Arnold School recognizes graduates, achievements

June 5, 2014


Dr. Tom Chandler, dean of the Arnold School,
welcomes Admiral Paul Gaffney, the featured
speaker for the 27th annual Hooding Ceremony.

(Editor's Note: Visit to view photographs from the 2014 Hooding Ceremony.)

"You are great, and you should feel great about yourself."

Admiral Paul Gaffney gave high praises to the Class of 2014 of the Arnold School of Public Health during the 27th annual Hooding Ceremony at the Koger Center.

Speaking to the approximate 170 doctoral and master's degree graduates, Gaffney said the class had gained a deeper technical skill, as well as the "ability to think critically about your field, able to argue your own point of view."

Gaffney, who served 35 years on active duty after graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968, spent the last years of his illustrious career of service as president of National Defense University and then was named president of Monmouth University.

He told the graduates that they carry a new responsibility to argue their own point of view "because you have elevated yourself to about that only a couple of percent of world population with advanced (post baccalaureate) degrees."

Calling them "new, credentialed leaders," Gaffney said that the graduates have a responsibility to speak out in their chosen field because many issues – from federal health insurance to climate warming claims and nutrition and food choices in public schools – "can be politically polarizing, emotional topics because of their 'too left' or 'too right' political biases."

Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of public health leaders "to steer the issues back to the center … you, new leaders should not avoid these debates … you are the hope for an informed body of health policies."

Dr. Tom Chandler, dean of the Arnold School, praised the graduates and their success, which comes at a time of growth and achievement for the school itself.

Research and extramural grants and funding over the past year are $31.7 million, and faculty have published more than 412 journal articles over the past year, he said.

Chandler presented two special awards during the Hooding Ceremony – the James A. Keith Excellence in Teaching Award and the Faculty Research Award.

Dr. Hiram McDade of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders was recipient of the Keith award, named for a former Arnold School faculty member and associate dean. The award recognizes a faculty member's genuine enthusiasm for the subject matter and true concern for students' progress.

Dr. Jim Thrasher of the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior received the research award, which was established in 1990 and recognizes a faculty member for outstanding contributions to research in health-related issues.

One of the highlights of the Hooding Ceremony was the presentation of alumni awards named in honor of the school's benefactors.  Brandon L. Jones is the recipient of the Gerry Sue Arnold Alumni Award for his outstanding contributions to the field of public health. Jones is the Chief Operations Officer at the Susquehanna Community Health & Dental Center Inc. in Williamsport, Penn. Dennis Shepard, who is retired from the Arnold School, also served as a deputy director of the Prevention Research Center. He received the Norman J. Arnold Medal.

The top awards for graduate student achievement also were given during the ceremony. Joseph Current of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics received the Jeffrey Keith Mattison award, which recognizes service, leadership, and personal initiative. The Doctoral Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Fred Tabung, also from the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

The Arnold School's six departments also presented during the Hooding Ceremony. Among the awards:

Communication Sciences and Disorders: Sarah Campbell, MSP; Debi Lambert, MCD;

Environmental Health Sciences: Timothy Stroud, master's degree; Krystal Ludwig Yozo, doctoral degree;

Epidemiology and Biostatistics: Nitin Shivappa (epidemiology): Meredith Ray (biostatistics);

Exercise Science: Bethany Maxfield, master's degree; Melissa Puppa, doctoral degree;

Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior: Ashley Crary, master's degree; Otis L. (Shaun) Owens, doctoral degree;

Health Services Policy and Management: Brian Alfonso, Abygail Wilson, the Suzie B. Yates Scholarship Award; Divy Sahaddev; Michael D. Jarrett Award, and Kirk Broome, Lauren Dennis, the Foster G. McGaw Awards.

During an awards dinner held the evening before the Hooding Ceremony, the Mu Chapter of Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health at the Arnold School inducted 20 new members. Election to membership in Delta Omega recognizes merit and encourages excellence in and devotion to public health work.

The Mu Chapter inductees included Arnold School faculty members Dr. Kenneth A. Apel, chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Dr. Edward A. Frongillo, chair of the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior. Graduating students were Violet Dawn Beets, Jordan Alan Brittingham, Casey Elizabeth Browder, Emily Catherine Heberlein, Natalie Ann Kerns, Otis L. (Shaun) Owens, Amanda Elizabeth Paluch, Myra Marie Robinson and Samantha Jean Warren.

Alumni inducted into Delta Omega were Alicia Lynette Best, William Michael Callaghan, Anna Lang Cass, Michael William Crowley, Brandon Lamar Jones, Gregory John Kirkner, Regina Dawn Lemmon, Shae Ross Sutton and Kathryn Emory Zenger.

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