Distinguished Alumni Awards
Roland A. DeSilva '62
Roland A. DeSilva is an investment banker with more than
20 years of senior management experience, primarily in the business-to-business,
magazine publishing arena. A much sought-after dealmaker, he has
negotiated more than 150 mergers and acquisitions involving major
U.S. communications companies. Mr. DeSilva has held numerous leadership
positions including chief executive office, chief operating office,
international director and publisher at prominent companies like
Thomson Corp., McGraw-Hill and Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. (Chilton
A 1962 graduate of C.W. Post, Mr. DeSilva holds a B.S. in business
administration and is a member of American Business Media, Magazine
Publishers of America and the Association of Medical Publishers.
He also was a member of the US-USSR Trade and Economic Council,
and one of the first American publishers in the People’s Republic
of China before normalization occurred with the United States in
Mr. DeSilva is a passionate supporter of organizations that safeguard
the environment and promote social responsibility. He serves as
vice chairman of World Information Transfer, a charitable foundation
dedicated to exploring the threat that the environmental abuses
pose to human health and well-being. In addition, Mr. DeSilva works
on behalf of Echoing Green, a nonprofit organization which funds
entrepreneurs who develop innovative solutions to social problems.
C. David Ruvola '81
C. David Ruvola piloted a rescue helicopter during the
1991 nor’easter that became the subject of the book and major
motion picture, “The Perfect Storm.” Mr. Ruvola faced
100-mph winds that made mid-air refueling impossible. Under the
circumstances, he was forced to ditch the helicopter in the ocean
60 miles off the coast of Long Island. One crew member was lost,
and it was hours before the survivors were brought to safety-an
episode indicative of the danger regularly confronted by Mr. Ruvola
and his colleagues at the New York National Guard’s 106th
Air Rescue Wing as they fulfill their motto, flying “So that
other may live.”
Mr. Ruvola joined the Aire Rescue Wing in 1977 as a pararescue
specialist. In this capacity, he jumped into combat, treated wounded
soldiers and removed them from danger. That same year, with two
years of coursework at SUNY Farmingdale under his belt, Mr. Ruvola
transferred to C.W. Post, where he earned a B.S. in recreation services
He became a commercial helicopter pilot in New York City in 1985,
but he remained deeply involved with the Air Rescue Wing, taking
on flight instructor responsibilities in 1998. By 2002, Mr. Ruvola
was named squadron commander of the 102nd Rescue Squadron. From
August through December of 2003, he served as commander of the United
States Air Force’s 101st Expeditionary Rescue Squadron. Based
at Baghdad International Airport, Mr. Ruvola supervised 80 personnel
in combat search-and-rescue missions during Operation Iraqi freedom.
In 2004, Mr. Ruvola retired from the United States Air Force with
the rank of lieutenant colonel. Today, he is a corporate helicopter
pilot for Computer Associates International, Inc. and serves on
the Board of Advisors of the Homeland Security Management Institute
at the Southampton Graduate Campus of Long Island University.
John J. Hock '72, '78 (M.B.A.)
John Hock earned a B.S. in marketing and an M.B.A. from the C.W. Post Campus in 1972 and in 1978, respectively. A prominent figure in the financial services industry, he has held senior-level positions with several top investment banking firms. From E.F. Hutton and Smith Barney Capital Management to UBS Asset Management and Citibank Global Asset Management, Mr. Hock has initiated institutional investor relationships that have generated competitive investment returns for clients around the world. Today, he serves as executive vice president and head of global sales for Tremont Capital Management, Inc., one of the leading hedge fund groups in the world. The personalized services and impressive returns that Mr. Hock and the team at Tremont Capital Management provide have earned them the trust of not-for-profit organizations, corporations and foundations. The company now manages over $10 billion in assets and advises and/or represents more than 60 institutional clients, investing funds for public and private pension plans, university endowments, private and corporate foundations and financial institutions, as well as high net-worth individuals. Their thoughtful, high-yielding approach has set a new standard of industry practice.
Mr. Hock and his wife of 27 years, Sarah, are generous supporters of the New York City Ballet and the Central Park Conservancy. Over the years the couple also has been involved in fundraising efforts for several churches and schools in the New York metropolitan area, including Riverside Church in New York City. The Hocks have two children and reside on the upper west side of Manhattan.
Mika Inatome '82
When Mika Inatome arrived in the United States in 1976, she barely spoke English. Two years later, she was a freshman at C.W. Post, handling a full course of study. Upon graduating cum laude with a B.A. in marketing, her father gave her $5,000 to launch an importing business the rest is history. Within months, Ms. Inatome's Japanese fashion imports were in every top-tier department store in the country. Although she had achieved remarkable success in a short period of time, she wanted more. Not satisfied with simply importing high-end clothing, she began taking design courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology during the evenings, while continuing to run her business. Soon, she was creating bridal gowns for famed Japanese designer Yumi Katsura, whose work she also represented.
In 1995, Ms. Inatome launched her own line of bridal couture. Today, Mika Inatome is one of the hottest names in the bridal fashion industry, catering to a celebrity client list and to brides across the country. Her gowns are carried at fine department stores, including Bergdorf Goodman and Marshall Field. They also are sold through her salon in Manhattan. Ms. Inatome makes her home in Tribeca, NY, but she often visits Long Island.
Her mother's restaurant, the Inatome Steak House in Valley Stream, NY, has been a local favorite for nearly 30 years. She is an advanced scuba diver and a self-described opera buff. Ms. Inatome credits the speech classes she took at C.W. Post with helping her to master the English language so quickly. She also cites her early exposure to Yo Yo Ma and Daniel Baremboim at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on the C.W. Post Campus with playing an important role in developing her passion for classical music.
Richard P. Nespola '67, '73 (M.B.A.)
Even global Fortune 500 telecom companies need help on issues ranging from business strategy and integration of technology to product development and risk management. When telecommunications powerhouses like AT&T Wireless, Sprint PCS, Verizon and MCI seek advice on how to more effectively run their businesses, they turn to Richard P. Nespola, chairman and CEO of The Management Network Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: TMNG). Mr. Nespola, who earned a B.A. in business and an M.B.A. from the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University in 1967 and in 1973 respectively, parlayed his years of professional experience with communications companies MCI, Sprint and Telesphere into TMNG a global leader in telecommunications consulting.
Mr. Nespola was awarded the 2000 Ernst & Young Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Kansas/Western Missouri region, and in 1997, was named one of the 50 most influential executives in the competitive long distance industry by Phone+ magazine. Last year, the well-respected trade publication ranked him among the top 25. In 2003, TMNG became known as the premier voice on Wireless Number Portability, and Mr. Nespola is the most quoted expert in the media on this issue. Today, TMNG and its subsidiaries employ more than 550 consultants and advise approximately 1,000 clients including all manner of communications service providers and related technology and financial-service firms in North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim.
In addition to his responsibilities as founder and CEO of TMNG, Mr. Nespola previously served as a director and chairman of the Association of Telecommunications Financial Managers, and frequently serves as chair of industry forums. A sought-after speaker, he has taught at the C.W. Post Campus as an adjunct professor in the College of Management. Mr. Nespola lives in Leawood, KS, with his wife, Faye, and his son, Richard Jr.
Robert F. Arning '84
Robert F. Arning, who graduated from C.W. Post’s School of Professional Accountancy in 1984, is Vice Chair – Market Development for Big Four accounting firm KPMG LLP.
In this role, which he has held since 2009, Rob is responsible for leading the firm’s growth initiatives in KPMG’s largest markets, and developing and expanding key client relationships. Rob also oversees KPMG’s 14 industry sectors and its Marketing group, and is a member of the firm’s Management Committee.
Previously, Rob served the firm as Vice Chair – Market Strategy and spent seven years as managing partner of KPMG’s New York office.
In 2005, in recognition of his many professional accomplishments, he received C.W. Post’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Rob also is deeply dedicated to the community. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for C.W. Post’s School of Professional Accountancy and the Executive Board of Advisors for Long Island University’s School of Management, he serves on the Board of Trustees for Carnegie Hall, the Leadership Committee for the Lincoln Center Corporate Fund, and as a member of the Partnership for New York City.
Charles J. Gradante '67, '70 (M.S.)
Charles Gradante has spent the majority of his 30-year career in the financial services industry. He earned a bachelor of science in engineering sciences from C.W. Post in 1967 and a master of science in management in 1970. His first employer was Grumman Aeronautical Engineering Corp. in Bethpage, where he joined a legion of young engineers building the lunar landing module. His business career was launched when he was hired in 1971 by John Diebold Venture Capital Corporation. From 1976 to 1986, he held a number of positions at Citibank including vice president and group marketing head for institutional business services. In 1986, he became the assistant to the chairman of Drexel Burnham Lambert Ltd. (London), where he was responsible for trading administration and chaired the risk management committee for the company.
In 1990, Mr. Gradante became president and CEO of Union Chelsea National Bank, where he remained until 1995, when he became a co-director at the Hennessee Hedge Fund Advisory group. Two years later, he and his wife co-founded one of the most widely sourced consultants in the hedge fund industry, the Hennessee Group LLC, which manages more than $1.5 billion in client investments.
He and his wife, Elizabeth Lee Hennessee, live in Manhattan.
W. Sherrill Babb, '63
W. Sherrill Babb was only 39 years old when he became president of the non-denominational Christian college now known as Philadelphia Biblical University (PBU). Under his leadership, the school has grown from the small, 475-student Philadelphia College of Bible, located in inner city Philadelphia, to a comprehensive university with six campuses and 1,800 students who hail from every state in the U.S. and from more than 100 countries around the globe.
Dr. Babb took the first steps toward a career in religious studies when he formed a men's Bible study group in his dorm at C.W. Post. After completing a bachelor of arts degree in history at C.W. Post in 1963, he earned a master's degree in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He then held several pastoral and college administrative posts, earning his doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh.
In 1979, Dr. Babb was appointed president of Philadelphia College of Bible, and was charged with overseeing the school's move from four buildings in downtown Philadelphia to a single building on a 115-acre campus in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and overseeing a major construction program, which raised five dormitories, a library, a gymnasium and a student commons. Dr. Babb also spearheaded the introduction of six graduate programs, which earned the school university status. It was renamed Philadelphia Biblical University on January 1, 2001. In his quest to continue the expansion of the University, Dr. Babb plans to make PBU a Ph.D.-granting institution within the next 10 years.
In recent years, Dr. Babb became a competitive swimmer, consistently scoring in the top 10 in his age group in the U.S. Masters Long Course Nationals. He and his wife, Linda, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 30 years ago, counsel other couples who are coping with this debilitating illness. The couple has three children, Corinne, Michelle and David, and 11 grandchildren.