It was hot in Savannah Auditorium during the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Tea on April 22, but mostly that reflected the sizable number of students who were on hand with family and friends to have their academic success acknowledged and celebrated.
The auditorium was packed with COAS’ best and brightest, and university faculty didn’t let the stuffy conditions prevent them from lavishing their accomplished undergraduates with justified praise -- although many of them couldn’t help but comment humorously on the temperature, as well.
“I think placing us under these lights worked, because I’ve cut my remarks in half,” joked IU Northwest Alumni Director Paulette LaFata-Johnson, who spoke to the graduating students about alumni association membership. “I do want to congratulate all of you, both parents and students that are here, because you exemplify what hard work and determination can produce.”
Professor of Political Science Jean Poulard, Ph.D., put his own unmistakable spin on the proceedings.
“I need a drink,” Poulard announced before handing out political science awards with Assistant Professor of Political Science Marie Eisenstein, Ph.D. “Now you are witnessing some of the best students on this campus, who have decided to major with the queen of the social sciences, political science. And this year we are really blessed … with quite a few first-rate political science majors.”
More than one department announced that it had granted to multiple students awards that typically are reserved for a single winner. That was the case in the Department of Biology, which named four students – Joshua Garza, Brian Genovesi, Daniel Grabarek, and Marisa Kendra – as Outstanding Junior for 2007-08. The lone Outstanding Senior was Kathy Kwiatkowski.
“We normally give Outstanding Junior and Outstanding Senior awards to just one person, the top person in that class,” said department chair and Associate Professor of Biology Spencer Cortwright, Ph.D. “But this year there were four juniors who were all so elevated and of the same stature that we couldn’t just give it to one. So we gave it to all four of them.”
Many honorees on Tuesday received books or bookstore certificates along with their awards. Department of Sociology chair and Professor of Sociology Charles Gallmeier, Ph.D., explained that strategy.
“They will be receiving certificates, but each one will also receive a book, which I especially picked out for them,” Gallmeier said as he presented students Monica Hunter and Jacquelyn Cherry with their Outstanding Students in Sociology awards. “The object is to keep them reading.”
Not every student who was honored was able to attend the April 22 ceremony. Even so, each honoree’s name was read and applauded.
“We’d also like to make mention of a graduating senior of ours who could not be here today, Mr. Maxwell Roberts,” said Eisenstein. “He is a very bright young man who made the decision that he wanted to serve our country in the U.S. military and deployed to Iraq in January. So we still want to give mention to Mr. Roberts.”
Faculty members also were honored during the event. Assistant Professor of Philosophy Anja Matwijkiw, Ph.D., received the COAS Dean’s Award for Distinction in Research and Creativity. Senior Lecturer Jon Becker was awarded the COAS Dean’s Award for Distinction in Service.
“We have wonderful faculty here, and they are behind you,” COAS Dean Dorothy Ige told the student honorees. She referred to the extensive committee work undertaken by many IU Northwest faculty members, in addition to their class loads and research obligations.
“There are many, many committees that the faculty serve on,” Ige said. “They don’t have to serve on that many committees. Some are on 12 or 15 committees, because they love what they do. They believe in it, they love their disciplines, and, most of all, they love you.”
Ige herself also received a loud round of applause at the program’s conclusion for her years of service as dean of arts and sciences. Ige, who is a professor of communication, will return to teaching this year.
In offering his congratulations to the top COAS students of 2007-08, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Kwesi Aggrey also acknowledged the support and assistance those students have received from others in their lives.
“It is indeed an honor and a privilege for all of us to be here with students who have distinguished themselves in their fields of study,” Aggrey said. “As we honor and congratulate each and every student for their hard work, and as we recognize excellence within the academy, let us also acknowledge the faculty, staff, family, and friends who have been there for us.”
At the ceremony’s conclusion, Ige called to the stage all COAS students who had been selected to appear in this year’s edition of “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.”
Those students included: Maritza Alcantar; Anastasia Baiel; Michelle Carns; Rohini Chatterjee; Nicholas Dres; Kathryn Eyermann; Reem Farooq; Daniel Franz; Joshua Garza; Brian Genovesi; LaKisha Girder; Daniel Grabarek; Jaclyn Hac; Kristen Hasselgren; Faizan Hussain; Dolishela Ingram; Marisa Kendra; Kathy Kwiatkowski; Joseph Marciniak; Addison Melo; Thanzeela Mohideen; Gjon Nikkolaj; Lynette Radoe; Sean Roth; Lauren Schara; Aditya Shah; Farheen Sultana; Julia Trachtenberg; Rebecca Turpin; James Wesolowski; and Patricia Wisniewski.