University of Rochester

University of Rochester Commencements Celebrate Achievement

May 11, 2010

CEO Danny Wegman, Surgeon Benjamin Carson, Trustee Cathy Minehan Are Among Honorees

The University of Rochester will mark its 160th commencement for Arts, Sciences, and Engineering with an address to graduates and guests by Danny Wegman, chief executive officer of Wegmans Food Markets and a University trustee, and with the awarding of honorary degrees and medals that applaud outstanding academic and professional accomplishments. The ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. Sunday, May 16, on the Eastman Quadrangle of the River Campus.

Cornelius Eady, a native Rochesterian who is now an acclaimed poet and playwright at the University of Notre Dame, and alumnus and former faculty member Richard H. Thaler, a pioneer and preeminent theorist in the field of behavioral economics at the University of Chicago, will receive honorary degrees. Eady will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree; Thaler will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

Cathy E. Minehan, former president and chief executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and a University trustee and 1968 alumna, will receive the Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Medal. The Hutchison Medal is reserved for alumni in recognition of outstanding achievement and notable service to the community, state, or nation. In her almost 40 years with the Federal Reserve system, Minehan was the first woman president and chief executive of the Federal Reserve of Boston, and only the second woman president appointed within the Federal Reserve.

The George Eastman Medal, which is given by the University for outstanding achievement and dedicated service, will be presented to Wegman and to William Scott Green, dean emeritus of the College at the University of Rochester, and senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate education as well as professor of religious studies at the University of Miami. The medal was created to continue the legacy of one of the University's great benefactors and the founder of Eastman Kodak Company.

During the May 14 to 16 weekend, the University will recognize the achievements of graduates who have earned a total of 2,688 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees awarded in all schools. University President Joel Seligman will preside at each of the commencement ceremonies.

At the commencement for the School of Medicine and Dentistry at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 14, honorary Doctor of Science degrees will be awarded to alumna Linda S. Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program, and to Dr. Benjamin S. Carson Sr., director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Carson also will be the keynote speaker to Medical School graduates. Dr. Arthur J. Moss, professor of medicine at the School of Medicine and Dentistry and a graduate of Rochester's medical residency program in 1962, will receive the Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Medal for his outstanding achievement and notable service.

On Saturday, May 15, all doctoral candidates will gather at 9:30 a.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Young-Kee Kim, a renowned particle physicist who earned her doctoral degree in physics at Rochester in 1990, will receive the Rochester Distinguished Scholar Award. The award recognizes graduate alumni who have achieved distinction in academia, industry, government, or the arts, and who exemplify the values and attributes of the University community.

Two of the University's teaching awards also will be presented at the doctoral ceremony. Richard Eisenberg, the Tracy H. Harris Professor of Chemistry, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award in Graduate Education, and Richard G. Niemi, the Don Alonzo Watson Professor of Political Science, will be presented the William H. Riker University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching.

The third honoree for teaching excellence, Andrew Wall, assistant professor in the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, will receive the G. Graydon Curtis '58 and Jane W. Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Nontenured Member of the Faculty. Wall's award will be presented at the May 15 commencement of the Warner School.

The celebrations continue on Sunday, May 16, at 11:15 a.m. for the graduates of the Eastman School of Music. Clive Gillinson, executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall in New York, will deliver Eastman's commencement address and receive the Eastman School's Luminary Award. Vincent Lenti, lecturer in piano and Eastman's official historian who earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at Eastman, will receive the Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Medal for his contributions and achievements.

The University's final 2010 commencement will be held on Sunday, June 13, when the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration will hold its ceremonies at 10 a.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Robert J. Keegan, who earned his MBA from the Simon School in 1972, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University and will deliver the Simon commencement address. He is chairman of the board and former chief executive officer and president of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The school's Distinguished Alumnus Award will be given to Kenneth R. French, the Carl E. and Catherine M. Heidt Professor of Finance at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Honorees at College Commencement Excel in Many Fields
Danny Wegman will give the commencement address and receive the Eastman Medal for his leadership and innovation at Wegmans Food Markets, and for his contributions to the community. He and his company have been honored as a model employer, retailer, and for excellence in community service. He became president of Wegmans in 1976, and was named chief executive officer in 2005. Since 1995, Wegman has served as a University of Rochester trustee.

Honorary degree recipient Cornelius Eady will be recognized for his achievements in poetry, theater, music, and education. He has published seven books of poetry and is associate professor of English and director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Notre Dame. Beyond the accolades he has received for his own writing, Eady has cofounded the Cave Canem Foundation to advance the work of young African-American poets.

The honorary degree for Richard Thaler, who received his master's and doctoral degrees in economics from Rochester in 1970 and 1974, respectively, is in recognition of his groundbreaking work in the field of behavioral economics and finance. He has had enormous influence in shaping behavioral economics through his scholarly work, his teaching, and in several influential books. He and his collaborators are credited with altering the public understanding of human decision making and creating an entirely new way to approach important aspects of public policy. At the University of Chicago, he is the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and Behavioral Science at the Booth School of Business, and director of the Center for Decision Research.

William Scott Green, one of the Eastman Medal recipients, joined the Rochester faculty in 1974 and became founding chair of Rochester's Department of Religion and Classics. As Rochester's dean of undergraduate studies (19911996) and then dean of the College (19962006), he worked with a faculty committee to initiate the Rochester Curriculum, which allows students to pursue their intellectual passions rather than follow requirements. His leadership at Rochester focused on enriching the student experience. In 2006, Green became professor of religious studies, senior fellow of the Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies, senior vice provost, and dean of undergraduate education at the University of Miami.

In addition to Cathy Minehan's achievements in the Federal Reserve system, she has contributed her efforts toward community development, public education, and training as critical issues within New England. In 2008, she became the first woman to lead Massachusetts General Hospital's governing board, and continues to serve on civic, professional, and educational boards. She was first elected a University of Rochester trustee in 1995 and is now beginning her fourth term. Minehan earned her bachelor's degree in political science at Rochester, and holds an MBA from New York University. She is currently managing director of Arlington Advisory Partners LLC.

The College ceremony also will include the announcement of the recipients of the Singer Family Prize for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching, which was created by Paul Singer, a 1966 alumnus of the College. All seniors have the opportunity to recognize and honor a high school teacher who significantly influenced them.

This year's winners are: Christopher Auckerman, Duxbury High School in Duxbury, Mass., nominated by senior Julianna Hopkins; Chung Chan, John Dewey High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., nominated by senior Shirley Liang; Stephen Robinson, Wayland-Cohocton Central School in Wayland, N.Y., nominated by senior Randy Mahlenbacher; and Jennifer Webster, Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Md., nominated by senior Eric Weissman.

The number of candidates for the College commencement totals 1,100 for a bachelor's degree and 228 for a master's degree. Diploma ceremonies hosted by academic departments will follow the ceremony.

Commencement ceremonies for other University divisions are:

  • School of Nursing, Friday, May 14: 1 p.m., Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre

There are 184 candidates for bachelor's and master's degrees.

Keynote speaker Dr. Bradford C. Berk is senior vice president for Health Sciences at the University of Rochester and CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center. Berk received both his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Rochester. He held academic appointments at Harvard Medical School, Emory University, and the University of Washington in Seattle before being recruited back to Rochester and URMC in 1998. Berk was previously chairman of medicine (1999-2006) and chief of the cardiology unit (1998-2003) at the University of Rochester. In addition, he was director of the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute. Berk is a fellow of the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, and a member of the Association of American Physicians. Past president of the North American Vascular Biology Organization, Berk serves on the editorial boards of several publications. He is renowned for his research in the molecular biology and genetics of cardiovascular disease, and has published widely on the topic.

  • School of Medicine and Dentistry (for M.D. candidates), Friday, May 14: 4 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre

There are 94 candidates for Doctor of Medicine degrees.

The contributions to pediatric neurosurgery by Dr. Benjamin S. Carson Sr. have been acknowledged around the world. In 1987, he was the chief surgeon for the first operation to separate twins joined at the head and for several similar operations involving conjoined siblings. His work to help patients at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center have expanded into his very public efforts to recognize young people for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments, and to write about how to lead a successful life. His own struggle to realize his dream of becoming a doctor has inspired many people. Carson will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree and be the ceremony's commencement speaker.

Another honorary Doctor of Science recipient, Linda S. Birnbaum, is a noted toxicologist who oversees a multidisciplinary biomedical research program as director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program. For nearly 30 years, Birnbaum has worked as a federal scientist with her research focused on the pharmacokinetic behavior of environmental chemicals; mechanisms of actions of toxicants, including endocrine disruption; and the linking of real-world exposures to adverse health effects. She earned her bachelor's degree in biology at Rochester in 1967, and her master's and doctoral degrees in microbiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Arthur J. Moss, founder and former director of the Heart Research Follow-up Program at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, will receive the Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Medal for excellence and dedication for his research and clinical service spanning 50 years in Rochester. His discoveries have saved hundreds of thousands of lives and substantially improved the standard of care for people with heart disease. Moss started his fundamental research work as an advanced fellow of the American Heart Association (19621966) following his medical residency at Rochester. His research discoveries have included the study of mechanical and electrical risk factors in coronary heart disease, investigations into lipid and clotting factors that contribute to coronary disease, and studies of drug-induced ventricular repolarization and heart rhythm disorders.

  • Doctoral degree candidates (all University divisions), Saturday, May 15: 9:30 a.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre

There are 208 candidates for doctoral degrees (Ph.D., D.M.A., Ed.D., D.N.P.).

Young-Kee Kim, an experimental particle physicist whose research focuses on understanding the origin of mass for fundamental particles, has received several fellowships and was awarded the Ho-Am Science Prize in 2005 in recognition of her contributions to high-energy physics. In 2008, she received the South Korean government's medal for contributions to science and community.

She is a professor in the Department of Physics and the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago. Since July 2006, Kim has been deputy director of the country's only national lab dedicated to high energy physics, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), where she leads strategic plan development and implementation.

Standing before the audience of doctoral degree candidates, two faculty members will be honored for their dedication and skill at combining teaching and research for the benefits of their academic disciplines and their students. Richard Eisenberg, the Tracy H. Harris Professor of Chemistry, will be awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in Graduate Education, and Richard G. Niemi, the Don Alonzo Watson Professor of Political Science, will be presented with the William H. Riker University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching.

Eisenberg's research in inorganic and organometallic chemistry, photochemistry, and catalysis contributed to his election in April to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors that can be accorded to a scientist. Known for his collaborations and commitment to the international community of chemists, Eisenberg also holds a valued place in the minds and hearts of his students. "He strongly encourages hard work, new ideas, independence, and literature studies," wrote Mesfin Janka, who is now a senior chemist at Eastman Chemical Company. "I am a prime example of how Professor Eisenberg's very strong support and understanding of training minority scientists enables them to succeed."

As with Eisenberg, for decades Niemi has played a central role in the intellectual development of his students. Among his former students who recommended Niemi for the Riker teaching award was a recent Rochester graduate who is now an assistant professor at an Ivy League university, while another was mentored by Niemi many years ago. "Dick has always talked about collaboration as a way to learn, improve, and succeed," wrote Roman B. Hedges, a retired senior policy analyst in Albany. Hedges also knew the late William Riker, who helped establish Rochester's political science department in the 1960s as one of the leading centers of political science in the nation. "I am sure that Bill would be thrilled to think of Dick being a part of his (Bill's) success in graduate school education," said Hedges.

The doctoral ceremony also will include the presentation of the University Dean's Award for Meritorious Service in Ph.D. Defenses to four faculty members who have demonstrated their commitment to graduate education by serving as chairs of oral examination committees. They are: Govind P. Agrawal, professor of optics and of physics, and senior scientist at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics; Thomas DiPiero, professor of French and of visual and cultural studies, and senior associate dean of humanities; Denise C. Hocking, associate professor of pharmacology and physiology and of biomedical engineering; and Harold C. Smith, professor of biochemistry and of biophysics. The award acknowledges the important work of faculty members who accept this role and are appointed by the University Dean of Graduate Studies.

  • School of Medicine and Dentistry (for master's degree candidates), Saturday, May 15: 12:15 p.m., Kilbourn Hall, Eastman School of Music

There will be 109 master's degree candidates.

Stephen Dewhurst, chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, will deliver the commencement address at the ceremony. Dewhurst, who has been at the University since 1990, is a former senior associate dean for basic research. He has more than 20 years of experience as a molecular virologist, developing novel methods for the delivery of experimental HIV and herpes vaccines. He also is an accomplished mentor, having received the Graduate Student Society Faculty Teaching Award in 1996, the Graduate Alumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Education in 2001, and the William H. Riker University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching in 2008. He is a former director of the UR Post-Baccalaureate Research and Education Program (PREP), which provides training for under-represented minority students.

  • Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, Saturday, May 15: 2:30 p.m. in Strong Auditorium on the River Campus

There are 120 master's degree graduates and 40 candidates who have completed professional certificates.

Andrew Wall, assistant professor in the educational leadership program at the Warner School, will receive the G. Graydon Curtis '58 and Jane W. Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Nontenured Member of the Faculty at the Warner commencement. Since his appointment in 2006, Wall has pursued research on many projects, including an evaluation on college student health and learning, learning outcomes, state educational finance, and public trust in education. Wall's in-depth knowledge and expertise, creative teaching style, and intellectually engaging classroom discussions have made him a popular course instructor at Warner. He earned a doctorate in higher education policy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In celebrating the accomplishments of Warner graduates, the ceremony will include the reading of biographies for those receiving master's and doctoral degrees. Recipients of the Walter I. Garms Award for Educational Leadership, the Eleanore F. Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Harold Munson Counseling and Human Development Award, and the Tyll van Geel Award also will be announced. These special student awards are given to Warner graduates for their exceptional academic performance and commitment to education.

  • Eastman School of Music, Sunday, May 16: 11:15 a.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre

There are 101 bachelor's degree candidates and 99 master's degree candidates.

Clive Gillinson, executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall in New York, will deliver Eastman's commencement address and will receive Eastman's Luminary Award, which recognizes individuals who have given extraordinary service to music and the arts at the community and national levels. At Carnegie Hall since 2005, he has overseen the launch of new concert and education programming, including two citywide festivals of American music and international festivals of Chinese culture and contemporary Berlin. A cellist, Gillinson joined the London Symphony Orchestra in 1970. He became its managing director in 1984, overseeing the launch of innovative artistic festivals, a music education initiative, and other programs over the next two decades.

The Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Medal, the award for recognition of outstanding alumni achievement and service, will be awarded to Vincent Lenti, lecturer in piano at Eastman. Lenti earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at the Eastman School in 1960 and 1963, where he was a student of the noted Italian pianist and pedagogue Orazio Frugoni. He has been a member of the piano faculty since 1963 and directed Eastman's Community Education Division, now known as the Eastman Community Music School, for 26 years. In 2002, he was the recipient of Eastman's Eisenhart Award for Excellence in Teaching. As Eastman School historian, he has written the first two volumes of a three-volume history of the school.

  • William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, Sunday, June 13: 10 a.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre

There will be 445 master's degree candidates.

Robert J. Keegan, a 1972 MBA alumnus of the Simon School, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University and deliver the Simon commencement address. Keegan, who is chairman of the board and former chief executive officer and president of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, previously was president of the consumer imaging business and an executive vice president for Eastman Kodak Company during his extensive career at Kodak.

The school's Distinguished Alumnus Award will be given to Kenneth R. French, the Carl E. and Catherine M. Heidt Professor of Finance at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. A 1983 Simon alumnus with a doctorate in finance, French is an expert on the behavior of security prices and investment strategies. His recent research focuses on tests of asset pricing, the trade-off between risk and return in domestic and international financial markets, and the relation between capital structure and firm value.




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