University of Rochester

University of Rochester Announces Award Recipients to be Honored at 2012 Commencement Ceremonies

April 27, 2012

The University of Rochester's 162nd commencement ceremonies will recognize the outstanding contributions of 12 distinguished leaders and scholars who will receive honorary degrees, medals, and awards for scholarship and teaching. Ceremonies will be held on May 18, 19, and 20. In addition, the Simon School of Business commencement will occur on June 10 and the Eastman Institute for Oral Health convocation will take place on June 29.

Those receiving honorary degrees are: Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, U.S. Surgeon General, Doctor of Science; the Most Rev. Matthew H. Clark, Roman Catholic Bishop of Rochester, Doctor of Divinity; Robert H. Hurlbut, president of Hurlbut Trust and civic leader, Doctor of Science; Ruth J. Simmons, president of Brown University, Doctor of Humane Letters; and George Walker '56E (DMA), Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, Doctor of Music.

University medals will be awarded for exemplary achievement and dedicated service to Roger B. Friedlander '56, retired business executive, civic leader, and University trustee, the Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Medal; and Dr. Arthur J. Moss '62M (Res), professor of medicine at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, the George Eastman Medal.

The Rochester Distinguished Scholar Award will be presented to musicologist Glenn Watkins '53E (PhD), the Earl V. Moore Professor Emeritus of Music History and Musicology at the University of Michigan. The award recognizes alumni whose careers in academia, industry, government or the arts have exemplified the values and attributes of the University.

University awards for teaching excellence will be given to Karen J. DeAngelis, assistant professor of educational leadership at the Warner School of Education, the G. Graydon '58 and Jane W. Curtis Award for Nontenured Faculty Teaching Excellence; Lane A. Hemaspaandra, professor of computer science, Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching; Gautam Mitra, professor of geology, Lifetime Achievement Award in Graduate Education; and Robert W. Wason, professor of music theory and affiliate faculty in the Department of Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media at the Eastman School of Music, the William H. Riker University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching.

As the 18th Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Regina Benjamin is responsible for providing the public with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and the health of the nation. Her medical career has been broad and varied, from her founding of a rural health clinic in Alabama to being chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States. She was a winner of the MacArthur Genius Award Fellowship in 2008, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a member of the Institute of Medicine.

The Most Rev. Matthew Clark, who is the spiritual leader to more than 300,000 Catholics in the Rochester diocese, has developed a reputation as an inclusive leader in the diocese and in the larger community during his more than 30 years as bishop. Promoting interfaith dialogue and his commitment to programs for youth and young adults have been among his most recognizable achievements. A native of Waterford, N.Y., Clark was ordained a priest in 1962.

Robert Hurlbut, president of Hurlbut Trust, learned at a young age from his parents the delicate balance between providing dignified, respectful care for the elderly and achieving success in business. His vision for elder care evolved from managing and consulting with Rochester-area nursing homes to overseeing a multi-state retirement community organization. A Fellow of the American College of Health Care Administrators and longtime supporter of the University of Rochester, Hurlbut has served as a University trustee, on the board of the Medical Center, vice chair of the Eastman Dental Center Foundation Board, and an inaugural member of the School of Nursing National Council.

President of Brown University for 11 years, Ruth Simmons has strengthened one of America's premier universities by enhancing Brown's funding resources, increasing the size of its faculty, and substantially expanding its facilities. Her breadth of experience and her command of issues affecting science education, foreign language study, diversity, and institutional governance, among others, have heightened her visibility as a speaker and prolific writer. A scholar of comparative literature, Simmons previously held posts at several universities, including Smith College where she served as president from 1995 to 2001.

George Walker, whose distinguished career as a musician, composer, pianist, and educator has won him international acclaim and numerous awards, commissions, and major performances, has published more than 90 works for almost every medium. Walker's 1946 Lyric for Strings is perhaps the most frequently performed work by a living American composer. His Piano Sonata No. 2, written as his Eastman doctoral dissertation, has been deemed a masterpiece. In 1996, he received the Pulitzer Prize in Music for Lilacs for Voice and Orchestra, and he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Classical Music Hall of Fame.

The Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Medal, which will be awarded to Roger Friedlander, recognizes alumni for outstanding achievement and notable service. Through the years, Friedlander, a 1956 graduate of the College, has stayed connected to his alma mater. After his office supply company was acquired by Staples in 1994, he began sharing his business acumen with the University in many roles, first on the board of the Children's Hospital, which he chaired from 1996 to 2000. In 1997 he was named to the University of Rochester Medical Center board, which he chaired from 2000 to 2004. Since 1997, Friedlander has served as a University trustee, chairing the University's and Medical Center's facilities committees and the School of Nursing National Council. He is currently serving as vice chair of the board's health affairs committee and a member of the board's investment committee. He also serves on the executive advisory committee of the Simon School and on the Eastman Dental Center Foundation Board. Among his activities outside the University, Friedlander has been on the Hillside Family of Agencies Board of Governors since 2007.

One of the nation's most influential cardiologists, Dr. Arthur Moss has made discoveries over the past five decades that have saved hundreds of thousands of lives and dramatically improved the standard of care for people with heart disease. The George Eastman Medal recipient is the world's authority on long QT syndrome, one of Moss's many contributions to cardiology. His discovery of three genes involved in the disease led to the creation of a diagnostic blood test. He also led the first large study proving implantable defibrillators saved the lives of patients who suffered a heart attack and were prone to arrhythmias. Moss completed his medical residency at the School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1962.

Rochester Distinguished Scholar Award recipient Glenn Watkins is a distinguished musicologist whose scholarly impact ranges from his pioneering studies of Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo to his influential books on musical modernism and its postmodern consequences and music in World War I. Critics praise Watkins for his books that pave new avenues for understanding music and its relation to other arts of the last century. Watkins has presented at numerous conferences in both late Renaissance and 20th -century studies, collaborated with performance groups, and worked on projects for internationally known recording labels and broadcast media. He earned his doctorate in musicology from the Eastman School of Music in 1953.

Faculty members who will receive University teaching awards during commencement ceremonies are a distinctive group.

An emerging master teacher and scholar, Karen J. DeAngelis of the Warner School of Education is admired for her commitment to engaging students through teaching, research, and mentoring. As the recipient of the G. Graydon '58 and Jane W. Curtis Award for Nontenured Faculty Teaching Excellence, DeAngelis's exemplary teaching extends across seven courses, each of which she created or revised. Recently, she was awarded a Spencer Foundation grant to study the academic skills and racial/ethnic diversity of teachers entering K-12 public schools in Illinois.

Professor of Computer Science Lane Hemaspaandra, the recipient of the Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, is known for making difficult, abstract material fun and accessible in his computer theory courses. Hemaspaandra is in his 24th year at the University, and is the author of two books and more than 250 publications, many of which he has coauthored with undergraduate and graduate students. He is a specialist in the theory of computation and its uses in protecting elections from manipulation.

Gautam Mitra, who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award in Graduate Education, is known for his outstanding teaching and research in the field of structural geology. Described as both an excellent role model and a caring mentor, Mitra has had a profound impact on his students' careers. Seventy-five percent of Mitra's doctoral students have entered tenure track positions at colleges or universities, with all of them receiving tenure. He has coauthored a widely-used textbook, Basic Methods of Structural Geology, and has published numerous scientific papers.

A noted musical scholar, Robert Wason is a performing musician and composer across a surprising number of genres. He has written on the history of music theory, 20th -century music, and jazz, on subjects ranging from 12-tone music to the songs of Alec Wilder. This year's recipient of the William H. Riker University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching, Wason has advised students who now hold positions at institutions in Canada, the Netherlands, Brazil, and the United States. Besides teaching doctoral courses in theory, keyboard skills, and advanced harmony and composition, he has advised on the design of the jazz DMA program and has developed diverse seminars on the music of Bill Evans, Bela Bartok, J. S. Bach, and Anton Webern.

Additional information about University commencement ceremonies and related activities is available at