The Mepham Who's Who
2006 Honorees

Five distinguished graduates were inducted into the Mepham Who's Who Hall of Fame. The ceremony took place on May 7, 2006 with officers and board members presenting the honors at the Mepham Alumni Association Annual Spring Luncheon.

This program was initiated in 1964 to recognize and honor graduates who have made significant accomplishments in their fields of work and significant volunteer service to the community. A plaque in the rotunda honors our one hundred fifty previous winners and the new inductees.

If you have graduated from Mepham more than ten years ago, meet the above qualifications and would like to be considered for an award next year, send an e-mail to to receive an application. You may nominate yourself or another Mepham alumna/alumnus.

The distinguished 2005 recipients are:

  • George Caso '42 Medicine
  • Gerard Fernandez '42 Law
  • Hope Machina Cassidy '55 Administration
  • Hal Mahoney '49 Education
  • Robert Ravera '56 Aerospace and Surface Transportation R & D

George Caso '42 Medicine

As a youth George Caso was as committed to the Mepham community as he has been to the medical profession, the hamlet of Merrick, and his family of patients for more than forty-five years. From band student conductor, yearbook business manager, and Honor Society-through a myriad of o anizations and activities-he initiated the pattern of service to others that is the story of his life.

World War 11 was raging when he graduated from Mepham; he was drafted after one college semester and served three years in the Medical Department of the U. S. Air Force and saw active duty as a Master Sergeant with combat in North Africa and ChinaBurmaIndia (CBI) theaters of war.

After the war, George continued the education he began with a full-tuition scholarship at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, and received his Bachelor's degree in 1948. While in college he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, treasurer of the College Weekend Event, president of the Honorary Chemistry Society, and vice-president of his fraternity, ATO. He earned a Medical degree from SUNY Down State Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, in 1952 and served his internship at Nassau County Medical Center 1952-1953.

Establishing his practice in General Medicine in Merrick, Dr. Caso and his wife raised their family while beginning an active life of service to the people of the south shore of Nassau County, New York. His patients remember him fondly as "gentle, caring-a good diagnostician." He served as president of the medical staff, Doctor's Hospital, Freeport, as attending physician with various committee member-ships at South Nassau Communities Hospital, Oceanside, and Mercy Hospital, Rockville Centre. Forty years of service as Surgeon for the Merrick Fire Department, and the Merrick Chamber of Commerce, were acknowledged with humanitarian and service awards through the years. Dr. Caso performed school physicals for the Cure'ofArs School in Merrick;was honorary chairman of the Fund Drive; a Career Day lecturer, was chosen as Grand Marshall of the Labor Day Parade; and found time to write articles for the Medical Society bulletin. Forty years of delivering babies and their babies' babies, of keeping families of the south shore healthy and comforting and caring for them in the latter stages of their lives, is a life very well lived.

One of the great interests of his private life resulted in authorship of two novels and one children's book. In Oh Malico, an autobiography written in novel form, he tells of the inspiration he and his brother, the late former Nassau County Executive Ralph Caso, received from their Italian immigrant mother to become a successful physician and lawyer, respectively. As we all know, they most certainly did.

George and his late wife, Virginia, were married more than forty-seven years before she passed away in 2001. Their five children number among them two social workers, a physician, a lawyer, and a -dentist.

Gerard Fernandez '42 - Law

Gerard Fernandez Jr. was admitted to practice in New York State in 1950 and in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York since 1951. He joined the law firm of Hawkins, Delafield &Wood, . n December, 1950 as an associate attorney, was a Pa rtner 1960 through 1994;

since 1995, he has served as "Of" Counsel to the firm. While at the firm he has participated as underwriters' counsel on financings in several states, including Alaska, North Dakota and Washington, as well as the Government of the Virgin Islands. In addition, he has participated both as bond counselor underwriters'counsel in financings in the fields of higher educational facilities (e.g., college dormitory and instructional buildings for Syracuse University, NYS Thruway Authority; Oklahoma Turnpike Authority), bridges (e.g., NYS Bridge Authority), and numerous local housing authorities pursuant to the federally subsidized housing program.

He drafted the enabling legislation for NYC Housing Development Corporation, Erie County (NY) Stadium, and Maine Municipal Bond Bank. He participated in drafting legislation for Battery Park CityAuthority, Maine State Housing Authority, and was also retained as counsel to the authority in the test case before the Supreme Judicial Court of the State of Maine which upheld the constitutionality of the enabling legislation. He is quite proud to have participated in the Moscow Conference on Law and Economic Cooperation (September 19-21, 1990) held in the Kremlin, Moscow, USSR.

He is the author of A New LookAt Gold Clauses in Municipal Bonds, New York Law School Law Review. In addition he was honored and recognized by the BarAssociation of Nassau County for fifty years of practice before the Bar. in 2000 Gerard was the recipient of the Alumni Outstanding Achievement Medal from St. John's University; in 2004 was the recipient the Special Service Award from The Municipal Forum of New York. He is a Member of the John Carter Brown Society of Brown University and the Loughlin Society of St. John's University and has served St. John's as a member of the President's Cabinet and as a University Fellow.

Mr. Fernandez is also to be commended for his service to our country during WW 11. As a Naval Reserve officer, he served aboard "USS John Land," a navy transport, from December 194.4 to July 1946 and participated in the following operations: Lingayen Gulf, landing army troops on Luzon island, the Philippines; Iwo Jima, and helped embarked Marines for their return to Hawaii after the island had been secured, as well as the occupation of Japan.

Gerard Fernandez is active on the community front, as well - a member from 1954 to date and currently a Trustee of the United Church of Christ of Rockville Centre. He is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of Nassau County, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and of the Inter-American Bar Association. Mr. Fernandez is quite proud of his family, his wife Beverly and son Bruce.

Hope Machina Cassidy '55 Administration

Hope Machina Cassidy has led a very active life: Choir, Honor Society, Buccaneer, Skull & Bones, and more at Mepham; editor of Wagnerian (college newspaper), choir, various honorary societies, Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities, and much more. She was a public school music teacher and church choir di rector.

In 1977 she founded both the Greeley Children's Theater and the Hospice and Palliative Care of Northern Colorado, which she established after her mother's illness and death. She is the executive director of the Greeley Center for Independence, Inc. and North Colorado Therapy Center, a multi-site agency comprised of residential, home health, and rehabilitation services for people who have severe disabilities, such as quadriplegia, AILS, brain injury, etc. Hope has been instrumental in giving hope for a better quality of life to these disabled men and women. Many have gone on to lead productive lives.

There is insufficient space for all in the very long list of her interests and accomplishments. Starting in 1978 she: organized Eldergarden, Adult Day Program for Seniors; developed Camelot 1, wheelchair accessible residential facilities with round-the-clock attendant care for people with severe disabilities; Camelot 11, a second facility with round-the-clock nursing care for people with very severe disabilities, including ventilatordependent and tube-fed residents; Downtown Service Center to provide jobs for people with disabilities; funding for Brain Injury (BI) survivors, and responsible for overseeing the construction of an integrated, 32-unit apartment building, including a Day Program for BI survivors who require support and supervision; two small group homes for Brain Injury Survivors in Denver area and in Brighton; fundraising and responsible for the construction of North Colorado Therapy Center with a wheel chair accessible, warm water pool; funding and supervision, construction of a five-unit addition to Camelot 11; funding for a BI campus including construction of a residence with ten studio apartments for homeless B1 survivors, and the remodeling and addition to a family farmhouse for a Day Program for BI survivors.

Hal Mahoney '49 - Education

Hal 'Bud' Mahoney was a wrestler and on the Cross Country team at Mepham. He joined the Army in 1951 served in Japan and Korea, was in the JAG Office in Division Headquarters, and received many medals.

In the North Babylon Public Schools, 195&-1985, he was a science teacher, wrestling coach, Senior H.S. Science Chairman, and District Science Coordinator. He still is a wrestling official and member of the LI Wrestling Referee's Association. He was President, North Babylon Council of Chairman and Coordinators; Director, NYS Science Supervisors Association; President, Suffolk County Science Supervisors Association.

While in the position of science chairman, he introduced Bonsai (the oriental art of dwarfing trees) into the science curriculum as a credit-earning course. He has been president, LI Bonsai Society and of the Bonsai Society of Greater New York; vice president of the Bonsai Club International. He was on the editorial board of Bonsai Inkrnational Alagazine, and has conducted many bonsai workshops and classes at numerous arboretums, bonsai societies, and garden clubs across America. Since the Long Island Bonsai Society met in Nassau County-too far for many Long Islanders to attend-Hal founded the Eastern Suffolk Bonsai Society (now in its sixteenth year) and traveled approximately eighty miles every month to bring its art to the Riverhead area. Hal was also a member of the Bonsai Society of Greater New York for over thirty-five years, serving as president and other capacities. He was one of the founders of a regional organization, the MidAtlantic Bonsai Association, now in its twenty-first year.

Most recently Hal created a Chinese Rock Penjing memorial to the events of 9/11, called "Metropolis," pictured with an accompanying article in the Jan/Feb 2003 magazine, Bonsai. He has contributed over forty articles in various magazines, including: a penjing of mosses and lichens, and a chapter on water and land penjing to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden handbook on indoor bonsai. Hal was chosen to represent the US at the Fifth World Bonsai Convention, the biggest bonsai event ever in North America.

Hal is particularly proud of the Hinoki Cypress bonsai he created, now on display at the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection in Seattle, WA. A Rock Penjing he created is on display at California's Huntington Chinese Garden, and one of his rock penjing is featured in the book Outstanding American Bonsai.

Hal lives in Deer Park NY, is married to Marion, and has three children, Lynne, Janet, and David.

Robert Ravera '56 - Aerospace and Surface Transportation R & D

After graduation from Mepham in 1956, Robert Ravera went on to Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, earning an Engineering degree in 1960. From Pratt he went to Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, earning both Masters and Ph.D. degrees in applied mechanics.

Activities in high school included track, Knights of Columbus (Squires), and Explorers. in college he was active in dorm council, student council, student chapters of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Rocket Society, ROTC, and Color Guard.

Bob's career began at Lehigh in 1960 where he pursued his graduate degrees and worked for Grumman Aircraft in the summers. He went on to work for major companies like Bell Labs, MITRE Corp., U. S. Dept. of Transportation, as well as others, and finally formed the consulting firm of RJR Aviation in Reston, Va., where he is currently president. He also is an adjunct professor at George Mason University.

Dr. Ravera's major field of endeavor is aerospace and surface transportation research and development. His long and distinguished career has taken him through the aerospace and transportation industries where he has planned and developed countless projects in transportation, air traffic control, satellite-based navigation, NASA communications systems, and other projects throughout the country and the world. He has worked on the NASA Skylab and Apollo programs specializing in spacecraft control systems.

Dr. Ravera has received numerous awards and distinctions throughout his career, recognized both nationally and internationally. He has many publications and has been on international committees and associations. He has also served his community by membership in the Lions International, board member and treasurer of the Ridge Townhome Association, the Bryce Resort planning committee, and is currently candidate for the board of the Skyebryce Homeowners Association.

Bob and his wife, Virginia, have two daughters, Michele and Elizabeth, and reside in Basye, Virginia.

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