Mineta Transportation Institute Bestows Distinctive Honors at Its Annual Banquet

Also raises record total of fellowship donation
July 1, 2015
San José, CA

Several distinctive honors were given at a celebration that attracted transportation luminaries from across the nation. The Mineta Transportation Institute’s (MTI) vibrant twenty-third annual awards banquet and convocation was held Saturday evening, June 27, at the San Jose State University Student Union ballroom. Honors included the Garrett Morgan Sustainable Transportation Award for middle-school students; the Master of Science in Transportation Management (MSTM) Award for Alumna of the Year; the inaugural Congressman James Oberstar Award for Academic Excellence; a San Jose Mayor’s Commendation; two elevations to emeritus status on the MTI Board of Trustees; and installation of a new Board chair and vice-chair. As the evening’s centerpiece, twenty-one graduate students earned their masters’ degree hoods in transportation management.

The banquet, which is also a fundraiser for MSTM fellowships, generated a record $108,000 for next year’s students. Support came from many benefactors, donors, and patrons representing transportation agencies, professional organizations, and private businesses.

Elected officials addressed the gathering.

Retired U.S. Secretary of Transportation and MTI founder Norman Mineta delivered one of the commencement addresses, asking the graduates to remain true to their academic accomplishments in transportation. California State Senator James Beall, chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing, also addressed the graduates. He reminded them of how critical transportation is for every facet of their lives and asked them to continue their work to expand and improve the nation’s mobility infrastructure.

Other officials addressing the crowd of more than 300 included Congressman Mike Honda, who was celebrating his birthday; San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo; San Jose City Councilman Ash Kalra; and policy consultant Ted Link-Oberstar.

It was an evening filled with honors.

The award winners included:

  • Garrett Morgan Sustainable Transportation Award – Guntown Middle School of Guntown MS, whose competition team of eighth-grade students created plans for an automotive hydrogen fueling system. Accepting the award and a check for $1000 were teacher Connie Gusmus, project mentor Julia Smith, and students Brandon Dillard and Luke Smith.
  • MSTM Alumna of the Year – The MSTM Alumni Association selected Donna DeMartino, class of 2001, for this award. She is CEO and general manager of the San Joaquin Regional Transit District and she teaches transportation management classes at San Jose State University and other colleges.
  • Congressman James Oberstar Award for Academic Excellence – Allie Scrivener, of this year’s graduating class, received the inaugural award for her outstanding class work, earning a perfect grade point average. She also was valedictorian for this year’s graduating class. The award was presented by the Congressman’s son, Ted LinkOberstar.
  • Mayor’s Commendation – MTI executive director Karen Philbrick, PhD, was honored with a commendation from the City of San Jose and mayor Liccardo for excellence in transportation policy leadership.
  • Trustees Emeriti – The MTI Board of Trustees elevated Stephanie Pinson and David Turney to emeritus status as they retired from years of dedicated board service. The award, for specific outstanding contributions, had been given only six times in MTI’s 25- year history.
  • Board of Trustees Leadership – Nuria Fernandez, CEO of Valley Transportation Authority, was elevated to Board Chair, while Grace Crunican, CEO of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), was elected to Board Vice-Chair. Each is a two-year term.
  • Masters of Science in Transportation Management – David Steele, PhD, dean of SJSU’s College of Business, hooded each of the candidates for masters’ degrees. Nearly all are working professionals who attended graduate classes in the evening while managing their careers during the day. With their newly-minted diplomas, they hope to qualify for further advancement in their professions. To learn more about the MSTM program, go to http://transweb.sjsu.edu/MTIportal/education/


Educating mobility managers – including those already working in the field – is a central element of the Mineta Transportation Institute. This is the ideal way to help them advance their careers while benefiting their communities. MTI offers a Master of Science in Transportation Management and Graduate Certificates in Transportation Management. The certificates may be earned in Transportation Security, Transportation Management, or High-Speed Rail Management. Accredited graduate courses are offered through two-way videoconferencing at San Jose State University and designated Caltrans district offices throughout California.


The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) conducts research, education, and information transfer programs regarding surface transportation policy and management issues, especially related to transit. Congress established MTI in 1991 as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. MTI won national re-designation competitions in 2002, 2006 and 2012. The Institute is funded through the US Department of Transportation, the US Department of Homeland Security, the California Department of Transportation, and public and private grants. The internationally respected members of the MTI Board of Trustees represent all major surface transportation modes. MTI, the lead institute for the nine-university Mineta National Transit Research Consortium, is affiliated with San Jose (CA) State University’s College of Business.


Donna Maurillo
MTI Communications Director
831-234-4009 (24 hours)