Warner Celebrates Nearly 200 Graduates During 2016 Commencement

New Student Award Announced in Honor of Alumna Mary Ellen Burris ‘68W

commencementThe Warner School of Education held its annual commencement ceremony on May 14 in Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theatre. Nearly 200 students marked educational milestones this year as they received their graduate degrees.
The ceremony began at 3 p.m. with welcoming remarks from University Trustee G. Robert Witmer, Jr. ‘59. Other remarks were given by University of Rochester President and CEO Joel Seligman and Warner School Dean Raffaella Borasi.
At the 2016 commencement ceremony, Associate Dean Brian Brent introduced a new student award for the School’s human development program. The award, he announced, was named in honor of alumna Mary Ellen Burris ‘68W (EdM), a graduate of the human development program (formerly known as educational psychology) and senior vice president of consumer affairs at Wegmans Food Markets.  
Mary Ellen BurrisA respected figure in the Rochester community, Burris has used her knowledge of human development to find creative ways to empower millions of Wegmans shoppers to live healthier lives. Serving as the voice for Wegmans patrons, she has turned her attention to some of the most pressing concerns of consumers across communities, including the obesity epidemic, food safety, and rising food prices. With her passion for modeling care and respect, empowering people to make life-sustaining choices, and making a difference across all communities, Burris embodies the School’s goals for students in human development. It is in her spirit that the Mary Ellen Burris Award has been created to recognize a graduate in human development who is devoted to bringing human development theory and research into practice to foster the health and well-being of individuals, schools, and communities.
Rochester native Abigail Deacon was the first recipient of the Mary Ellen Burris Human Development Award.  Deacon, who spends her professional life learning from and engaging with the community, worked with the Rochester Center for Community Leadership while completing her master’s in human development and has inspired a similar spark of service and engagement among students. 
Other Warner graduates were honored at the ceremony for their exceptional academic performance and commitment to education. The graduates and the awards they received were:
The Walter I. Garms Award for Educational Leadership was presented to Tempe Noelle Newson and Stephanie Hannah Saran. The Garms Award is named in honor of Walter Garms, professor emeritus and former dean of the University of Rochester’s School of Education, who was a leader in the study of both school finance and state funding in public schools. The Garms Award recognizes graduate students who show academic excellence and potential for excellence in educational leadership.
Newson, from N.J., earned her bachelor’s in psychology from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, where she has worked in student affairs and development. She will use her Warner degree to inform her current work as assistant director of annual giving.
Saran, from Chadds Ford, Pa., earned a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Rochester before pursuing her master’s in educational policy. She is excited to secure a job that combines her interests in public policy and social justice.
The Eleanore F. Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Samantha Elise Twohig Barrett and Emma Brennan Brinkman. The Larson Award is named in honor of Eleanore F. Larson, an extraordinary professor who taught both undergraduate and graduate students in the University of Rochester’s School of Education. Larson’s passion for instructional excellence inspired her students to embrace a strong commitment to the education of children. The Larson Award recognizes graduate students whose commitment to teaching reflects Larson’s work.
Barrett is the head coach for modified rowing in Pittsford and has worked as a literacy specialist for Horizons at Warner. With a master’s and certifications in inclusion and literacy, she will continue helping urban youth to develop their literacy skills.
Brinkman, a Rochester City School graduate, earned her bachelor’s in human rights from Bard College. She turned to teaching after starting an organic farm, and is now eager to combine her passion for social justice, language, and culture as an ESOL teacher.
The Tyll van Geel Award was presented to Anthony Stephen Cook III and Kimberly A. Harvey. The award is named for Tyll van Geel, professor emeritus, who is a renowned scholar of education law and applied ethical issues in education. Professor van Geel was instrumental in designing the educational leadership program at the Warner School. The Tyll van Geel Award is 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.
Cook is devoted to Catholic education. As Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Rochester, he plans to use the concepts developed in his dissertation to increase enrollment in area Catholic schools.  

Harvey is the executive director of retention and student success at Gannon University in Erie, Pa., having previously worked in student affairs for 10 years at Geneseo.  Her work on bystander intervention programs and transfer student initiatives is nationally recognized. 

The Harold Munson Counseling and Human Development Award was presented to Shadae Chanel Ivey and Allyn Justin Turner. The award is named for Harold 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 Munson Award is given to graduate students who reflect the mission and objectives of the Warner School counseling program.
Working at a camp for seven years influenced Ivey’s decision to study psychology at Elmira College. That experience led her to Warner’s school counseling program.  She will use her degree to advocate for students and prepare them for a successful future.
Turner studied electrical engineering as an undergraduate and is receiving his second degree from the University of Rochester: a master’s in community mental health counseling. He attributes his success to the support and guidance of God, his wife, family and friends.
Commencement PhotoFollowing the presentation of student awards, graduates were recognized and degrees were conferred as they made their way across stage one-by-one to accept their graduate degrees. A highlight of the ceremony was the reading of biographies of the graduating students—a tradition that began years ago.
The University of Rochester used the hashtag #UR2016 on its Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram platforms throughout the event to celebrate festivities. Select photos, videos, and social media collections are featured on the University’s Commencement 2016 web page. 
On behalf of the University of Rochester community, the Warner School congratulates its graduates and their families. View photos from the 2016 Warner School commencement ceremony HERE or visit: https://warner.smugmug.com/Commencement/Commencement-2016/.
Media Contact: Theresa Danylak
585.275.0777; 585.278.6273 (cell)

Tags: Commencement