assistant re-entry manager. She is a teacher for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Rensselaer Family to Family, a free educational program for family, significant others, and friends of people living with mental illness.
She is a member of the New York State Corrections & Youth Services Association, American Correctional Association, and National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice. She has also been a member of NAMI since 2012; a walk volunteer, conference presenter, and ribbon cutter for NAMI New York State; and a crisis intervention training panel presenter.
In addition to earning a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from Excelsior College in 1997, Robinson-Cooley has an AAS from Hudson Valley Community College and a master’s degree in social policy from SUNY Empire State College.