As the noon bell tolled last Friday, the ceremony officially ushering in the 2002-2003 academic year got underway on Dandelion Square. The 153rd College Convocation, was, as Convocation traditionally is, a time to honor faculty members and prepare the university community for another year committed to education. Originally planned for two weeks earlier, the event was moved to Sept. 20 to accommodate the schedule of Board of Trustees Chairman Robert B. Goergen.

“Universities like to celebrate beginnings,” UR President Thomas Jackson said as he opened the ceremony.

“Convocation is designed as an occasion at the beginning of each year where we re-evaluate our values and goals.”

Honors awarded

The Goergen Awards have honored faculty and departments of the university that have made outstanding contributions to UR since 1997. Named for Robert Goergen and his wife, Pamela, who made a $10.5 million gift to the university in 1995, the awards include $5,000 prizes to each faculty recipient as well as up to $30,000 supplementing the budget of a winning department. Dean of The College William Scott Green presented the honors.

The first recipient of the Goergen Award for Distinguished Achievement and Artistry in Undergraduate Teaching this year was Douglas R. Brooks, Professor of Religion and Classics. “[Brooks] imparts not only knowledge, but an insatiable thirst for it,” Green said as he presented the distinction.

“I teach because I love to think aloud ? I teach the subject, but I know no other way than to teach the person,” Brooks said in his speech. “Never has there been a truism more true than that my students are my teachers.”

Patrick Davies, Associate Professor of Clinical and Social Psychology also received a Goergen award for his teaching method and courses described by Green as “models of educational thinking.”

Introduced as a “pedagogical pioneer,” Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Diane Dalecki was another award winner.

Friday’s final recipient of the award was Thomas Eickbush, Professor of Biology, who played a leading role in the development of UR’s introductory course sequence in biology.

The recipients of the Goergen Award for Curricular Achievement in Undergraduate Education were the College Workshops Program and the English department.

The Workshops Program, one of UR’s unique academic initiatives began as a program of the chemistry department. It has since been expanded and implemented in many courses of diverse subjects. Program Director Vicky Ross accepted the award, explaining the program as “a way of thinking where we can understand each other.”

The Goergen Awards for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Learning were given to Samuel Nelson, Assistant Professor of English, and to George VanderZwaag, Director of Athletics and Recreation.

Nelson’s award was the result of his hard work coaching the debate team to the number one ranking in the nation last year while VanderZwaag was praised for his leadership as the athletics department continues to gain in quality and distinction. “While highly unusual for an athletic director to receive this award, it is highly reassuring to our department,” VanderZwaag said.

Concluding Remarks

Senior and SA President Lonny Mallach gave the afternoon’s closing speech which centered around a chief goal of the UR community ? the pursuit of excellence. “Excellence is something we all strive for in many walks of life,” Mallach said. “Let us remember to pursue excellence.”

As the ceremony came to a close with the singing of “The Genesee,” by the Midnight Ramblers, Vocal Point and the Yellowjackets, attendees made their way to the picnic tent where hundreds of students were already waiting in line for a catered meal.

Severs can be reached at asevers@campustimes.org.



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