Photo of student award winners with dean Rob Muller

Kayla Paul, Catherine Smith, and Stephanie Garcia with Dean Gilmore.

On May 17, 2015, the Mandel School celebrated the graduation of 143 students in the MSSA program, including eight dual degrees (four of which received an MSSA/MNO degree), the first three graduates from our Online MSSA program, and three students in the doctoral program.

“Congratulations to all of the graduates and your families. I am so proud of you and the commitment you have made to serve others and build strong communities,” said Dean Grover C. Gilmore, who presided over Commencement.
Honored for their contributions to the Mandel School and the community were:
  • Irene Sogg Gross Service Award: Catherine R. Smith (awarded to a student chosen by peers in recognition of outstanding interest and accomplishments in the areas of humanitarian service
  • The John A. Yankey Student Community Service Award: Stephanie Garcia (presented to a graduate who has actively engaged as a volunteer in one or more successful community service activities or projects while at the Mandel School
  • Dean’s Award for Outstanding Student Achievement: Kayla Paul (presented to a graduate whom the faculty feel exhibits academic achievement, exceptional service to the school, and exemplary performance in field education
  • Outstanding Field Instructor Award: Cailen Hazzard
  • The John A. Yankey Outstanding Teacher Award: David B. Miller, PhD (Full Time) and Jeffrey Janata, PhD (Adjunct)
Alumni Marcia Levine was the Commencement speaker, noting “our world needs the skills and perspectives of social workers more than ever. We need professionals who can listen thoughtfully, make sense out of what people need and are longing for, and then actually do things that solve problems.” The graduate student speakers were Marquetese “Nikki” Betts and Rachel Wilkens Truelsch. Nikki encouraged her fellow graduates to “remain committed, remain connected, and most importantly remain humble.” Rachel asked her fellow graduates to make compassion a priority in finding and executing happiness. “In the words of the Dalai Lama, ‘if you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.’ “
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