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Ceremony Honors Worcester State’s Highest Achieving Students

May 1, 2017 Posted by: Renae Lias Claffey

Academic major awards were given for students with the highest grades from every Worcester State University department, while dozens of named awards, many backed by scholarship donors, were presented to about 60 students at the Academic Achievement Awards ceremony on Thursday, April 27 at Mechanics Hall. University officials also recognized three university benefactors with honorary doctorates.

Among the students recognized were four who received Lt. Col. James F. Sheehan ’55, USMC Ret. Awards for achieving the highest grade point averages in their class years: visual and performing arts major Renae Renihan took the first-year honor; public health/pre-nursing major Julie Cohen and biology major Sarah Cross shared the sophomore-year honor; communication and sociology double major Kristen Rando took the junior-year honor; and Spanish and communications sciences and disorders double major Melanie Hunter took the senior-year honor.

The Ella M. Whitney award, given for participation in school activities and scholarship, as well as social aptitude, personality, loyalty, and other leadership qualities, was awarded to senior Alexzandra Navarro. The John F. Eager Continuing Education Excellence Award, given to the undergraduate evening program senior with the highest grade point average, went to Gail Lapointe, and the Robert H. Kyle Award for Excellence in Liberal Studies went to Edlira Xhaferri.

Three steadfast supporters of WSU received honorary degrees in recognition of their deep commitment to the University and our students. Phillip M. Wasylean II ’63 and philanthropic couple Mark and Janice Fuller were presented with doctors of humane letters, honoris causa.

Wasylean is one of Worcester State’s most generous benefactors, having donated more than $1 million to benefit students, especially for scholarships. The first of his family to attend college, he credits the preparation he received at Worcester State Teachers College for giving him the foundation to succeed in his 42-year teaching career.

Through the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation, Mark and Janice Fuller have supported WSU in many ways, including helping to fund capital projects, such as the construction of the Wellness Center and renovations to the Fuller Theater, as well as supporting the Latino Education Institute, numerous scholarships, and academic programming.

For more information about the honorary doctorate awardees and their photos, visit the WSU alumni website.

Download and view the full list of Academic Achievement Award recipients.

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