Published April 24, 2014
UB faculty, staff and students gathered yesterday to recognize the outstanding scholarly, research and creative achievements of students at the annual Celebration of Student Academic Excellence.
The 10th annual event, held in the Center for the Arts, opened with poster presentations in the atrium and in the Black Box Theatre from more than 200 graduate and undergraduate students who explained the results of more than 160 research projects. The topics ranged from why athletes become sports legends, to silicon nanoparticles, to the reliability of capturing sleep diary data using wrist-worn electronic devices, to the effect of resistive respiratory muscle training on breathing.
Members of the student cast of the Department of Theatre and Dance’s upcoming production of “Les Miserables” offered a glimpse into the theatrical creative process. A performance of the song “One Day More” from the musical drama, which will open its two-weekend run today, was featured as part of the celebration ceremony.
In his opening remarks at the celebration ceremony, President Satish K. Tripathi said that one of his favorite aspects of the annual event was the opportunity to meet with students and talk to them about their scholarly and creative activity.
“That is really what this celebration of student academic excellence is all about: We’re celebrating not only the fruits of academic excellence, but the creative and intellectual process that led up to them,” Tripathi said.
Bringing an idea to fruition is “a long, complex, sometimes frustrating, yet immensely rewarding process,” he said, noting that it’s rarely a solitary process, but one that requires support, collaboration and input from fellow scholars and artists, as well as from faculty and staff mentors.
“So today we celebrate that process, we celebrate its outcome and we celebrate its impact on the world around us,” Tripathi said.
“Individually and collectively, the students we honor today embody our university’s mission as a public research university to make the world a better place through our ideas, our innovations and our engagement.”
Charles F. Zukoski, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, noted that members of the UB community seek academic excellence and strive to have the greatest impact in everything they do.
But in many ways, “academic excellence is more of a vision than a goal,” Zukoski said. “It’s something that always inspires us to be better and to seek new opportunities.”
At UB, academic excellence “means we seek to find and deliver inspiration, we seek to improve the human condition through our scholarship and engagement.”
“Academic excellence means we are serious and passionate about what we do. Today, we celebrate exceptional students who are serious and their accomplishments certainly inspire us all.”
Zukoski said pursuit of excellence often takes UB students beyond the classroom — into workplaces, research labs, cultural institutions, and into the community and around the world.
“When students participate in these experiential learning activities, they are able to apply their knowledge, test theories and refine their understanding and perspectives, and contribute to new knowledge, paradigms and solutions,” he said. “In short, they are able to realize how the knowledge they gained in the classroom is useful and applicable in the real world.”
The celebration ceremony, hosted by Tripathi and Zukoski, acknowledged students who were nominated for, or awarded various national, SUNY and UB awards.
Among the students honored at the ceremony were those receiving the following awards and scholarships:
Also recognized were the recipients of the President Emeritus and Mrs. Meyerson Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring, which honors outstanding faculty mentorship and seeks to encourage further faculty commitment to and participation in the undergraduate research and creative experience.
The recipients are Stephen Free, professor, Department of Biological Sciences; Rajendram Rajnarayanan, assistant professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology; and Beth Tauke, associate professor, Department of Architecture.
A full listing of award winners, finalists and nominees, as well as descriptions of the awards, can be found on the Celebration of Academic Excellence website.