PennWest California celebrated the legacies of eight individuals during the Distinguished Awards ceremony April 6, sponsored by the California Alumni Association.

Craig Fusting ’98 received the W.S. Jackman Award of Distinction, which is awarded to members of the university family who have gained regional, state, national or international recognition in their professions.

Fusting serves as the president and CO of Dedicated Nursing Associates. His firm has been named the second fastest-growing staffing firm in the nation. He prioritizes right-fit internal and external employees, drives accountability with clear goals fuels engagement with innovative tactics. His experiences as a part-time and temporary employee while a student and shortly after graduation inspired him to create opportunities for others like him. DNA has 11 offices that service all 50 states. He has been named a top 100 influencer in the staffing industry.

Tim Susick ’76 received the John R. Gregg Award for Loyalty and Service, which is presented to members of the university family who have given dedicated and loyal service to both the association and to the university. Gregg served as treasurer of the Alumni Association for 60 years.

A retired associate vice president of Student Affairs and former Alumni Association Board member, Susick served the university as one of our most valuable ambassadors throughout the years. Tim was responsible for handling some of the most sensitive student issues and often worked with families and staff to relay sensitive news. He always acted with dignity, professionalism and compassion. A former Vulcan football player, Tim has an enormous network of friends, classmates, teammates and staff from his many years with the university.

Dr. Anthony Carlisle ’90 was given the C.B. Wilson Distinguished Faculty Award, awarded to California faculty members or administrators, regular or emeritus, for distinguished activities for the university and its students.

Dr. Carlisle is an associate professor in the Department of English, Philosophy and Modern Languages at PennWest. He served as chair of the former English Department from 2016 to 2020. He has taught at California since 2002. He teaches journalism, literature and composition courses. Prior to teaching, Dr. Carlisle was an award-winning reporter for 11 years. As a reporter, he has won the Robert L. Vann Award for feature writing and 4 investigative reporting and the Keystone State Spotlight Award for first-place business story. As a professor, he has won the Frederick Douglass Institute Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Sigma Tau Delta Luise van Keuren Award for Teaching.

Anthony Kane ’11, G’12 was awarded the Professional Excellence Award, given to those who have earned the highest standard of professional accomplishments and achievements in their chosen profession.

Kane is assistant vice president for student affairs and Dean of Students, St. Vincent College. He is an experienced student affairs practitioner with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Anthony is skilled in diversity and inclusion, community service, student development, and organizational development. He is a passionate social justice advocate with an Ed.D. focused on Educational Leadership and Administration from Duquesne University.

Elizabeth Johnston Hayward ’12 received the Michael Duda Award for Athletic Achievement, awarded to members of the university family for outstanding success in the field of athletics.

Johnston Hayward is the senior manager of Social Impact & Strategic Integration for the National Hockey League (NHL). In her role, she helps to guide the league and its 32 member clubs on matters relating to social impact, community and inclusion. Her primary focuses are Hockey Fights Cancer, Legacy Projects, Make-a-Wish, Disabled/Adaptive Hockey and Hockey is for Everyone initiatives. Before the NHL, Elizabeth worked for The Madison Square Garden Company for five years.

She is also a certified “Wish Granter” with Make-a-Wish. While at California, Elizabeth studied sport management and played on the women’s soccer team from 2008-2011.

Dr. Chase Loper ’10, G’12 received the Young Alumni Award, given to recent graduates who have reached exceptional achievements in their professional and community life.

Dr. Loper currently serves as the assistant vice president of business services at Duquesne University. His team is made up of procurement and payment services, shared services, facilities management inventory operation and the university’s contract review program. In addition, through a user-centric and inclusive framework, he is responsible for closely evaluating and enhancing university practices and processes driving business excellence. Prior to his current role, Dr. Loper served in various positions at Duquesne such as minority development intern, budget analyst and director of shared services. He’s the father of two beautiful girls (Harper and Willow) and husband to Krista Loper (’11, ’12).

Nina Gray ’86 received the Pavlak/Shutsy Special Service Award, given to alumni and friends for years of dedication and service to the organization of PennWest California and its students and recognizes the hours of work and dedication given to the growth of the Alumni Association.

A 1986 graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, Gray serves as the raw materials compliance expert for the Advanced Materials Performance business at The Chemours Company in Wilmington, Delaware. She has over 25 years as a scientist with such companies as DuPont, as well as her current role. She serves as a site manager and tax law trainer for the Campaign for Working Families LLC, which provides free tax services to low- to mid-income individuals/families. She is one of the founding members of the Philadelphia area Alumni Club and a supporter of the African American Alumni Society on the California campus.

Ronald Celaschi ’08 earned the Meritorious Award, given to those who have earned the highest standard and recognition for their outstanding professional accomplishments and achievements in a specified field of their chosen profession.

Earning his M.B.A. at California in 2008, Celaschi has served the southcentral Pennsylvania community’s financial needs as chief executive officer at Patriot Federal Credit Union since April 2023. Established in 1965, Patriot Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative, democratically owned and run by its members. The credit union is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, elected by the membership. With assets of over $1 billion, Patriot Federal Credit Union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration, with 10 branch office locations available to serve its more than 79,000 members. Patriot has become one of the largest credit unions headquartered in Pennsylvania.