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Citadel News Service
7 May 2011

The Citadel Graduate College honors outstanding graduates

At The Citadel Graduate College commencement exercises Saturday, May 7, 2011, in McAlister Field House, 336 degrees were conferred and awards were presented.  Charleston RiverDogs co-owner Gene Budig gave the commencement address and was presented an honorary doctorate of letters.

“We celebrate with the CGC graduates and their families for their hard work and exceptional achievement,” said Citadel President Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa.  “With their advanced degrees our CGC grads are equipped to move forward in their careers and assume leadership roles throughout the Lowcountry and beyond.”

The Citadel Graduate College began offering graduate degrees in education in 1968. Sixteen people were in the first graduating class in 1970. Today its offerings include 22 graduate degree programs, four evening undergraduate degree programs and seven graduate certificates. The graduate school has more than 8,000 alumni.

During the ceremony students were honored for outstanding leadership and academic achievements. 

The 2011 Citadel Graduate College Commencement Awards

Lindbergh Award
Michelle E. Crocker was presented with the Charles Lindbergh Award which is given annually to an undergraduate evening student in civil and environmental engineering for outstanding academic achievement, service to the engineering profession and to the community. The award honors Charles Lindbergh, Citadel class of 1958, who served as head of the civil engineering department from 1981 to 1993. 

Cocker has a 4.0 grade point average in all her course work, which earned her Gold Star and Dean’s List distinction for all the semesters at The Citadel. A member of the academic honor society of Tau Beta Pi, she successfully passed the Fundamental of Engineering examination that is part one of a two-part test to become a professional engineer.  In addition, she holds a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from the College of Charleston.

An outstanding leader, Cocker served as president of the Society of Women Engineers, secretary of the ASCE student chapter, and she was captain of the 2010 ASCE Carolinas’ Conference Environmental Engineering team which was awarded first place in the regional competition. 

MBA Awards
Michael Barth, an associate professor of finance in The Citadel School of Business Administration, was selected by a vote of MBA students the MBA Professor of the Year for 2011.

Before joining the faculty in 2007, Barth spent nine years in the Department of Finance and Quantitative Analysis at Georgia Southern University, including two years as the acting department chair. Prior to Georgia Southern, he spent five years as a Senior Research Associate with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners where he was the primary staff specialist on risk-based capital issues. His primary research interest is financial risk measurement and the evaluation of property-casualty insurers and regulatory policy issues in the insurance industry. He has been a program director for the Associate in Underwriting program of the American Institute for Chartered Property-Casualty Underwriters/ Insurance Information Institute and was a product manager with an auto insurance group. He received his Ph.D. in risk management and insurance from Georgia State University in 1993, and he also holds the Chartered Property-Casualty Underwriter professional designation.

The MBA Outstanding Student of the Year award was presented to Ashley Hodge.  Selected each year by faculty, the award is presented to a graduate student who has demonstrated an exceptional record of academic achievement and principled leadership within the MBA program. 

Hodge graduated from Ohio State University in 2007 with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and a cardiovascular perfusion.  A clinical perfusionist and instructor at the Medical University of South Carolina, Hodge is very involved in the College of Health Professions where she serves on the master’s planning committee, educational technology committee and admissions committee.  She also holds several committee positions in the American Society of Extracorporeal Technology. While obtaining her MBA, Hodge also worked to get five medical research manuscripts published in medical journals relating to heart surgery. Additionally, she has earned the Fellow of Pediatric Perfusion certification, a distinction that less than 20 percent of the perfusion community have. Hodge is a member of the MBA Association and the Mentor Association, and she was recently inducted into the Business Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma and the Honor Society Phi Kappa Phi.

Hirshey Awards
Courtney C. West, who received a master of education in literacy education today, and Edwin Todd Shealy, who received a master of arts in teaching in secondary English are the 2011 recipients of the Hirshey Award, which is presented annually by the School of Education

The award is named for Charles Hirshey who served as head of education from 1969 to 1979. Hirshey was a pioneer in graduate education for the Lowcountry and a founding member of the graduate college.

West received her undergraduate degree in secondary education and English from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. Over the past 11 years, her teaching career has taken her to Illinois, Louisiana and South Carolina where she has taught at the middle and high school level. In 2007, she achieved National Board Certification.  West has taught in the International Baccalaureate Programme as well as remedial high school English courses designed for those reading below grade level. It was West's work with struggling readers at the high school level and her belief in each student's ability to experience success that led her to complete her graduate degree in literacy.

Shealy holds bachelor degrees in English and business administration from Erskine College.  Before coming to The Citadel, Shealy was a non-profit executive, a camp director and a Peace Corps volunteer who served for four years as an English teacher and youth leader in Southeastern Europe and Central Asia.  While a student at The Citadel, Shealy worked as a writing and English-as-a -second-language tutor at the Academic Support Center and earned Master/Level III tutor certification.  He is a member of Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society. 

J. Patrick Leverett Award
Jason Deichelbor is this year’s recipient of the J. Patrick Leverett Award. The award, which honors Psychology Department Professor Pat Leverett who served as a faculty member for 10 years and who died tragically in a plane crash in Alaska in 2005, is presented to the outstanding graduate of the clinical counseling program. 

Deichelbor, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Charleston, enrolled in The Citadel Clinical Counseling program in 2008.  Throughout his Citadel career, he has impressed faculty with his open style and his clear interest in other people, a wonderful asset that he brings to his work as a counselor.  Deichelbor progressed through the counseling program quickly, earning an overall grade point average of 3.85. 

Aline M. Mahan Award
The Aline M. Mahan Award is presented to Fernanda DaSilva.  The award honors Dr. Aline Mahan, who became the college’s first full-time female professor when she came to The Citadel in August of 1974. 

A native of Colombia, South America, Fernanda DaSilva started her undergraduate work in Colombia before transferring to California State University in Fresno.  There, she earned her bachelor of arts degree in psychology, graduating magna cum laude.  DaSilva has continued her academic studies in School Psychology at The Citadel Graduate College where she discovered her niche in culturally and linguistically diverse issues. 

As a member of the Multicultural Affairs Committee for the National Association of School Psychologists, DaSilva has assisted with the translation and review process of the 2010 publication, Helping Children at Home and at School.  Currently, DaSilva is a school psychologist intern for Charleston County School District, where she conducts bilingual assessments for preschool through school-aged children regarding multicultural issues.



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Media Contact:
Jennifer Wallace
(843) 953-7842

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