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Hats off to the Warner School’s Class of 2022

Hats off to the Warner School's Class of 2022
Celebrating the "ever better" accomplishments of Warner Graduates 

The Warner School of Education and Human Development honored graduates during its 64th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14, in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. The Warner School ceremony marked the conferral of academic degrees for 278 graduate students, including 19 with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), 33 with a Doctor of Education (EdD), 175 with a Master of Science (MS) and 51 with an Advanced Certificate.

Commencement weekend (May 13-15) kicked off Friday morning with a University-wide ceremony, the largest commencement in decades, and continued into the afternoon with the doctoral ceremony. Warner School graduate Lorna Washington ’22W (EdD) was one of Friday’s speakers, representing the University’s graduate students. View her speech.

Members of the Warner School’s Class of 2022 then gathered at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre in downtown Rochester on Saturday with Warner faculty and staff, families and friends to celebrate the academic achievements of graduating students who crossed the stage in their caps and gowns to accept their Warner graduate degrees.

Commencement opened with welcoming remarks from Warner School interim dean Douglas Guiffrida, who praised the Class of 2022 for their accomplishments and their families and friends who helped them reach this milestone. 

“As you depart the University and start the next phase in your lives as professional counselors, educators, or administrators, this day should remind you how adaptable, creative and fierce you can be in pursuit of your goals,” Guiffrida shared. “Today, you transition from students to alumni of the University of Rochester, which means you are joining one of the most prestigious clubs in the country.  You came here with hope, potential, and enthusiasm to learn, and you leave with the credentials, skills and motivation to change the world.”

Each year, the Warner School ceremony features a rich tradition of celebrating each graduate attending commencement with a brief bio, read aloud during the ceremony, sharing each person’s background, academic achievements and career plans. Some Warner graduates were also honored at the ceremony for their exceptional academic performance and commitment to education.

Shaun Nelms, interim associate dean for graduate studies, recognized the following 10 Warner School graduates with special student awards:

The Mary Ellen Burris Human Development Award was presented to Paul Mokrzycki, who graduated with a master’s in human development with a specialization in research. Mokrzycki, a New York City native who also earned a bachelor’s degree in public health from the University of Rochester, works as a housing advocate in his hometown of Brooklyn. He plans to expand on his graduate focus by working on unsheltered homeless health and well-being issues. The award, given to graduate students who bring human development theory and research into practice, is named for Burris in recognition of her career at Wegmans, where she used her knowledge of human development to empower customers to live healthier lives. 

The Eleanore F. Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Sarah Gnage and Megan O’Hara, who completed the teaching & curriculum master's program. Gnage, a Rochester native who earned her bachelor's in biological sciences from Binghamton University, plans to teach living environment or chemistry in the Rochester City School District. O’Hara realized her true passion was teaching elementary education after earning a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and working in fashion. She hopes to return to New York City to teach in an elementary classroom, specializing in digitally rich teaching. The award, which recognizes graduate students whose commitment to teaching reflects Larson’s work, is named in honor of Larson, an extraordinary professor who taught both undergraduate and graduate students in the University of Rochester’s School of Education, where she inspired students to embrace a strong commitment to the education of children through her passion for instructional excellence.

The Harold Munson Counseling and Human Development Award was presented to Luis Andres Quesada Gonzalez and Ayumi Yuasa, who received master's degrees in counseling. Quesada Gonzalez was born in Costa Rica and has lived in several places, including Cincinnati, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Panama and Colombia. He received his bachelor’s in psychology from the University of South Florida and plans to pursue his doctorate in psychology. Yuasa rediscovered her passion for helping others and decided to pursue school counseling after working as an audio engineer. Her desire to help students figure out their passion only grew as she progressed through the Warner School, and she now hopes to work with high school students as they embark on post-graduation plans. The award, given to graduate students who reflect the mission and objectives of the Warner School counseling program, is named for Munson, professor emeritus, who initiated the school and community counseling programs at the University of Rochester’s School of Education and developed the programs’ high standards recognized by school districts and community agencies.

The Tyll van Geel Award was presented to Tokeya Graham, Ryan Messenger and Lorna Washington, who graduated with doctoral degrees in educational leadership. Graham, who grew up in Rochester, holds an associate's in human services, a bachelor's in English with a focus on creative writing, a master's in English and a certificate in equity and inclusion. She is a tenured English professor at Monroe Community College. Messenger, originally from Rochester, earned a bachelor’s in education from Roberts Wesleyan College and a master’s in history from SUNY Brockport. He is the ombudsman and assistant to the vice president of student services at Monroe Community College. Washington, a Rochester native who earned a master's in leadership in healthcare systems, health promotion, education & technology from the School of Nursing, is the senior program officer for the William & Sheila Konar Foundation. She hopes to teach a college-level course and continue positively impacting K-12 education in Rochester. The award, presented to doctoral students in educational leadership who demonstrate Professor van Geel’s commitment to thoughtful, ethical leadership and decision making, and rigorous application of scholarship to practice, is named for van Geel, professor emeritus, who is a renowned scholar of education law and applied ethical issues in education.

The Logan R. Hazen Award for Educational Leadership was presented to Jennie Gilardoni and Hannah O’Connor. Gilardoni, a Rochester native who has worked as an administrator at the University of Rochester for 9 years, received her bachelor’s in hotel and restaurant management from Niagara University. With her master's in educational administration with a specialization in higher education student affairs, she hopes to pursue a career focused on student inclusion, community and belonging. O’Connor entered her fifth year at the University of Rochester in 2021 after earning her bachelor's degree in political science. Originally from Long Island, she pursued her master's in education policy as a part of the Warner School's GRADE program and hopes to use her degree to create a more equitable and inclusive education system. The award, which recognizes graduate students who have achieved a high level of academic success and reflected Professor Hazen’s commitment to educational administration, is named for Logan, professor emeritus, who mentored a new generation of student affairs professionals at the Warner School, where he taught courses in higher education, served as the program director, established and supervised higher education internships, and advised students.

Class of 2022 capWith new degrees in hand, the Warner School Class of 2022 is ready to face the opportunities ahead in the next chapter. On behalf of the University of Rochester community, the Warner School congratulates its graduates and their families. Visit the Warner School’s Class of 2022 web page to learn more about our graduates and join in the celebration to help honor the Class of 2022.

Throughout commencement weekend, the Warner School used the hashtags #URWARNER2022 and #UR2022 on its social media platforms to celebrate festivities.

View photos from the May 13 University-wide ceremony for all students and the May 14 Warner School ceremony