Sunshine Greets Graduates at Recognition Ceremony

After rain that drove University Commencement indoors on Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, May 17, broke with sunshine and a cool breeze, ideal weather for the College of Engineering’s Recognition Ceremony. Held in the grotto with Corr Hall as the backdrop, the ceremony recognized the College’s 196 graduating seniors, 70 Master of Science degree graduates, and six PhD recipients.

Dean Gary A. Gabriele presents ECE Instructor Edward Char with the College’s inaugural Teaching Award.
Dean Gary A. Gabriele presents ECE Instructor Edward Char with the College’s inaugural Teaching Award.

Faculty Awards

After a procession of students and faculty, accompanied by the traditional bagpipes, Gary A. Gabriele, PhD, Drosdick Endowed Dean of Engineering, offered a warm welcome to the graduates’ families and friends. James A. Harris ’14 CpE, runner-up for the student Commencement speech, offered the morning’s invocation, after which two faculty awards were presented. Garrett Clayton, PhD, assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering, received the Farrell Award, which recognizes an engineering faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary personal concern for students.  Instructor Edward Char of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department won the College’s inaugural Teaching Award, which was established in 2014 to recognize innovation in the classroom, excellent student learning outcomes, and advancement in the field of engineering education. During the Commencement ceremony the previous day, Vito Punzi, PhD, professor of Chemical Engineering, was awarded the University’s Lawrence C. Gallen, O.S.A. Faculty Service Award, which recognizes a faculty member who has, over many years, contributed outstanding service to the Villanova University community.  

Parham I. Ghorbanian (far left) received the College’s Outstanding Doctoral Student Award.
Parham I. Ghorbanian (far left) received the College’s Outstanding Doctoral Student Award.

Doctoral Degrees

The College’s recognition of graduates began with those who earned a Doctorate of Philosophy. This year, six students were hooded at Commencement, having completed dissertations on topics ranging from biosolids management systems and biomass feedstocks, to wheeled mobile robots and metal matrix heat sinks. Parham I. Ghorbanian was the 2014 recipient of the College of Engineering Outstanding Doctoral Student Award. Advised by Professor Hashem Asharfiuon, PhD, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ghorbanian’s dissertation was titled “Non-Stationary Time Series Analysis and Stochastic Modeling of EEG and its Applications to Alzheimer’s Disease.”

The College graduated 70 Master of Science degree recipients.
The College graduated 70 Master of Science degree recipients.

Master of Science

Seventy Master of Science degree students were recognized by their individual programs: Chemical and Biochemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, Mechanical, Sustainable, and Water Resources and Environmental Engineering. Each department presented an outstanding graduate student award based on academics, research and leadership. The number of MS graduates and award winners in each department were as follows:

  • Chemical Engineering and Biochemical Engineering (13): Colleen E. Clark
  • Civil Engineering and Water Resources and Environmental Engineering (21): Vanvi Trieu
  • Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering (12): Elie Bou Daher
  • Mechanical Engineering (15): Rebecca M. Weigand
  • Sustainable Engineering (9): Janique Cheesman

Rebecca M. Weigand also was awarded the College of Engineering Outstanding Graduate Student Medallion for distinction in academics and research, as well as exemplary service and leadership.

Gregory M. Campbell, ME, was presented with the College’s top undergraduate honor, the Robert D. Lynch award.
Gregory M. Campbell, ME, was presented with the College’s top undergraduate honor, the Robert D. Lynch award.

Bachelor of Science

Randy Weinstein, PhD, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, presented the class of 2014 Bachelor’s degree recipients, and identified those graduating with honors. In addition to recognizing each student, the department chairs awarded a medallion to an outstanding undergraduate selected by the faculty of that department. Criteria included academic achievement and the quality and consistency of co-curricular contributions. Awards were presented as follows:

  • Robert E. White Chemical Engineering Medallion: Joseph M. Reckamp
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering Faculty Medallion: Kayla T. Spitzer
  • Computer Engineering Outstanding Student Medallion: James A. Harris
  • Electrical Engineering Outstanding Student Medallion: Kelly M. Modrick
  • Mechanical Engineering Outstanding Student Medallion: Gregory M. Campbell

The final award presented was the Robert D. Lynch award, which was instituted in 2003 in honor of the Dean of the College of Engineering from 1975–2000. Sponsored by the Engineering Alumni Society, this prestigious award acknowledges a graduating senior for their outstanding academic achievements and exemplary dedication to serving the community, thus representing the highest values of Villanova University and the College of Engineering. The winner of the 2014 Lynch Award was Gregory M. Campbell. 

Dean’s Congratulatory Remarks

After each student was recognized, Dean Gabriele shared his congratulatory remarks and reminded the graduates of five promises that were made to them when they began at Villanova:

  1. An excellent academic experience and rigorous education
  2. A strong community in which to grow intellectually, professionally, and spiritually
  3. A caring, personalized learning environment where faculty would care about your progress
  4. An opportunity to learn the value of service to others
  5. A strong foundation for lifelong success

As he expressed hope that the College had met the students’ expectations, Dean Gabriele stated, “You have surpassed ours.”

The Recognition Ceremony concluded with the singing of the University alma mater; the reciting of the Engineers Creed, led by Haig Monokian ’14 ME, president of the Engineering Student Council; and the benediction, presented by Morgan E. Smith ’14 ChE.