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Student Affairs Celebrates Success and Partnerships 

Convocation screen shot cropped

The 40th Annual Convocation for the Division of Student Affairs took place virtually on December 2, celebrating the yearlong achievements and partnerships that positively impacted student life. 

This celebration was especially significant in a year as challenging as 2020. Dr. Rick Gatteau, Vice President for Student Affairs, kicked off the event by taking the participants on a walk down memory lane, highlighting the many changes Stony Brook and Student Affairs have experienced in the past 40 years and thanking the Division for their role in making this year a success during these difficult times. “This year has been one of much uncertainty and many challenges. We never would have made it through this year if we didn’t work as a team,” he said.

Convocation screen shot croppedStony Brook’s President, Dr. Maurie McInnis, joined the celebration to thank the Student Affairs team for their hard work during the pandemic. “I have relied on the experience, the wisdom, the ingenuity, and the compassion of Student Affairs every single day. You all helped make this semester possible from preparing our students with resources and support both on campus, off campus, and those in quarantine to managing the transition to online and hybrid learning,” said President McInnis.

Ten awards were given to 27 recipients across various departments who have made outstanding contributions to the Division and student life this year. One of the awards, the Student Life Award, recognizes an individual outside the Division who has served as an excellent partner to the team and has gone above and beyond contributing to the success and quality of student life. This year’s award went to Larry Zacarese, Interim Chief of Police and Assistant Vice President for Campus Safety and Senior Operations Director for Institutional Resiliency & Business Continuity, for his incredible leadership and his efforts to keep the campus healthy and safe during this pandemic. 

Other awards included the Peter Baigent Leadership Award. Established two years ago, this award honors the life, legacy and leadership of the late Dr. Peter Baigent, who was Vice President for Student Affairs for 12 years and passed away in 2017. This year’s recipients were Dr. Marisa Bisiani, Assistant Vice President of Student Health, Wellness and Prevention Services, and Urszula Zalewski, Director of Experiential Education in the Career Center. 

The celebration included introducing new members who joined the Student Affairs team in 2020, as well as congratulating three colleagues retiring at the end of the year. Milestones were also applauded as numerous team members celebrated 5, 15, 20, or 25 year anniversaries with Student Affairs. 

The last part of the program included a special recognition honoring Dr. Dallas W. Bauman III, former Assistant Vice President for Campus Residences, who recently retired from Stony Brook. In recognition of his lasting contributions to the University, it was unveiled that the Center for Leadership & Service has been renamed the Bauman Center for Leadership & Service. 

The annual convocation ended with a lighthearted video capturing moments throughout the past year. Although the year has brought unprecedented circumstances, the Division of Student Affairs was able to come together to continue this important four decade long tradition and celebrate the accomplishments of the team.

List of Awards and Recipients

Student Life Award
Larry Zacarese

Peter M. Baigent Award
Dr. Marisa Bisiani, Urszula Zalewski

New Professional Awards
Michael Bordes, Tara Campbell, Cynthia Grimley, Elizabeth Moon, Aneil Persaud

Distinguished Service Awards for Systems Innovation
Amanda Gonzalez, Dr. Danielle Merolla, Becky Seifter 

Distinguished Service Award for Student Development
Nikki Barnett, Chris Cole, Kerri Mahoney, Samantha Soren

Distinguished Service Award for Teamwork and Collaboration
Karen Dybus, Laura Fitzgerald, Sonia Garrido 

Distinguished Service for Outreach Efforts
Steven Adelson, Christine Szaraz, Marie Turchiano, Lateef Wearrien

Outstanding Service Award
Jim Carr, Tom St. John, Amy Vitale 

Pivot Award
Ahmed Belazi 

Red Ruby Award
Student Health Services 

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