2019 UB Graduate School of Education – Commencement – PART 3 of 3


– It is our long tradition in the Graduate School of Education that our doctoral
graduates join on the stage with the faculty as
colleagues in the profession. So, I’m going to ask
the doctorate graduates to move your tassels
from the right to left. Congratulations and well done!
(applause) Will the doctoral graduates
please take your seats. It is now my privilege to introduce my dear friend Satish Tripathi, President of the University at Buffalo. (clapping) – From time to time, the
University at Buffalo President has the honor of presenting
the UB President’s Medal in recognition of
individuals who have expended truly extraordinary effort
on behalf of our university and the communities we serve. Created in 1990, this medal is
presented in recognition of, in the words of the
original medal description, “outstanding scholarly
or artistic achievement, “humanitarian acts, contributions
of time or treasure, “exemplary leadership, or
any other major contribution “to the development of
the University at Buffalo “and the quality of life
in the UB community, “in the Buffalo community.” It is my honor to have the opportunity to recognize one such individual at this year’s Graduate School
of Education commencement. Would Dr. Amanda Nickerson
please join me at the podium? (clapping) A fellow of the American
Psychological Association, Professor Amanda Nickerson
has brought great prominence to the University at Buffalo
through her scholarly pursuits and academic excellence. She is a nationally recognized expert on school crisis
intervention and prevention, with a focus on violence and bullying. In particular, Dr. Nickerson examines the role of schools, parents, and peers in preventing violence and enhancing the social-emotional strength of children. As the first director of UB’s Alberti Center for
Bullying Abuse Prevention, Professor Nickerson has helped elevate the university’s national leadership in this area by providing her informed expertise and
consultation on bullying, school violence, and
their effect on students. A prolific and internationally
recognized scholar, Dr. Nickerson is the author of five books and nearly 100 journal
articles and book chapters. She has received numerous
honors for her work, including the Presidential Award from the National Association
of School Psychologists, and UB’s Exceptional Scholar
Sustained Achievement Award. In high demand for her
scholarly expertise, Dr. Nickerson has delivered
hundred of presentations to educators and mental
health professionals, nationally and internationally. Dedicated to serving her field, she is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of School Psychology and the School Psychology Review, and she has served as the associate editor of the Journal of School Violence. Our university and our community has been greatly enriched
by her scholarship, teaching, and service. It is now my great pleasure to recognize her many contributions to UB with one of the highest honors bestowed by our own university community, the UB President’s Medal, which I’m proud to present
to Dr. Amanda Nickerson. (applause) – Thank you. Thank you so much for this
incredibly humbling honor. It’s truly unexpected. In fact, when I received the call that President Tripathi
wanted to speak to me, my mind raced to think of anything I could have done to
have gotten in trouble. (laughter) So I was stunned to learn
that I was being awarded with the President’s Medal. I’m so grateful to President Tripathi, Provost Zukoski, and
their leadership team, including our Graduate School of Education Dean Rosenblith, for really making UB a premier, research-intensive
public university dedicated not only to academic excellence, but really making an impact
locally and globally. I’m also indebted to Dr. Jean Alberti, the alumna whose vision and generosity created the Alberti Center
for Bullying Abuse Prevention, which she proudly refers to as her psychological legacy. Every day, I work alongside talented and hardworking faculty,
graduate students, staff, and community members who conduct research and
translate it into practice to make a difference in the lives of children, families,
schools, and communities. Thank you for all you do, and please know that I view this award as a reflection of all of our collective efforts. I also want to thank my family. My parents, who made the
12 hour drive from Maine, ’cause there’s no way they would miss the opportunity to celebrate
this accomplishment. (clapping) So even if you think
you’re an independent, mature, and competent professional, your family will always look at you and see that little
person that they nurtured and supported, and then
that slightly bigger person that maybe they cajoled, nagged, and worried about, all to help
reach your fullest potential. To my husband Brian,
whose love and support mean everything to me, who is by me every step of the way. And our sons, Ethan and
Alex, who inspire me and keep it real about what it’s like to be a youth in the world today. Or a young adult, in the case of Ethan, who just finished up year one at UB. (applause) Today is not about me. It’s about you, the amazing
graduates and your supporters. Your hard work and dedication
have brought you here. Let it sink in: you did it! After you relax and celebrate, which should be mandatory, take your knowledge and skills to make a difference in
your chosen discipline. Never forget the important lessons you’ve been taught, not just here at UB, but in all your years of education. So, bear with me; some of my favorites go on back even to kindergarten. Play fair. Don’t hit people.
(laughter) Clean up your own mess. And when you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold
hands, and stick together. I still think our world
would be a better place if even adults did these things. Follow your path, work
hard, do what you love, learn from your mistakes,
respect all people, especially those with less power than you. And by doing so, you’re destined to leave the world a better place than when you entered. Thank you so much. (clapping) – Congratulations. At this time, I would like to introduce Ms. Renee Mapp, Senior
Education Specialist from the Jacobs School of
Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Program Coordinator for
Biomedical STEP programs; and a current doctoral student in the Department of Educational
Leadership and Policy. I would also like to
introduce my dear friend Dr. Bonnie Durand, the
wife of our late colleague Dr. Henry Durand, Clinical
Associate Professor from the Department of
Educational Leadership and Policy. (clapping) – Good morning and
congratulations, graduates. There’s no way that we could give a true representation of
all that Dr. Henry Durand has done in mere minutes. However, we hope this video
paints a broad enough picture that gives a strong glimpse of who he was and what he meant to us. What he did for this university, from EOP, Cora P. Maloney College, the
many courses that he taught, and most importantly,
the thousands of lives that he made a positive
difference in academically, including myself, as a
mentor and as an example of how to get things done. If you met him, you’d never forget him. A teacher who loved to teach. There are so many scholars and graduates who have Dr. Henry Durand to thank for where we stand today because he showed us that we belong here. Dr. Bonita Durand, thank
you and your family for sharing him with us
throughout the years. – There are not enough words, at least not enough words with meaning, that really capture who he was. – I see Henry as someone who
was driven by two core beliefs. He really believed in
the power of education to transform lives, and he also believed that every student had
the ability to learn, regardless of the challenges
that student faced. And he was able to convey that belief to everybody he interacted with. – Henry was born in Georgia in 1948, but moved to Cincinnati,
Ohio, as a toddler. He attended Cincinnati public schools where he was an excellent
student and a standout athlete. – His footprint in GSE
has everything to do with helping our students
of color succeed. He saw in them what he saw in himself, and he wanted to make sure
that they could succeed here at UB in ways that they
might not have otherwise. – The things that we talked about, the concepts, the rigor of the course, the way that he pushed me intellectually to really challenge my thinking and challenge my assumptions and to really become a better researcher. It really prompted me to
want to know more about him. – His academic achievements
and athletic talent earned him a scholarship
to Dennison University. Because of his football talent and his ability to make meaningful
connections with people, all people, Henry was elected the first black captain of the otherwise all-white Dennison football team. – Every time I think that
I’m facing a lot of obstacles here at the University of
Buffalo because of my background, my limited English at the
time, all these, you know, being a first generation college student. He always gave me that sense of, there was a way to get through it. – In 1990, Henry was selected to become the Director of the Educational
Opportunity Program at UB. In his 24 years with EOP, he held progressively more advanced positions, ending with the position of Senior Associate Vice
Provost of Academic Affairs and the Executive Director of the Cora P. Maloney College at UB. – He would tell anybody that he felt like teaching and tutoring
and supporting students who were talented, had the talent, but maybe had a disadvantage
socially or economically. He always thought that
was his life’s purpose. And he called it his ministry. – I have many, many classmates who were beneficiaries of the work that my father did, and
when we were in high school, I was their friend, their colleague, when we got to college, and they realized that my dad was Dr. Durand. That meant something. – I came to know Dr. Henry Durand only weeks after being appointed Vice Provost for Inclusive
Excellence at UB. Henry sent word to me that the resolution to adopt the new curriculum would have about zero possibility of passing if it did not at least require UB students to have one diversity learning course before they graduated. And Henry, through his courage, was able to enshrine in our curriculum a very important requirement
in preparing our students. – Dr. Durand retired from
his UB administrative career in 2014, to become a full-time Clinical Associate Professor in GSE. – He would work evenings at a Burger King at Main and Bailey, and a lot of times students knew he would be there, so they might drop by and ask questions, or you know, hang out for a little bit. When that Burger King closed down, he moved his base of operation to the McDonald’s on
Niagara Falls Boulevard. – He might have seemed a little gruff, just a hair, but when you got to know him, he really, really had a heart. A heart for sharing and
getting you to the next level. – He wanted to make sure
that we were supported, and that he knew that we would finish. And watching us finish,
he always celebrated each and every one of us who graduated. – Henry was there for his students. And he made a deep and
lasting impact on them. He led the kind of life
that we as educators, information scientists, counselors, and administrators
should aspire to achieve. (clapping) – Dear Henry, you will be missed. May you rest in eternal peace. At this time, I would like to introduce Dr. John McKenna, President
of the Graduate School of Education Alumni Association. Dr. McKenna. (clapping) – Thank you Dr. Barba. On behalf of myself and the
Graduate School of Education Alumni Association, we
want to congratulate you on this truly outstanding accomplishment. What a wonderful day this truly is. You now join a family of
approximately 20,000 alumni who span across the globe. The theme of my message
to you today is simple: Stay connected. Stay connected to this great university. There’s so many benefits in doing so. Being a GSE alumnus is
a prestigious honor. A degree from UB is
recognized around the world and our alumni are accomplished leaders locally, nationally, and internationally. One of our distinguished alumni is New York State Commissioner
of Education MaryEllen Elia. She came here a few weeks ago to speak to the GSE Alumni Association
about the current state of State in education and
answered our questions about new initiatives and
programs in New York state. This is an example of the
high quality programming our alumni get. And you do not getter
better alumni programs in any school, any place. Staying connected with the GSE will keep you on the cutting edge of current research and
practices in education. It also keeps you informed of exclusive educational opportunities
available to our alumni. Because of my connection with UB, I’ve been able to participate
in national grants, bringing valuable resources
and professional development to my school that we
wouldn’t have had without it. I also learned about
the Confucius Institute and was able to partner with them to bring a Chinese educator to my school to teach my students Mandarin
and about Chinese culture. An amazing opportunity for my students. These are only a few of the examples of the many opportunities available to those who stay connected here with UB. I don’t have enough time to tell you all the things that you could do with this university as you move forward. Had I not stayed connected,
my students and staff would never have had those
enriching experiences. And that’s the reason we came here, to UB. We want to be the best
educators we can be. We want to make a positive difference in the lives of our students. We wanna be an asset to our colleagues and to our profession. Staying connected greatly enhances your ability to attain those goals and bring wonderful
things to your students and to the schools and
areas that you work in. Staying connected is also fun. UB offers so many fun
and exciting activities, such as sporting events,
theater performances, musical shows, and concerts. We do a lot of things. Our next alumni event will be a slow roll on July 29th at Silo City,
and I cordially invite all of you to come out
and join us at that event. You’ll be getting an email from us soon. Just wear some UB blue and come on out and enjoy the evening with us. I’m confident the time you’ve spent here has made you a better educator. I also know that if you stay connected, the possibilities are endless of what you can accomplish. I encourage all the Master’s students to pursue doctoral studies. If I can do it, you can do it. (laughter) But most importantly
I encourage all of you to take the knowledge you have learned and help your students,
help your colleagues, and make this world a better place. You’re now equipped with
the power of your education to change the world, so use it wisely. We congratulate you again on
this outstanding achievement. We look forward to seeing
you at alumni events; we look forward to
seeing the amazing things that you are going to
accomplish in the future. And we know that you are going to make this world a better place. Thank you very much. (clapping) – Thank you. At this time in the ceremony, we would like to show our UB pride by singing the institution’s Alma Mater. I invite everyone who can to
please stand and sing along. The words and the music are on page 15 in the commencement program booklet. (piano music) ♪ The pride of our spirit and tradition ♪ ♪ Our alma mater’s
truth and name declare ♪ ♪ Celebrate our history and wisdom ♪ ♪ O let us all prepare to sing her glory ♪ ♪ To Buffalo all hail to thee ♪ ♪ Noble and strong it’s our university ♪ ♪ To blue and white pledge loyalty ♪ ♪ Singing, I will always remember thee ♪ (applause) – As we conclude this
commencement ceremony, we would like to pay special tribute to all those who have helped make this day possible for our graduates. Therefore, would all
of the wives, husbands, partners, children, mothers, fathers, relatives, and friends
of the Class of 2018-2019 please stand so that the graduates may show their appreciation. (applause) – We’re getting close. (laughter) Immediately following this
commencement ceremony, Dean Rosenblith and the faculty from GSE invite all of you to a reception in the Atrium outside these doors. I will now call upon Professor Fabiano to close the ceremony and ask all of you in the audience to remain seated until the academic procession has left the auditorium. Professor Fabiano. – Thank you. I declare this 2019 commencement of the University at Buffalo to be officially concluded. (applause) (Triumphal March)

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