Alumni Hall of Fame

2013 • Debra Boblitt, CLF® & Arthur D. Kraus, CLU®, ChFC®, CAP® & Gloria La Grassa, CLU®, ChFC®

Debra Boblitt, CLF®

Senior Vice President — State Farm Insurance

Debra Boblitt develops vision, strategy and direction for approximately 2,300 State Farm agents and sales leaders in six states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee. Based in Murfreesboro, Tenn., her State Farm career has spanned more than two decades, and she has served in a variety of leadership roles across the country.

Boblitt champions the advancement of women through mentoring, leadership development and the pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunities. She is the former president of the Professional Business Women of California. In July 2011, she was a guest blogger for WomenWorking.com and in March 2011, she was featured on the site. Boblitt was published in the Winter 2012 edition of Wealth Channel Magazine. Additionally, she was selected to participate in the 2008-2009 International Women's Forum Leadership Foundation Fellowship Program and is a current member of the local Tennessee Women's Forum chapter.

Boblitt holds the office of Secretary of The American College Foundation Board of Directors and serves on the Board's Executive Committee. In 2011 she was a featured speaker at The College's Las Vegas Knowledge Summit and was the keynote speaker for The College's 2008 Conferment at Pearl Harbor.

Boblitt earned a bachelor's degree from Kent State University, a master's degree in administration and supervision from the University of Toledo, and the Chartered Leadership Fellow (CLF) designation from The American College.

Arthur D. Kraus, CLU®, ChFC®, CAP®

Partner at Capital Intelligence Associates

Art Kraus, CLU®, ChFC®, CAP® entered the financial services business in 1960 with Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company. In 1969, he was elected President of Pacific Consulting Corporation, as subsidiary of Pacific Mutual. PCC was an early foray into the emerging financial planning industry. He resigned his PCC affiliation a year later to become a co-founder of the AFP Group.

AFP grew to become one of the largest financial planning companies in the United States. In 1998 the industry asked him to become CEO of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), the country's largest financial services association. Following his four years in Washington, DC, he returned to Los Angeles to retire, at which he failed miserably. He worked with his son Mitchell to found Capital Intelligence Association in Los Angeles.

Art currently serves on The American College Foundation Board of Directors. He received his Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) designation in 1967, his Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) in 1983, and his Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®) in 2011.

Art played a key role in the Alumni Association in 2010 when he hosted the LA LIVE event, which featured Dr. Larry Barton, CAP® and several top speakers from the industry. Art was also named the August Alumni of the Month by The College. He is the recipient of numerous industry awards and honors and still spends a great deal of his time working on industry issues in Washington. He is a registered Principal with and securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC

Gloria La Grassa, CLU®, ChFC®

Gloria La Grassa, CLU®, ChFC®, is a graduate of Brooklyn College, where she earned both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees. She began her career working alongside Charles Lamont Post, an early benefactor of The College and the man responsible for creating and endowing The College's first chair concentrating on the study of ethics. Over the next 25 years, La Grassa rose to the position of Principal at Post & Kurtz.

She is the former president of the New York City Chapter of Financial Service Professionals. In 1979, La Grassa earned the prestigious Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) designation and in 1985, she received the highest standard of knowledge and trust, the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designation. Both of these credentials are offered exclusively by The American College.

At The American College, La Grassa faithfully served on both the Board of Trustees and the Foundation Board of Directors. She was a member of the Board of Trustees for seven years, serving five of them as Secretary of the Board. She was a member of the Foundation Board of Directors for nine years, also serving five of them as Secretary. In 2002, La Grassa served on the Presidential Search Committee.

In 1999, La Grassa gave $600,000 to The College to fund a state-of-the-art auditorium. To this date, this gift stands as the largest single donation ever made to The College by a woman.

In 2009 Gloria was awarded the Huebner Gold Medal, the highest award given by The American College, given to people who, through support and dedication to The College and its programs, have moved the institution forward in its mission.

On April 22, 2011, The American College dedicated the academic floor of MDRT Foundation Hall to Gloria La Grassa, CLU®, ChFC®. A Huebner Gold Medal recipient and former board member, Gloria is a longtime supporter and friend of The College.


2012 • Maurice L. Stewart, CLU®, ChFC®, CLF®

Maurice L. Stewart, CLU®, ChFC®, CLF® was named the 2012 inductee into The American College Alumni Hall of Fame. Maury has been a genuine friend of The American College for many years. In addition to attaining his CLU®, ChFC®, and CLF® designations, Maury encouraged the establishment of the Charles E. Drimal Professorship in Estate Planning at The College. In 2008, Maury was honored with the establishment of the Maurice L. Stewart Lecture at The American College, in partnership with Penn Mutual. The annual lecture addresses issues critical to the practice of leadership development and has featured a series of renowned speakers.

Maury launched his career in the life insurance industry in 1952 as a Penn Mutual agent in Topeka, Kansas. He spent 31 years as a general agent with Penn Mutual, 26 of those years as a top-performing general agent with the company’s Philadelphia agency, where he led the agency to top Penn Mutual honors for 12 consecutive years. Maury has held numerous leadership positions in the General Agents and Managers Association (GAMA), and in 2004 was named to GAMA’s prestigious International Hall of Fame. He also received the 2003 President’s Cup from the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) and the 2004 Life Achievement Award from The New York Roundtable.

Maury was inducted to the Alumni Hall of Fame during a special ceremony at our December 7th Chicago Live Alumni Tour luncheon.


2011 • Sal Farina, MSM, CLU®, CLF®, ChFC®

Sal is a Managing Partner for New York Life’s award winning Long Island General Office. As Managing Partner, he oversees the operation and activities of one of New York Life’s largest producing agencies, with over 160 active agents throughout Long Island and the greater New York area.

Sal joined New York Life as an agent in the Long Island office in 1985. In 1999, Sal was promoted to Senior Vice President for New York Life’s Northeastern Zone, directly responsible for a field force of 1800 agents and over $75 million of agent First Year Commissions. In 2002, Sal became Managing Partner of New York Life’ s most successful agency, Long Island — the agency where he started his New York Life career.

Sal is a 1977 graduate of the New York Institute of Technology and has earned his CLU,® CLF,® and ChFC® designations from The American College. Sal earned his MSM from The College in 2007. In 2008, Sal was named the George Joseph — Richard A. Liddy Chair in Practice Management at The American College where he teaches MSM and CLF® students.


2010 • Albert J. "Bud" Schiff, CLU®

Mr. Schiff is the Chief Executive Officer of New York Life Executive Benefits LLC (NYLEX Benefits) as well as the retired Senior Executive Vice President and member of the Board of Trustees of the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York (MONY).

Schiff is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and earned his Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) designation from The American College in 1968. Over the course of his career, he has served in numerous insurance industry leadership roles, including: President of the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU), Chairman of the International Million Dollar Round Table Top of the Table and Member of the LIFE Foundation Board of Directors.

Schiff has also served as a Captain in the United States Navy Reserve, and is an avid yachtsman. He and his wife, Jayne reside in Greenwich, CT, and have two grown children and six grandchildren.


2009 • Susan D. Waring, CLU®, ChFC®

Susan D. Waring CLU®, ChFC®, was inducted into The Alumni Hall of Fame in 2009. She has proven to be relentlessly dedicated to the mission of The American College and volunteerism throughout our industry.

Susan demonstrates an extraordinary willingness to give selflessly her time, effort and energy in support of the core values that The American College has held since 1927. She has served on The American College Foundation Board of Directors and has distinguished herself as a lead volunteer on fundraising efforts and endowment management projects.  Susan continues her commitment to education as the leader of the committee responsible for funding and developing the State Farm Chair in Women and Financial Services, the first of its kind in the nation. This position is recognized for its production of top academic research and practical solutions.

Susan began her illustrious career after she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Gettysburg College and Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. She became a Chartered Life Underwriter® in 1997 and a Chartered Financial Consultant® in 2004. Susan began working for State Farm Insurance Companies in 1986. She quickly ascended through leadership positions, until 2004 when she became Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at State Farm Life Insurance Company.

Susan D. Waring, CLU®, ChFC®, is a champion of education, committed volunteer and generous friend of The American College and has earned her place in The Alumni Hall of Fame.


2008 • Charles C. Jones, CLU®, ChFC®, CASL®

The American College Alumni Hall of Fame welcomed Charles C. Jones, CLU®, ChFC®, CASL®, to its ranks in November 2008.

Chuck has been a dear friend of The College for many years and his service has placed him among the most devoted supporters in our 81 year history.  Chuck's generosity has helped to provide the highest-quality education to an industry that he dearly loves.  However, his devotion extends far beyond his willingness to support our mission.  Chuck serves vigorously on The American College Foundation Board of Directors, encouraging charitable gifts to The College and helping to manage the use of our endowment.  In 2007, he was invited to join the Board of Trustees, where he serves as Chair of the Investment Committee.  In this role, Chuck has oversight of The College's long-term financial security, a job that he takes seriously and that he has met with great success.

Chuck's career is punctuated with an inspiring list of honors and awards, including Commercial Union Man of the Year, John Hancock Agent of the Year 1994, John Hancock Sales Leader 1994, 1996, and 1998, and John Hancock President's Club, Cabinet, and Chairman's Council.

The American College is honored to induct Charles C. Jones, CLU®, ChFC®, CASL®, a successful producer, champion of professional education, and devoted family man, into the Alumni Hall of Fame.

Charles passed on Sunday, June 16, 2013.


2007 • Joseph Sparacio, CLU®, CLF®, LUTCF

Joseph Sparacio, CLU®, CLF®, LUTCF, joined the August members of the Alumni Hall of Fame in November 2007 as its third inductee.

Joe’s successful career has been repeatedly marked with recognition and achievement.  After a sixteen year career with Prudential, Joe joined MassMutual as the CEO and Managing Partner of The Island Financial Group.  Joe has been the recipient of many awards from his company, industry associations, and several charitable organizations.

Joe’s service to The College includes membership on the Advisory Boards of the Alumni Association and the Center for Ethics, extensive volunteer efforts to promote the CLF® designation, and membership in President’s Circle.  Joe has left an indelible mark on The College community and thousands of others though service to organizations like the American Cancer Society, GAMA, and Hofstra University.

Joe has set an impressive standard of giving for young professionals that will serve The College for years to come.  Joe serves as a model of integrity, generosity, and hard work, qualities that help The College continue its dedication to exceptional education and ethical professionalism.  The American College is proud to honor Joe Sparacio as a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame.


2006 • Paul Colflesh, CLU®

Paul Colflesh, CLU®, has been elected by his peers as the second inductee into the Alumni Association’s Hall of Fame in recognition of his outstanding contributions to The American College.

He played a vital role in the development and success of the 21st Century Endowment Campaign.  He also hosted many alumni events and has supported the George C. Joseph Chair in Management Education and the Hall of States Fund.  Paul is a member of the President’s Circle and the Golden Key Society.

Paul was the President of the Pacific Life Insurance Company and the Executive Vice President of the Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company.  Retiring from Pacific Life, Paul became the President and CEO of the prestigious Nottingham Group.  Throughout his prominent career, Paul has never stopped giving back to The American College.

His tireless dedication to The American College, his selfless support of the College’s programs and his continued involvement in College events serves as a model of commitment for all students and alumni.


2005 • Louis P. DiCerbo, II, CLU®, ChFC®, LUTCF

Louis P. DiCerbo, II, CLU®, ChFC®, LUTCF, rose above his peers to become the first graduate of The American College elected to the Alumni Hall of Fame.  Lou DiCerbo epitomizes just what The American College stands for- integrity, professionalism, volunteerism, and dedication to education.

Lou’s devotion to his family and commitment to charity, ethics, morality, and career, serve as a shining example of professional success.  Through the years, Lou has served as a Trustee of The College, a Foundation Board member, and a longtime member of the Huebner Society.  His individual volunteer efforts on behalf of The College have greatly helped to lift this institution into the 21st Century.

Lou’s career is as much about his own success as it is about the success of those around him.  As the General Agent of Penn Mutual’s New York agency and CEO of PCP Benefit Plans, Lou has worked tirelessly to educate and motivate his colleagues to become great professionals and great people.

Lou DiCerbo has set the standard that others will endeavor to achieve, and because of him, The American College is a better place.  He is an icon of accomplishment, and he will forever be honored by The American College.