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News Celebrating achievement

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College's annual event honors outstanding alumni, faculty, students

Recipients of the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Achievement Awards are (from left) Richard Schneider, Cynthia Jones, Ronald Kreis, Ellen Cannon and Susan Stroman, with George Watson, dean of the college.

The College of Arts and Sciences honored the accomplishments of alumni, faculty and students this academic year at its annual spring Celebrating Achievement and Success event on Wednesday, May 16.

Dean George Watson presented college awards to five alumni and four faculty members and also recognized CAS faculty members and students who previously received University awards this year.

"The honorees with me on stage reflect the remarkable achievements and success across the College of Arts and Sciences," Watson told the audience in the Roselle Center for the Arts. "Today, we recognize these individual honors and the ways our college as a whole continues to illuminate the minds and hearts of our students and community through academics, research and public engagement."

College Alumni Achievement Awards were presented to these recipients:

Ellen Cannon graduated in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in English and went on to hold numerous editorial leadership positions at magazines and websites and to launch a variety of publications, including Entertainment Weekly, a line of Bloomberg LP financial books and the Bloomberg website. Cannon has served on the CAS Advisory Council and the UD Alumni Association Board of Directors and has established an internship in journalism to allow UD students to gain real-world newsroom experience before graduation.

Cynthia E. Jones earned her bachelor's degree in criminal justice at UD in 1986 and her law degree with honors at the American University Washington College of Law in 1989. She began her career as a public defender and is now a professor at her law school alma mater, lecturing nationally and internationally on wrongful convictions, bail reform and eliminating racial disparities in the justice system. She has been actively engaged in planning and coordinating activities for UD students through the HenLaw affinity group.

​Dean George Watson welcomes the audience to the celebration, calling this "another banner year" for the college.

Ronald W. Kreis received his doctorate in physical chemistry at UD in 1969 and has since had a career of almost 50 years as an industrial chemist. He is the president and co-founder of Bimax Inc., a company of 85 employees with research labs and manufacturing facilities in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, whose products are used in more than 20 countries in applications such as soft-contact and interocular lenses. Kreis currently serves on the Board of Governors of the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates.

Richard W. Schneider is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy who later earned his doctorate in urban affairs at UD in 1986, while serving as executive officer of what was then the University's College of Marine Studies. Since 1992, he has been president of Norwich University, where he is one of the longest-serving college presidents in the country and has overseen growth and progress on multiple fronts. During his tenure, Norwich has doubled its undergraduate enrollment and established the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies.

Susan P. Stroman graduated in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in theatre and was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from UD in 2005. A five-time Tony Award-winning director and choreographer, Stroman has won acclaim for her work on The Producers and many other musicals, including The Scottsboro Boys and Oklahoma! She has received the George Abbott Award for Lifetime Achievement in the American Theater and is a member of the Theater Hall of Fame in New York City. Stroman has continued to give back to the University, most recently with a gift to help create a series that will support a visiting playwright to UD each semester, allowing students, faculty and the community to engage with the playwright and enabling CAS to further strengthen its arts program.

College faculty awards

The college honored four faculty members with awards for outstanding advising, teaching, scholarship and service.

​From left, College of Arts and Sciences Dean George Watson and the college's 2018 Faculty Excellence Award recipients, Martin Brueckner, Martha Carothers, Rebecca Davis and Jacqueline Fajardo.

Martha Carothers, professor of art and design, was presented the Excellence in Advising Award for having "devoted enormous time and effort to ensuring student success" in her role as her department's advising coordinator for the past 10 years, Watson said. Colleagues have described Carothers' advising style as personal, systematic and individualized to support each student's needs.

Jacqueline Fajardo, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, received this year's Excellence in Teaching Award. Her nomination received more than 30 letters of support from her peers, teaching assistants and students, who described her ability to make complex scientific concepts understandable even to first-year students while maintaining high academic standards.

Martin Brueckner, professor of English and associate director of the Center for Material Culture Studies, was honored with the Excellence in Scholarship Award in recognition of his work as a world-renowned expert in the field of early American cartographic and material culture studies. He has published in prestigious forums, and his first book, The Geographic Revolution in Early America, is considered foundational.

Rebecca Davis, associate professor of history, received the Excellence in Service Award for transforming the Department of History's graduate program by working with other departments and the African American Public Policy Initiative to increase minority recruitment and retention. Nominators described Davis as "a true leader who is willing to go the extra mile for others" in her efforts to address a lack of diversity among graduate students in the humanities.

University awards

Also at the Celebrating Achievement and Success event, Watson recognized Debra Hess Norris, the Unidel Henry Francis du Pont Chair in Fine Arts, who has been selected as the 2018 Francis Alison Faculty Award recipient, UD's highest competitive faculty honor, and Catherine Leimkuhler Grimes, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, who earlier this year received the Gerard J. Mangone Young Scholars Award. 

Other faculty members and students who previously received University awards were honored at the college event as well.

Those included two faculty members and two graduate students who were presented awards at this month's Faculty Senate meeting: Tania Roth, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences, received the University's Excellence in Advising Award, and McKay Jenkins, Cornelius A. Tilghman Professor of English, received an Excellence in Teaching Award. Doctoral students Hasan Eruslu, in mathematical sciences, and Onur Tosun, in physics and astronomy, received the Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching Award.

Watson also recognized five faculty members who were appointed to named professorships this academic year—Arwen Mohun, Cathy Matson and David Shearer, all effective in September, and Paul Quinn and Julian Yates in April—and Tiffany Gill, recently named the University's inaugural Cochran Scholar.

In addition, graduating senior Zachary Sexton, who previously received this year's Alexander J. Taylor Sr. Award from the UD Alumni Association as the outstanding man in the Class of 2018, was recognized at the celebration. Sexton will graduate with bachelor's degrees, both with honors, in public policy and in biomedical engineering.

Celebrating Achievement and Success

The College of Arts and Sciences holds its celebration each May to recognize the accomplishments of faculty and students during the academic year and to honor prominent and successful alumni.

Watson closed the program by thanking the college's faculty, staff and students for what he called "another banner year" of accomplishments. "You've made this a year in which we can all celebrate our success," he said.

The event began with a performance by Jacob Moore on bass and Daniel Townsend on piano. Both are students in the Department of Music.

A reception followed the celebration, to honor the award recipients and the college's 24 newly promoted faculty members.

Article by Ann Manser; photos by Kevin Quinlan and Andre Smith


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