UB's Graduate School of Education to Honor Robert Gioia, Brenda McDuffie at Its Commencement

Release Date: May 10, 2012 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo's Graduate School of Education will confer degrees for graduates, and honor two community leaders and a prominent faculty member at this year's commencement, to be held at 9 a.m. Friday, May 11, at the Center for the Arts on UB's North Campus.

The ceremony will recognize 225 graduates -- including 36 doctoral students -- who have completed a program in the Graduate School of Education, which has earned praise from professional educators and whose professors who have consistently won national and international recognition for their research.

Conferring the degrees will be Satish K. Tripathi, UB's 15th president, and GSE Dean Mary H. Gresham. The ceremony also will give special recognition to the following award winners chosen from the Western New York community:

Dean's Service Award: Robert Gioia, president of the John R. Oishei Foundation since 2007. Gioia oversees the yearly distribution of approximately $15 million to organizations providing services in education, arts and culture, health and health research, human services and community development. Through his efforts, the foundation has been fulfilling its mission to enhance economic vitality and the quality of life for our region. During his 40-year career, Gioia has been an integral part of the community. He began his career as a part of the third generation operating the Gioia Macaroni Company and during that time he has helped positively shape the lives of people in Western New York.

James C. Hansen Humanitarian Award: Brenda McDuffie, president and CEO of the Buffalo Urban League since 1998. Under McDuffie's leadership, the Buffalo Urban League has been recognized as one of Western New York's leading human service and economic empowerment organizations. Its mission: to ensure that minorities and disadvantaged individuals have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Throughout her 40-year career, McDuffie has been a force for positive change in the community. Her efforts have led to family ties and community bonds being strengthened in Western New York. The resulting impact has been an increase in educational and economic opportunities for those in need throughout the region.

GSE Distinguished Alumni Award: Douglas Clements, SUNY Distinguished Professor in GSE's Department of Learning and Instruction. During his 24 years as a UB faculty member, Clements has been a prolific scholar, publishing more than 125 refereed journal articles, 18 books, 70 chapters and 275 additional publications, as well as securing more than $23 million in grant funding for UB. Clements' grant-funded research, which focuses on improving math learning for underrepresented children, is receiving national attention. He was a member of former President Bush's National Math Advisory Panel, charged to advise the president and the secretary of education on ways to implement effective math education. Clements received his doctoral degree in elementary education from UB in 1983.

The Dean's Service Award recognizes exceptional contributions to the educational community of Western New York. The James C. Hansen Humanitarian Award, created to honor the late UB professor who was a leader in community service, recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to public service, thus improving and enriching communities.

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