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College Notebook: Courtney Woods Receives Prestigious Award, Tewksbury Seniors Graduate

Jun 13, 2015 11:14AM ● By Kieran Gilman
(Editor's Note: The following information was submitted by the colleges listed below.)

Tewksbury Resident Courtney Woods Receives Crown and Shield Award

 Courtney Woods of Tewksbury, MA, a senior at Assumption College, was honored on May 16 with the College's prestigious Crown and Shield Award. This award recognizes students who have distinguished themselves throughout their four years at Assumption in the areas of leadership and service.

The recipients of these awards have protected (shield) and furthered (crown) the interests of the student body and Assumption College in various areas of leadership and community service. They were nominated by faculty, staff and administration.

"Each year, Assumption students selflessly give of their time and talent in service to the College and the surrounding Worcester community. Through these service endeavors, they develop leadership skills and refine skills learned in the classroom," said President Cesareo. "The students receiving the Crown and Shield Awards have been leaders who have engaged their talents among their peers on campus, among those they have encountered through the service organizations that they have led, and through the personal achievements they have accomplished by surpassing the challenges they have encountered through hard work, dedication, and perseverance."

Local Residents Receive Degrees at 147th WPI Commencement

The largest graduating class in WPI's history, 1,680 students, received their degrees beneath a large, billowing tent that shielded graduates and well-wishers from the sun that occasionally peeked from behind generally cloudy skies. In all, the Institute awarded 956 bachelor's degrees, 682 master's degrees, and 42 PhDs during its 147th Commencement exercises.

The following local residents recently graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI):
  • Jonathan Grasman of Tewksbury, Mass., was awarded a doctor of philosophy degree in biomedical engineering.
  • Andrea Caprio of Tewksbury, Mass., was awarded a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering with high distinction.
  • Rachel Gerhart of Tewksbury, Mass., was awarded a master of science degree in civil engineering.
Thousands gathered to hear messages delivered by WPI President Laurie A. Leshin; Class of 2015 speaker Roman Gutierrez, and keynote speaker Bernard A. Harris Jr., M.D., an astronaut who became the first African American to walk in space, and who went on to become the founder and president of the Harris Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to "empower individuals, in particular minorities and others who are economically and/or socially disadvantaged, to recognize their potential and pursue their dreams."
Honorary degrees were conferred upon Dr. Harris; Ellen S. Dunlap, president of the American Antiquarian Society, and Judith Nitsch '75, founding principal of Nitsch Engineering and WPI trustee emerita.

The Chairman's Exemplary Faculty Prize was presented to Kathi Fisler, PhD, professor of computer science and director of the WPI Cybersecurity Program. The prize, established in 2007 through the personal philanthropy of Donald K. Peterson '71, former chair of the WPI Board of Trustees, recognizes faculty members who excel in all relevant areas of faculty performance.

In her remarks, Leshin told the graduates, "Each of you - every young woman and young man in front of me - has the capacity, the knowledge, and the opportunity to make an impact."
Leshin also advised them, " ... don't only see the opportunities ahead, but see the responsibilities, as well. In other words, leverage what you've achieved here not just to do well, but to do good. Use your degree to make us proud."

 Ashani Samuels Named to the Dean's List at Mercer University

 Ashani Samuels, of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, a senior, was named to the Dean's List of Mercer University's School of Engineering for the spring 2015 semester. Inclusion on this list requires students to meet rigorous grade-point-average standards specific to the college or school within the University.

Local Students Named to Mount Ida College Dean's List

The following students at Mount Ida College in Newton, Massachusetts were named to the Dean's List for for achieving a GPA of 3.33 or higher in the Spring 2015 semester:
  • Stephanie Champoux of Tewksbury (01876)
  • Samantha Laferriere of Tewksbury (01876)

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