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Citadel News Service
30 Apr 2006

New CGPS graduation award memorializes late professor

The Citadel's College of Graduate and Professional Studies honored several students for academic achievement during commencement Sunday, April 30 and presented the first J. Patrick Leverett Award in honor of the late psychology professor.

CGPS presented 17 evening undergraduate and 212 graduate degrees this spring. William E. Jenkinson, chairman of The Citadel Board of Visitors, delivered the commencement address in McAlister Field House. Jenkinson said CGPS is an important part of the college family.

"You go about your business quietly. You don't wear uniforms. You don't march. You don't salute and you don't yell," he said. "But what you are doing, though it does not attract nearly the public attention that cadets receive, is every bit as important in our college's vision of excellence in the education of principled leaders. Because you are demonstrating to our cadets and others that education never ends and that developing the mind is a lifelong endeavor."

Each year CGPS recognizes outstanding students and professors. New this year is the J. Patrick Leverett Award, which will be presented annually to an outstanding graduate of the Department of Psychology's master's degree program in clinical counseling.

This award honors Professor Pat Leverett for his contributions to The Citadel as a faculty member in the Department of Psychology for 10 years. Leverett died last summer in an Alaskan plane crash in Alaska.

"Kind, compassionate, and dedicated, Pat Leverett was a skilled clinician, a gifted teacher, a beloved colleague, and a devoted mentor," said department head Steve Nida. "Dr. Leverett was respected for the professionalism he brought to his work, which set a standard for his peers and served as a model for his students."

Receiving the first award in his honor is Melissa Mitchell-Blitch of Charleston.

A graduate of the College of Charleston, Mitchell-Blitch entered the clinical counseling program because of her interest in helping people who have unhealthy relationships with money. In addition to her program coursework, she conducted research on compulsive shoppers, and she has facilitated the start of a local chapter of Spenders Anonymous, a 12-step support group for those unable to control their spending. Her work has garnered local media attention.

A clinical counselor with the Charleston Center, Mitchell-Blitch is working toward state counseling licensure, as well as specialized credentialing within the addictions field.

The Psychology Department also annually presents the Aline Mahan Award in honor of the first female professor at The Citadel and a driving force behind the creation of the college's psychology program. The award recognizes outstanding scholarship, technical skill and community service.

Kathleen Beebe of Charleston is this year's recipient. A graduate of St. Joseph's College in Brooklyn, N.Y., she is currently completing her internship in Charleston County's District 23. Her master's thesis ("Utilizing Curriculum-Based Measurement as a Tool for Predicting Performance on the Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test") was recently published in School Psych Scene, the publication of the South Carolina School Psychology Association, and this same research will be presented this summer at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in New Orleans.

The Hirshey Award is given annually by the School of Education in honor of Dr. Charles Hirshey who served as head of education from 1969 to 1979. Hirshey was a pioneer in graduate education in the Lowcountry and a founding member of CGPS.

Tina Marie Ferguson of Cottageville and Jacob B. Tuttle of Summerville are this year's recipients.

Ferguson earned a master's degree in counselor education with certification in elementary school counseling. A school counselor, she has been actively involved in various leadership positions and affiliations while remaining dedicated to academic excellence as a graduate student. She is a member of Alpha Tau Chi chapter of Chi Sigma Iota Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society and Phi Kappa Phi.

As president of The Citadel's Graduate School Counseling Association (GSCA), she is credited with strengthening the camaraderie among graduate school counseling students and facilitating communications between students, faculty, staff, and administrators. She was one of four students selected to serve as a member of The Citadel's CACREP (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs) Accreditation Leadership Team during the CACREP on-site visit to The Citadel in spring 2005

Tuttle earned a Master of Education in Secondary and has served as a teacher at Drayton Hall Middle School for two years where he taught 8th grade science and for four years as a teacher of biology at Garrett Academy of Technology in the Charleston County School District. He is currently involved in the Principals for Tomorrow program with the Charleston County School District, serves as s member of Garrett Academy's School Improvement Council, and is a member of the CCSD Coherent Curriculum Committee.

Founded in 1966 as the co-educational Evening College, the College of Graduate and Professional Studies offers 22 graduate programs and three undergraduate programs. Today, CGPS has more than 6,000 alumni and about 2,000 students enrolled in its programs.

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