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Class of 2013 celebrates achievements at College Convocation ceremonies

by The College of Education / May 30, 2013

The College of Education at Illinois held its convocation ceremony on Sunday, May 12, 2013, to celebrate and mark the magnificent academic milestones of 496 graduates. Graduates of on-campus, online, and off-campus degree and certificate programs were recognized for their accomplishments before standing to shift their mortar board tassels from right to left, signifying the completion of their education.

"We selected you because we had great confidence that you not only would meet our academic expectations but also would use what we taught you for the betterment of others," Dean Mary Kalantzis said when addressing the graduates. "You are a talented group of thinkers, creators, and collaborators and I commend you on a job well done as you finish a grand chapter of your lives and prepare to start a new one."

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Education Alumna honored with Alumni Association Humanitarian Award

Dr. Christie Gilson, Ph.D. '08 SpEd, was recognized as the recipient of the University of Illinois Alumni Association 2013 Humanitarian Award. This award is presented each year to one graduate of the University in recognition of volunteer leadership or service which improves the lives of others and enriches the welfare of humanity.

In being selected for the prestigious award, Dr. Gilson was honored for her outstanding work as a global advocate for individuals with disabilities, having achieved a rare level of international expertise early in her academic career. A 2006 Fulbright Scholar and faculty member at Moravian College in Pennsylvania, Dr. Gilson maintains a passion for higher education and the welfare of the world and has used her knowledge to improve educational and workplace opportunities for people with disabilities across the globe. Last year, she was appointed by President Obama to a three-year term on the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Inaugural Dean's Medallion given to benefactors

Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Goldstick were also honored as the inaugural recipients of the Dean’s Medallion. The Dean’s Medallion recognizes exceptional individuals who support and bring distinction to the College in a profound way.

More than a decade ago, Phillip Goldstick and Beverly Kramer Goldstick recognized the need for a sustainable training and research program in the area of communication disorders in children and young adults. Acting on their desire to help children and their families in this tangible way, Mr. and Mrs. Goldstick generously endowed this initiative in the Department of Special Education.

Each year, along with a public lecture on research in communication disorders, this effort continues to provide new methods and practices to help families and teachers ensure that children, regardless of their disability, have the opportunity to live as independently as possible in their home, neighborhood, and community.

Outstanding Student Medal winners address their classmates

Each year, three students are honored as Outstanding Student Medal winners and they address their class during the ceremony. The Education Alumni Association awards a doctoral candidate, a master’s student, and a bachelor's student each year. This year's winners were Natasha Jankowski, Lisa Patrick, and Abbey Storey. Medal recipients must possess a superior level of scholarship within their department or program; demonstrate service to the department, college, university, and community; and provide leadership in the field of education.

Natasha Jankowski received her Ph.D. in higher education in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership. Dr. Jankowski serves as the assistant director for the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment which is headquartered at the College of Education. She has presented at numerous national conferences and written various reports for NILOA, and her main research interests include assessment and evaluation, organizational evidence use, and evidence-based storytelling. 

Lisa Patrick earned a master’s degree in the online Diversity and Equity program in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership. She serves as the operations manager for Adult Education and Community Services for Boston Public Schools. Their mission is to provide a variety of high quality educational services to parents, children, employees, and other Boston residents to develop their educational status, political status, economic status, and lives. 

Abbey Storey was awarded a bachelor's degree from the Department of Special Education. She plans to teach special education in the western suburbs of Chicago. In 2011 she pursued a paraprofessional license to become a teaching assistant so that she could continue to work in classrooms in the summers in order to perfect her teaching skills. 

James Scholars and Bronze Tablet Scholars recognized

The College recognized its 35 James Scholar graduates, acknowledging their talents as outstanding students. The program provides students with unique learning opportunities to enrich their educational experience.

Lastly, Bronze Tablet scholars were also recognized. Those students, whose names will be inscribed on the University's Bronze Tablets, held at least a 3.5 cumulative grade point average through the academic term prior to graduation and ranked in the top three percent of students in their graduating class. The College of Education's Bronze Tablet honorees were Mark Brown, Elizabeth Curtin, Pamela Hochwert, Rachel King, Margaret Miller, and Marian Stauder.

Professors deliver addresses at other university ceremonies

Two faculty members from the College of Education shared their wisdom and insight with graduates when they spoke at commencement ceremonies the same weekend. James Anderson, executive associate dean, Gutgsell Professor, and head of the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, was invited to address graduates during ceremonies for Howard University's College of Education. Dorothy Espelage, professor of Educational Psychology, was asked to share her reflections during the Psychology Department's convocation at her alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University.