Campus & Community

Harvard Extension School announces winners

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This year, the Harvard University Extension School’s Commencement Speaker award will go to Anthony Lorizio, A.L.B. ’01, whose speech is titled “Old Dogs Can and Do Learn New Tricks.”

In addition, the following Extension School students and faculty will receive special recognition during Commencement:

Dean’s Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. thesis

The Dean’s Prize for the outstanding A.L.M. (master of liberal arts) thesis recognizes work that embodies the highest level of imaginative scholarship. A prize is awarded in each of the four disciplines of the Extension School’s Master’s Degree Program.

The outstanding A.L.M. thesis in the behavioral sciences goes to Gregory B. O’Donohue, graduate in psychology. His thesis, “Out of Control Sexual Behavior: An Analysis of Various Authors Attempts to Operationalize a Construct,” synthesizes the range of diagnoses and descriptions applied to individuals whose sexual activity has been identified as problematic. O’Donohue proposes a model for conceptualizing this condition integrating behavioral, affective, and cognitive factors. O’Donohue’s director, Associate Professor of Psychiatry Scott Lukas, wrote, “What is particularly important about this work is that the conceptual framework on which it is based can be applied to a number of other areas. … The boldness with which Mr. O’Donohue challenges beliefs and practices that have been propagated for decades is fully justified by the strength of his analyses and conclusions.”

The outstanding A.L.M. thesis in the natural sciences is awarded to Kelly Heffernan for her work on “Macrolichen Abundance Distribution and Species Diversity.” This innovative research explores the edge effects in lichen communities. Asa Gray Professor of Systematic Botany Donald Pfister directed the work and praised it, saying “Her work really is one of the best I have seen – I would put it right up at the top among the theses I have advised … .”

The outstanding A.L.M. thesis in the social sciences goes to Nick Patler, graduate in government. Patler’s thesis, “The Protest of Federal Racial Segregation in the Wilson Administration, 1913-1914,” investigates the struggle of blacks and white sympathizers against the introduction of racial segregation into federal offices during the first two years of the Wilson administration. Making extensive use of primary and unpublished sources, Patler demonstrates that the protest campaign brought together into a coordinated movement, for the first time, various groups and individuals who previously had not agreed on methods for advancement of African-American rights. Patler’s thesis is now the definitive work on this significant historical event. On the recommendation of his thesis director, Winthrop Professor of History Stephan Thernstrom, Patler plans to pursue a doctorate in history.

The outstanding thesis in the humanities goes to Mark R. Sanford, concentrator in English and American literature and language. Directed by Michael Shinagel, Dean of Continuing Education and University Extension and senior lecturer on English, Sanford’s thesis is titled “Negotiating Daniel Defoe’s ‘Robinson Crusoe’: Authorship, Concinnity, and the Appropriation of Narrative in Luis Bunuel’s 1952 Adaptation.” A masterful study of the parallel forces that influenced Defoe to write the novel and Bunuel to be drawn to it as a subject for film, the thesis, notes Shinagel, “is a luminous depiction of Bunuel’s fidelity to Defoe’s vision, while simultaneously highlighting Bunuel’s distinctive and personal artistic uses of the cinematic form in his adaptation. It was a revelation to read this thesis.”

Santo J. Aurelio Prize

Santo Joseph Aurelio, A.L.B. ’83, A.L.M. ’85, received his first two degrees at the Harvard Extension School after age 50, and went on to earn a doctorate and enter a new profession, college teaching, after a career of more than 35 years as an official court stenographer for the Massachusetts Superior Court. The prize recognizes academic achievement and character for undergraduate degree recipients more than 50 years of age. This year’s recipient, Donna Jean Adams, A.L.B. ’01, cum laude, since 1956 enjoyed a rewarding career as a nurse. But in 1990, at the age of 54, she decided that while her professional nursing education was critical to her career, she wanted to learn more about philosophy, literature, and art. Eleven years later, at age 65, she graduates with a 3.68 grade point average (GPA) and a concentration in the humanities. Adams is retiring from nursing at the end of the month and plans to pursue a career as a motivational speaker.

Annamae and Allan R. Crite Prize

Established by the Harvard Extension School and the Harvard Extension Alumni Association in honor of Annamae Crite, who for more than a half century faithfully attended Extension courses, and her son, Allan R. Crite, A.B. in Extension Studies ’68, who is widely recognized as the dean of African-American artists in the Greater Boston area, these prizes are awarded to Extension School degree recipients who demonstrate “singular dedication to learning and the arts.”

The first Crite Prize goes to Daniel Hobin, concentrator in studio arts, film, and photography. Hobin’s thesis, “Conflict and Convergence: A Study of the Synthesis of Opposites in Jackson Pollock’s Art,” was directed by Harry A. Cooper, associate curator of Modern Art in the Harvard University Art Museums and lecturer on the history of art and architecture. Cooper praised the thesis as “a thoughtful and original contribution to the Jackson Pollock literature. It extends the Jungian school of interpretation beyond iconography to basic matters of pictorial organization, and it successfully locates the meanings thus discovered both in universal psychological themes and in the immediate social and intellectual milieu of postwar America.”

Hiroko Nagai, concentrator in fine arts, tied for the second-place Crite Prize. Co-directed by John Rosenfield, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Oriental Art, Emeritus, and curator of Oriental art in the Fogg Art Museum, and Elizabeth deSabato Swinton, director of collections and exhibitions and curator of Asian art in the Worcester Art Museum, the thesis is titled “The Creation of Picture Puzzles: The Maturity of the Art of Suzuki Harunobu and the Influence of His Patrons.” Both directors described the thesis as remarkably thorough in its exploration of Japanese and English source materials and in its depiction of the development of this 18th century artist. Swinton wrote, “Her discussion of Japanese aesthetic terms such as ‘mitate’ and ‘yatsushi,’ as well as her careful analysis of the sources and meanings of [Harunobu’s] prints are excellent. … Chapter IV, reworked, could be submitted for publication.”

Kevin W. Salemme, concentrator in studio arts, film, and photography, shares the second-place Crite Prize. Salemme is director of Media Services at Merrimack College and teaches part time in Fine Arts and Photography. His thesis, “Five Dyadic Structures Inherent in American Photographic Formalism,” was directed by Deborah Bright, professor of photography and art history at the Rhode Island School of Design, and visiting lecturer in photography in the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard. According to Bright, Salemme’s work is “a signficant study and one which has brought new rigor and clarity to the study of American photographic aesthetics. … In an age when we are relying increasingly on visual information through the mass media and Internet, learning how to interpret and understand critically what photographs show us is more important than ever.”

Reginald H. Phelps Prize

The Reginald H. Phelps Prize Fund was established by Edgar Grossman, A.B. in Extension Studies ’66, founder and first president of the Extension Alumni Association and the first Extension representative to the Associated Harvard Alumni, for prizes for Extension baccalaureate degree recipients. The prizes are in honor of Reginald H. Phelps, A.B. ’30, A.M. ’33, Ph.D. ’47, director of University Extension at Harvard from 1949 to 1975, and are awarded annually on the basis of “academic achievement and character” to outstanding graduating students receiving bachelor’s degrees in Extension Studies.

The first-place Phelps Prize is awarded to John Wichers, A.L.B. cum laude, who is graduating at the top of his class with a 3.97 GPA. After completing two years of full-time study at Dartmouth College, he left to begin a career in the computer science field. While successful in this field, Wichers decided to return to academia in 1994 to complete his undergraduate education for his own sense of accomplishment and life-long learning. For the past seven years, he has worked full time, skated competitively as an inline racer, and completed a field of study in computer science as well as courses in religion, music, French, and writing.

Helen Mary Elizabeth Gillis, A.L.B., cum laude, is the second Phelps Prize-winner with a 3.94 GPA. In 1985, Gillis began her academic career at a local community college where she earned honor’s grades. A colleague, mentor, and Extension School alum steered her to the Extension School program in 1996, where her longtime love of literature blossomed into a field of study and career goal. Gillis plans to parlay her love of literature into a full-time English as a second language teaching position.

The recipient of the third Phelps Prize, Erika Jane Wolf, A.L.B., cum laude, has a 3.90 GPA. Since earning her high school diploma in 1994, she has been working as a professional ballet dancer. Although Wolf loved dancing, she began to feel that dancing alone was not enough to make her happy. Born into a family of academics – her father was a Harvard professor – she decided to pursue course work at Harvard Extension in 1997. Wolf discovered a love of psychology and developed a specific research interest on the relationship between proactivity and Lou Gehrig’s disease progression. She will apply to Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology next year.

Thomas Small Prize

Thomas Small was born in Lithuania, came to the United States in 1900, and earned a bachelor in business administration degree from Boston University in 1918. He retired from business in 1965 and that year enrolled in the Harvard Extension School. In 1983, at age 89, he received his A.L.M. degree, thereby becoming the oldest earned graduate degree recipient in the history of Harvard University. The Thomas Small Prize was established by his family and friends to honor this achievement by awarding prizes in his name. This prize is awarded annually on the basis of “academic achievement and character” to outstanding recipients of the A.L.M. degree in Extension Studies.

The Thomas Small Prize co-winner for 2001 is Eric Bornstein, concentrator in fine arts, who graduates with a perfect 4.0 average. His thesis, “Reading the Language of the Mask: The Signs and Symbols of Selected Kyogen and Commedia dell’Arte Masks,” was directed by Monni Adams, associate of African ethnology in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Adams commended the thesis “for its adventurous topic, energetic documentary research, intriguing visual analysis and insightful results.” Bornstein is an instructor of art, yoga, and martial arts, as well as director of Behind-the-Masks Theater, whose designs have been used by First Night Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Children’s Museum.

The other Thomas Small Prize co-winner for 2001 is Evangelos D. Karvounis, graduate in government, who also has a perfect 4.0 GPA. Karvounis’ thesis, “Cyprus: Is Consociational Federalism a Viable Settlement?” examines the ethnic, political, and economic dimensions of the Cyprus conflict and formulates an innovative strategy for its resolution. Karvounis founded Medoil, an oil-trading and tanker-transportation company, which had as its main focus delivering oil to developing countries. As president of the company, he traveled extensively in Africa, the Far East, and Latin America before selling the company in 1994 and becoming the lead columnist for the National Herald, a New York-based, Greek-language newspaper with a daily circulation of 30,000.

The Phyllis Strimling Award

Presented for the first time in 2001, this award is named in honor of Phyllis Strimling, director of the Radcliffe Seminars, whose responsibilities included the coordination of Radcliffe’s former Management Program. The Phyllis Strimling Award recognizes the character and achievement of a certificate of special studies (C.S.S.) graduate who has used or is preparing to use the C.S.S. experience for the advancement of women and society, and who has grown personally and professionally as a result.

Elizabeth Greenleaf has pursued a career featuring social responsibility. Since 1993, she has worked or interned in government and nonprofit agencies, many of which have dealt with preserving the environment. In 1998, after graduating from Smith College, Greenleaf entered the profit sector as an investment specialist at Charles Schwab & Co. She became the driving force behind the company’s national Women Investing Now (WIN) program, which teaches women the skills to take control of their financial lives. Her course work in the CSS program, which she began in 1999, was instrumental in assisting her in the creation of WIN.

Judith Wood Memorial Prize

The Judith Wood Memorial Prize honors students who, while completing courses at the Harvard Extension School, face the challenges of a disability. Awarded from an income fund established by the family and friends of the late Judith Wood who, though born with cystic fibrosis, and beset with diabetes and blindness, took Extension School courses as long as she was able, and inspired many other students with her courage and fortitude. The Wood Prize honors those who travel a singularly difficult pathway in an academic setting. This year’s recipient, Linda Marucci, earned her associate of arts degree from the Extension School in 1987. She recently resumed her studies and is pursing a bachelor of liberal arts degree with a concentration in social sciences. Marucci faces the daily challenges of albinism and vision loss with strength and optimism. She is raising two children and works as a psychiatric triage counselor in a local mental health facility.

Katie Y.F. Yang Prize

Ana Gilligan, a graduate of the C.S.S. in administration and management at the Extension School, has been awarded the 2001 Katie Y.F. Yang Prize. Named for a 1990 graduate of the C.S.S. program, this prize is awarded annually to the international graduate of the program with the most outstanding academic record. Gilligan, a native of Argentina, is currently working in New York as a senior consultant for Latin America for the international public relations firm Hill and Knowlton.

The Carmen S. Bonanno Award

Established in 1990 by the family of Carmen S. Bonanno, who studied foreign language at Harvard Extension School many years ago, this award recognizes excellence in foreign language instruction.

As a professor, researcher, dictionary writer, and novelist, Ubaldo DiBenedetto is a person of many talents. He began teaching in Harvard Extension School in 1980, and since then his courses on Italian language, culture, and literature have attracted a loyal following. One student in his course on the Italian Renaissance this semester commented, “Dr. DiBenedetto’s composite knowledge of syntax, world culture, philosophy, literature, and art are phenomenal.”

James E. Conway Excellence in Teaching Writing Award

Thomas R. Jehn is the recipient of the James E. Conway Excellence in Teaching Writing Award, which was established in 1991. Jehn is a head preceptor in the expository writing program at Harvard College. He has taught Expository Writing at Extension since 1997; last fall, he became director of Extension’s Writing Center. His students consistently praise him for his patience and enthusiasm, his commitment and dedication. As one student put it in a recent course evaluation: “Tom Jehn is a phenomenal instructor.”

JoAnne Fussa Distinguished Teaching Award

This year’s recipient of the JoAnne Fussa Distinguished Teaching Award, which recognizes exceptional teaching in C.S.S. in administration and management program, is Frank White, who has been teaching C.S.S. E-520, Development Communications, in the C.S.S. program since 1995. According to student comments on his exceptionally high evaluations, his teaching is clear, organized, informative, interactive, and humane. White currently serves as deputy director of Communications for Alumni Affairs and Development (AA&D) at Harvard. A social studies concentrator at Harvard College, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and attended Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship.

Petra T. Shattuck Excellence in Teaching Award

Established by the Harvard Extension School in memory of Petra T. Shattuck, a distinguished and dedicated teacher in the program, who died of a cerebral hemorrhage in the spring of 1988, these prizes are awarded annually to honor outstanding teaching in the Extension program. This year, the three recipients are William L. Fash, David M. Schur, and Nadine Weidman.

The Bowditch Professor of Central American and Mexican Archaeology and Ethnology, William L. Fash, Ph.D., started teaching Mesoamerican Civilizations in the Harvard Extension School in 1995. His students praise him for his enthusiasm and passion. One student commented, “You can see that he loves what he teaches, so he makes you love the class too.”

Students call David M. Schur, Ph.D., teaching assistant in philosophy, a “phenomenal instructor” and describe his writing-intensive courses as “perfect examples of the power of lifelong education.” Schur has been teaching Philosophy and Literature and Existentialism at the Extension School for six years.

Nadine Weidman, Ph.D., teaching assistant in the history of science, began teaching the graduate research methods proseminar in 1997. This year she also taught Evolution and Society. Students rank her as “one of the best instructors” in their academic careers, and advise: “The more instructors the Extension School has like Dr. Weidman, the better it will be.”

Dean’s Distinguished Service Award

The Dean’s Distinguished Service Award is bestowed occasionally by Dean Michael Shinagel on behalf of the Extension School to a distinguished teacher with a long record of service. This year’s honoree is L. Dodge Fernald, assistant dean of the A.L.M. program and senior lecturer on psychology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS).

In addition to directing the A.L.M. program since its inception in 1980, Fernald has been teaching in the Division of Continuing Education (DCE) for 25 years, during which time more than 5,000 students enrolled in his psychology courses in the Summer and Extension Schools. In 1986, he received the Petra T. Shattuck Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Extension School.

At the end of this academic year, Fernald is retiring from his decanal role in the Extension School, but, happily, he will continue to teach as a senior lecturer both in FAS and in DCE.