Honoring Excellence: Alumni Awards 2024


The Alumni Association presented its annual awards during a ceremony at Alumni Hall on May 16. On behalf of the Alumni Association, its president, Steve Tabara, honored the following individuals who epitomize dedication, leadership, and service to Central.

Distinguished Alumni Service Award: Michael J. D’Amato BS ’74

Born and raised in New Britain, Michael's passion for leadership blossomed as class president during his time at Central. After earning his bachelor's degree, he pursued further education at Clemson University, where he continued to make a mark as in the construction industry while remaining connected to education through guest lecturing. Throughout his career, Michael managed significant projects such as City Place and the Foxwoods Resort Casino, and later founded his own company, specializing in casino design and development. 

Young Alumni Service Award: Shayne Koplowitz BS ’11, MS ’14

Shayne’s dedication to education and student support has been evident throughout her career. Starting as the interim assistant director of Recruitment and Admissions at Central, Shayne went on to serve in academic advising and athletic support roles at universities such as Stony Brook and Quinnipiac before returning to Central as the assistant director of The Learning Center. Outside of work, Shayne volunteers with the Bloomfield Center Fire Department Auxiliary and enjoys spending time with her husband Taylor, a fellow Central employee, and their daughter Olive. 

Community Service Award: David Ross BA ’66, MS ’71

David's journey from his undergraduate years at Central to his retirement as assistant vice president and dean of Student Affairs demonstrates his dedication to fostering a supportive and inclusive campus environment. Throughout his career, David championed initiatives aimed at enhancing student experiences, diversity, and inclusion, leaving an enduring mark on the university community. His leadership and passion for student success have inspired future generations to embody the values of community, integrity, and compassion.

Friend of the University Award: Susan Sweeney Butler

Sue’s dedication to student growth and development during her nearly four-decade career at Central is a testament to her unwavering commitment to the university’s mission. As assistant director and later associate director of Student Activities and Leadership Development, Susan mentored countless students and left an indelible mark on the campus community. Her outstanding contributions were recognized with the prestigious McCullough Award from the National Association for Campus Activities Northeast Region in 2019.

Distinguished Philanthropist Award: Dennis P. Flynn ’72

This award honors an alumnus who has demonstrated a commitment to philanthropy within the university community and beyond. Throughout his career, Dennis dedicated his time and talent to his various communities, serving as trustee of many non-profit organizations, a major gift fundraiser, and a volunteer for charitable, educational, and mentoring organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America; the Southborough Village Society; the Main Street Council; and the Madison Historical Society. With his wife, Michele, Dennis established the Flynn Family Scholarship Fund at Central to support business students.


(Above) Pictured here at a recent Alumni Association Awards reception is (from left) Alumni Association President Steve Tabara; Susan Sweeney Butler, Friend of the University Award winner; Shayne Koplowitz, Young Alumni Award winner; and Michael D’Amato, winner of the Young Alumni Service Award. Not pictured here are Philanthropist of the Year Dennis P. Flynn and David Ross, who received the Alumni Community Service Award. (Photo by Shelly Sindland)