2020/2022 Induction Ceremony

Windows on the River – June 7, 2022

Since 2010, the Cleveland International Hall of Fame (CIHF) has inducted people who have made significant and lasting contributions to our multicultural society. Cleveland is home to people representing about 120 different ethnic groups. The CIHF exists not only to honor those special people but also to inspire a new generation of leaders to follow in their footsteps.

Over 150 worthy candidates were nominated for both the 2020 and 2022 Classes of the Cleveland International Hall of Fame. The selection committee was advised by previously inducted members of the Cleveland International Hall of Fame.

Covid-19 forced the always sold out induction ceremonies to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021. We tried to induct the 2020 class virtually but it was not the same. So once we were able to gather together again, we included the 2020 class in the induction ceremony along with the 2022 class on June 7, 2022. The event at Windows on the River was a sell out and the 2020 class finally got their moment in the spotlight.

This is how the Cleveland International Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place.

After a social hour with Fred Ziwich strolling through the crowd playing a variety of ethnic songs on his accordion, the ceremony began.

Cleveland International Hall of Fame co-founder Dan Hanson welcomed the crowd and introduced Dawn Kendrick as the MC for the evening. WKYC-TV3 news anchor Russ Mitchell was scheduled to be the MC for the evening but he called and said he had been exposed to Covid and company policy would not let him go to any events. Fortunately, TV personality Dawn Kendrick was able to step in at the last minute and she did a great job – even with some of the difficult names.

Dawn Kendrick

As a sign of solidarity with the people of Ukraine, everyone rose and award-winning soprano Julie Anna Gulenko sang the national anthem of Ukraine. Julie had another event that evening but she rearranged her schedule so she could be at the ceremony.

Julie Anna Gulenko

Then a color guard of Junior ROTC students from CMSD John Marshall HS under the direction of Donald Milliken, Lt Col. USAF (Ret.) marched in and presented the colors.

John Marshall HS JROTC Color Guard

Then Julie Anna Gulenko then led the singing of God Bless America and the color guard marched out.

Julie Anna Gulenko

NOTE: All the images below with a white arrow in the middle are videos. (The other images are just photos) You can click on the white arrow to watch the video of whatever is described. Make sure your speakers are on and you can make the video full screen once it begins by clicking the icon in the lower right corner.

Watch the video of the opening ceremony.

Dawn Kendrick then told about her venture as the creator of The Good Stuff Family, a multi-media platform for storytelling about people and events that educate, inspire, and encourage people to pay it forward. They are stories and speaking engagements built on the foundation of “Together We Can. Together We Will.

Bishop Edward Malesic was scheduled to give an invocation and talk about his Slovenian heritage but his father had passed away a few days earlier at the age of 104. Bishop Malesic went to be with his family but Bishop-elect Michael Woost filled in. This was Bishop-elect Woost’s first public appearance.

Bishop-elect Michael Woost

Next, Cleveland City Council President Blaine Griffin spoke.

City Council President Blaine Griffin

On behalf of City Council, he congratulated the CIHF and applauded the diversity and efforts of the inductees.

Next, Dan Hanson thanked the sponsors and volunteers and introduced the CIHF Board and the 20+ past inductees of the CIHF who were in attendance.

Dan Hanson

Then the inductions of the Class of 2022 began.

2022 Class of the Cleveland International Hall of Fame
Seated (l-r) Anda Cook, Taras Szmagala
Standing – Victor Ruiz, Carl Robson MD

Taras Szmagala inducted by Andrew Fedynsky

Carl Robson MD inducted by Aklilu Demessie

Anda Cook inducted by Dagmar Celeste

Victor Ruiz inducted by Dr. Alex Johnson

If you click the name of the inductee you will be taken to a page with photos and video of their induction.

Before the dinner break, Dan Hanson shared a one-line reason that each of the 10 inductees was being honored with induction into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame.

After dinner, Polka Hall of Fame star Fred Ziwich entertained the sold out crowd.

Fred Ziwich

Fred played the classic polka song Just Because by the great Frankie Yankovic.

Then Albert Ratner, known for his Forest City career as well as his numerous civic and philanthropic ventures including being the architect behind Global Cleveland, spoke.

Albert Ratner

His passionate speech at the first Cleveland International Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2010 assured there would be a second. He himself was inducted in 2011. Mr. Ratner spoke of the importance of having new and more people in the country and the value of immigrants. He said’ “The people in this room tonight represent the best of who we are.”

Then the induction of the 2020 Class began.

2020 Class of the Cleveland International Hall of Fame
Seated (l-r) Margaret Lynch, May Chen, Valarie McCall
Standing Berj Shakarian, Joe Valencic, Ramesh Shah

Valarie McCall inducted by Albert Ratner

May Chen inducted by Margaret Wong

Margaret Lynch inducted by Gerry Quinn

Berj Shakarian inducted by Paul Burik

Ramesh Shah inducted by Sudarshan Sathe

Joe Valencic inducted by Councilman Mike Polensek

If you click the name of the inductee you will be taken to a page with photos and video of their induction.

After the last induction, CIHF Co-founder Dan Hanson thanked the sponsors and MC Dawn Kendrick and then, as is the tradition, led a toast to the new inductees and then adjourned for the evening.

Thank you to our Sponsors who made the evening possible:

Gold Sponsor:

The Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation

Silver Sponsors:

Cuyahoga Community College
Lakeland Construction Group
Margaret W. Wong & Associates
Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
The Szmagala Family
Vietnamese Cultural Garden

Bronze Sponsors:

Alex Machaskee & Associates
Case Western Reserve University
Global Cleveland
Greater Cleveland RTA
Richard W. Pogue

Contributing to student/refugee tables

Cleveland Council on World Affairs
e-Ventus Corporation
Friendship Foundation of American Vietnamese

See photos of some of the attendees at the event