The ship's anchor, located on the University of Hartford campus, has a rich history. Originally positioned on the USS Hartford, the flagship of Admiral David G. Farragut, the Anchor now represents a longstanding tradition of the University of Hartford.
The Anchor Award is the most prestigious award presented by the University of Hartford Alumni Association. The awards were established to recognize alumni who have distinguished themselves by achieving the highest level of professional accomplishments and who possess absolute standards of integrity and character to positively reflect and enhance the prestige of The University of Hartford.
Read more about this year's Anchor Awards Ceremony and Career Panel here.
|Victoria J. Cerami BSME ’81|
|Annie Garcia Kaplan BA ’79, MBA ’81, Ed.D. ’97|
|Deborah Kline BFA ’90|
|Ayn S. LaPlant BA ’76, MSOB ’85|
|Douglas V. Riahi AA ’86 BSBA ’88|
Victoria Cerami is Chief Executive Officer of Cerami & Associates, Inc., a global leader in acoustical, audiovisual and technology consulting. Additionally, she recently formed Cerami Technology LLC which enables the firm to provide additional expertise in Strategy Consulting, Program Management, and Critical Facilities design.
Under her leadership over the last 25 years, the firm has grown, strategically, from a small acoustical engineering practice headquartered in New York City to a multi-discipline consulting firm whose clients number among Fortune 100 companies, world-class developers, and top architects and engineers.
The firm provides innovative design solutions for projects of any size or type, with a focus on helping their clients make the best decisions to achieve their goals whether it’s retaining and recruiting staff, increasing student test scores, improving the staff or patient experience, or creating truly unique and inspiring electronic environments. Cerami Technology ensures that all technical infrastructures are aligned with these business objectives, providing a robust stable platform, reducing risk and time to market, and optimizing their clients’ technology investment through fully independent recommendations.
As CEO, Victoria focuses her time on exploring new markets and emerging trends in acoustics and technology. Businesses are increasingly demanding greater performance from their buildings, as well as their occupants. Cerami works with key end users, such as WPP companies, on change management and relevance of global technology standards and strategy development which impacts their bottom line.
Today the firm’s work includes flexible, collaborative technology environments for SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Columbia University’s Medical and Business Schools, Mylan Pharmaceutical, Nomura, Société Générale, and Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business; global standards for large financial firms such as Lazard; providing vibration-free operating rooms for New York Presbyterian Hospital; and designing intelligible public address systems for the World Trade Center Transit Hub.
Victoria is also passionate about the firm’s role in public outreach and encourages all staff to participate in community and charitable organizations. She is a Board member for the New York Building Congress, the ACE Mentorship Program, and Dominican Academy, Past Chairwoman of the University of Hartford’s Institute of Science and Technology Building Initiative Program, and a past member of the Board of Regents.
Victoria holds a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Hartford, and is currently pursuing a Masters of Business through Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Executive MBA program.
Volunteering is such a big part of Annie Garcia Kaplan’s life that her professional career centers on coordinating and managing large numbers of volunteers at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
As volunteer coordinator in the volunteer services department since 2007, Kaplan is responsible for screening, interviewing, orienting, and placing volunteers in 20 different volunteer programs throughout the hospital system.
Previously, Kaplan was Director of the Friends of Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, where she managed a 35-member volunteer Board of Directors and a 30-member Junior Board. Kaplan herself served on the board for 10 years, and today, is a member emeritus.
In the past, Kaplan has served as president of the Yale-New Haven Hospital Auxiliary, as co-chair of the Toy Closets program, and as a member of the Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Board of Trustees.
She was a member of the Parenting Advisory Board at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, and has served on the boards of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Guilford Art Center, and Tommy Fund for Childhood Cancer.
She has also volunteered with the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp Discovery School and the United Way of Greater New Haven's Community Impact Cabinet.
Kaplan and her husband Ben were honored by the United Way of Greater New Haven with the Alexis de Tocqueville Award in 2003.
Kaplan has a trio of degrees from the University of Hartford: a bachelor’s degree in political science (1979), an MBA (1981), and a doctoral degree in educational leadership (1997). She is a past member of the Mortensen Library Board of Visitors.
Deb has been creating strategic branding and graphic design for some impressive global corporations. Her 20-year career has been based in Connecticut, where she has worked full-time for a variety of New England firms. Roles have included Director of Branding, Packaging and Merchandising for Group 4 Design and designer and project manager for Spalding Sports Worldwide . Her work has been represented in large scale branding projects for Johnson & Johnson, Caterpillar, Sherwin Williams and Panasonic. Deb's design work has been awarded by the CADC, the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games and American Graphic Design Awards. She served as President of the Connecticut Art Director's Club from 2007-2009. Deb is actively involved in the design community as a member in AIGA and is currently serving on the Board of Corporators for the Hartford Art School. As chair of the Board's Communications Committee, she has provided graphic design work for the Board’s marketing, communications and fundraising needs. In addition to managing her own design business, Deb currently works as a Adjunct Faculty member in the Visual Communication Design department of the Hartford Art School, University of Hartford. She has enjoyed her faculty responsibilities since 1995 and credits this work with keeping her own design style current and provides great exposure to emerging talent. She is grateful to give back to the Hartford Art School and her community.
Ayn S. LaPlant, president and CEO of Beekley Corporation in Bristol, Conn., is the leader who everyone wants to work for.
Since its founding in 1934, Beekley has evolved into the world’s leading supplier of simple innovative medical products that help imaging, surgical, and radiation therapy professionals. More importantly, Beekley has remained a family-friendly organization that encourages its employees to work hard and make time for themselves as well as family, friends, and hobbies.
LaPlant started her career at Beekley Corporation in the summer of 1977 as a sales associate, her second job out of college. Within a decade, she became vice president of sales, and in 1990, was named president. In 2001, LaPlant was named the corporation’s third chief executive officer, the first female named to this post as well as the first outside the Beekley family.
The company’s confidence in LaPlant has paid off. In 2007, Beekley Corporation was named to the Top 25 Best Places to Work in the state (Connecticut Magazine), fourth best among small- to medium-sized companies. Two years ago, LaPlant was honored as one of the region’s “Remarkable Women in Business” by the Hartford Business Journal.
LaPlant has been featured in multiple books, magazines, and newspapers, detailing Beekley Corporation’s culture and the high regard she has for all associates and customers. With an open-door policy, LaPlant listens to all suggestions and feedback, treating associates as partners in the business.
As one “partner” says, “It is not difficult to be committed to your job or employer when you have a role model as dynamic as Ayn LaPlant.”
LaPlant holds two degrees from the University of Hartford, having earned a bachelor’s degree (politics and government) from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1976 and a master’s (organizational behavior) from the Barney School of Business in 1985.
Douglas is a Director at UniCredit Bank AG, a leading financial institution and the largest bank in Central and Eastern Europe.