This year’s Yellowjacket Weekend began with the Convocation ceremony on Friday, Sept. 5 at noon in Dandelion Square. Since its inception in 1997, a total of 78 Goergen Awards that commemorate UR faculty and staff have been handed out.

The first type of award, given out for Distinguished Achievement and Artistry in Undergraduate Teaching, was presented to three professors representing the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. Other awards included the Goergen Award for Curricular Achievement in Undergraduate Education and the Goergen Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Learning.

The event began with opening remarks from UR President Joel Seligman, followed by Chairman of the Board of Trustees Edmund Hajim. Hajim discussed Yellowjacket Weekend and the history of the awards and their recipients.

‘It’s fun,” Hajim said. ‘It’s a way to learn and it contributes to the involvement and vitality of campus.”

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Richard Feldman introduced each award recipient.

Professor of Mathematics Fred Cohen received the Goergen Award for Distinguished Achievement and Artistry in Undergraduate Teaching. Cohen is involved in research pertaining mainly to topology, but also including subjects such as classical homotopy theory, brain groups and cohomology of groups. Cohen thanked his students when he received the award.

‘Having good students is interesting, fun and a real privilege,” he said.

Professor of Anthropology Robert Foster is the Mercer Brugler Distinguished Teaching Professor. He has written four books and has published numerous articles. Foster is currently working on research in several topics, including globalization, nationalism and mass media. In his acceptance speech, Foster expressed his gratitude to his students, as well.

‘This is not something I can do myself,” Foster said. ‘Gifts require active recipients.”
Professor of English James Longenbach received the praise and admiration of his students. Longenbach teaches courses in American poetry, British and American modernism, James Joyce, Shakespeare and creative writing. Longenbach is the Joseph Henry Gilmore Professor of English. He has been the Students’ Association Professor of the Year twice and has written several books of poetry, his most recent being ‘Draft of a Letter.”

Artistic Director of the International Theatre Program Nigel Maister was awarded for his curricular achievement since he became a director in 2002. The program includes courses in acting, directing, stage management, technical theater and playwriting. In addition, international theater professionals often come to UR to help train students in the program.

The Goergen Award for Distinguished Contributions went to Associate Director of Athletics and Recreation Jane Possee, whom Feldman noted for her 33 years on staff. She has served as coach for many women’s varsity teams, including basketball, field hockey and lacrosse. Possee is in charge of running the Robert B. Goergen Athletic Center and all of the programs sponsored by the Department of Athletics and Recreation.
Finally, Students’ Association President Eric Sansky spoke, encouraging students to become more involved on campus, to fill Fauver Stadium, to pack the Palestra and to explore the Eastman School of Music.

Robert B. Goergen also received the Charles Force and Marjorie Force Hutchison Medal, the University’s highest alumni award, on Friday, in recognition of his outstanding career achievements and his service to the University.

Other Yellowjacket Weekend events included live music by Spill Canvas, sports events, movies, carnival games and a performance by Zach Galifianakis. Comedian B.J. Novak was the planned entertainment for Saturday night but had to be replaced at the last minute due to illness.

‘Zach has actually been on our list of comedians for a few years, so we already had his contact information and knew a little about him,” Campus Activities Board Administrative Chairperson and junior Theresa Roberts said. ‘We were very fortunate, however, that he wasn’t already booked and was willing to come on such short notice.”

Wilson Quad was filled with excitement on Saturday as students swarmed toward the games, rides and free T-shirts and gathered to listen to Spill Canvas.

‘CAB definitely considers this Yellowjacket Weekend to be a success,” Roberts said. ‘We had what seemed like an endless line for people wanting T-shirts, people riding the rides… and people watching the band for the full show. It was a great turnout.”

Handis is a member of the class of 2009.

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