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Achievement Day 2019

Achievement Day 2019

A Celebration of Portfolios, Performances and Awards

Pine Manor College’s Achievement Day is an annual celebration of students’ achievements and accomplishments in- and out- of the classroom.

The ceremony began with welcoming remarks from President Thomas M. O’Reilly.  Pointing to the audience the president said, “It’s a wonderful day today, you know why? – because you are here!” The president acknowledged the many members of the College community that support our students ensuring they grow, succeed, and thrive. “Everyone here wants to see you succeed. Everyone here wants to see you through graduation and beyond.and the fact is that 95% of all our graduates are employed after graduation, is a good indication that you will too,” the president said, “So seek the help, accept the praise when you get it, and let us celebrate your achievements together.”

Before the presentation of students’ awards took place, Dean Mello-Goldner recognized the work by members of the Pine Manor College faculty. Therefore, the first two awards that were presented were awarded in recognition of outstanding work by faculty: The Ruth Allinger Gibson ’26 Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Pam Palmer Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Support for Student Success. 

Voted by Pine Manor College students, The Ruth Allinger Gibson ’26 Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Rebecca Mitchell, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mathematics and Program Coordinator. 

The second award presented was the Pam Palmer Award recognizing Excellence in Mentoring and Support of Student Success. This award winner was selected by students who submitted nominations for a faculty or staff member who best exemplifies the following qualities that Pam was known for:

  • Never giving up on students
  • Providing support across all areas of student’s life (Academic and Non-Academic)
  • Pollowing-up with students over time
  • Helping students reach their full potential

This award was presented to Melissa Yoffe, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

Rebecca Mitchell, Ph.D recieving the Gibson Award (left) Melissa Yoffe (right) receiving the Pam Palmer Award from the Dean of the College, DIane Mello-Goldner, Ph.D. 


The Presentations of Awards

The Trustee Awards for Exemplary Senior Portfolio was presented by Board of Trustees member, Dorothy Davis Kee ’72, to four students with the best senior portfolios, as evaluated by the portfolio review committee, and that their reflection expressed a transformational college experience. The four award recipients were:

  • Nathan Kee 
  • Karoline D’Brito 
  • Saran Sheriff 
  • Hawa Cherif 

Board of Trustee member, Dorothy Davis Kee ’72 giving the Trustee Awards for Exemplary Senior Portfolio recipient (left to right) Saran Sheriff, Hawa Cherif and Karoline D’Brito


The Robert Calhoun Memorial Scholarship Award is a new award that was created this year to honor a beloved member of our community that passed away in January of 2019.

Shelley Dropkin, Director of Human Resources and Val Bastien, Academic Affairs Office Manager, introduced the new award and its inaugural recipients.

This past January, the Pine Manor College community experienced the sudden and tragic passing of a wonderful and dedicated staff member, Robert Calhoun. Robert worked in our finance office as the senior accountant and brought his extensive expertise in helping the team in numerous ways. Robert also participated in the PMC Men’s Group and became a mentor to many students.

Robert’s passing really rocked our community and caused us to pause and realize how important and valuable each day truly is. Robert also showed us that it’s not just what you do, but how you do it, and how you make others feel, that really matters.

Several staff members, including Val Bastien, Ross Merlin, Jim Piermarini, and Shelley Dropkin, expressed a desire to do something to honor Robert’s memory and the example he set. The team was delighted to receive numerous donations from staff, faculty and students in support of establishing a scholarship in Robert’s honor. The Robert B. Calhoun Memorial Scholarship will be given to students who best exemplifies Robert’s genuine and caring spirit, calm and engaging demeanor, authenticity, and ability to challenge us to be better and make a difference in the lives of others.

The College was honored to have Robert Calhoun’s family attend the award ceremony, and his son, Daryon Calhoun, helped present the awards.

For the inaugural year of this award, the Robert B. Calhoun Memorial Scholarship was presented to two students:

  • Feven Bedard-Khalid
  • Oby Ojimba

The Robert Calhoun Memorial Scholarship Award (left to right): Val Bastien, Daryon Calhoun, Feven Bedard-Khalid, Oby Ojimba and Shelley Dropkin

Academic Awards 

Presented by program faculty

Biology and Chemistry 

  • Award for Achievement in Chemistry – Xingyu Zhu
  • Award for Distinction in Biology – Hakeem Duncan
  • David P. Boyd Award for Academic Progress and Transformational Growth – Hawa Cherif
  • Perkin Merit Scholarship – Minju Ahn, Johniejoel Jackson, and Rosy Basil-Kalu

Business and Management 

  • Joan D. Osterweil ’50 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Economics –  Rafael Baez
  • Award for Distinguished Work in Business and Management –   

    Karoline D’Brito

Community Health 

  • Award for Distinguished Work in Community Health – Latonia Cox

Computer Studies

  • Achievement in Technology Award – Jordan Zoeke

Early Childhood: Education, Health and Leadership  

  • Joan D. Osterweil ’50 Award for Student Teaching – Nadia Obiesie
  • Excellence in Education Awards – McCala McDonald
  • Leadership in Early Education Awards – Andrea Melendez


  • Beverly Alexander Award in Writing – Wenbo Huang
  • Constance Grosvenor Alexander Award in English – Tyrique Lee
  • B.A. Program Award for Excellence in the Study of English – Vanessa Aarons
  • Best Written Research Paper – Wenbo Huang
  • Best Researched Award – Yuezhenghuan “Via” Li


  • Audrey I. Stein Awards for Merit and Improvement in Mathematics – Tonya Vaz Garcia
  • Achievement Award in Mathematics – Seongji Yun and Minju Ahn

Performing Arts:


  • Thomas Benton Pegg Award for Achievement in Theatre – Garrett Gagnon


  • Award for Distinction in Dance – Yi Yuan Chen


  • Award for Distinguished Work in Psychology – Danielle Sturgeon
  • Mildred Hodgman Mahoney Award – Lemitsa Vaz

Sociology and Political Science

  • Award for Distinguished Work in Sociology Political Science – Ellis Reid

  • Pauline Tompkins Award in Political Science/Criminal Justice –  Lemitsa Vaz

Sociology and Political Science

  • Award for Distinguished Work in Sociology Political Science – Dona Romain 

Visual Arts

  • Award for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Arts – Jhovana Correa
  • The Clara Torrey Clement Award for Excellence in Art History – Elizangela Mendes

Alpha Chi

William Stargard, Ph.D., Professor of Art History and Alpha Chi Advisor, called all Alpha Chi students, to be recognized and presented the seniors their Alpha Chi medallions to wear at Commencement: 

  • Rosy Basil-Kalu
  • Latonia Cox
  • Karoline D’Brito*
  • Pamela Fernandez
  • Cyril Fonrose
  • Atazhanna Furtado-Triplett
  • McCala McDonald*
  • Danielle Sturgeon
    * = May 2019 Graduate

Announcement of the 2019 Student Class Commencement Speaker presented by Hannah Baker-Siroty, M.F.A., Assistant Professor of English: Writing and Literature, Lisa Rodrigues, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, and William Stargard, Ph.D., Professor of Art History and Alpha Chi Advisor. This year Student Class Speaker is Karoline D’Brito

Student Affairs Awards

The recipients of The Dean of Students Award for positive leadership, growth, and commitment to enhancing Pine Manor College were Ellis Reid, and Aleah Lauti

The recipients of the Emerging Student Leader Award for a first or second year Pine Manor College student who has shown exemplary leadership and positive contribution through their service, scholarship, and commitment to the overall mission of the college were Ivan Hernandez, and Oby Ojimba

The recipients of the Community Engagement Award for a student whom best uplifted the Pine Manor College community through actively engaging in work, service, and program attendance on and off campus were Abner Veiga, and Wendy Napoleon for initiating the “Let’s Talk About It,” Club and Yuezhenghuan “Via” Li 

Other Achievement Day Presentations and Events:

Enjoy some of the highlights of Achievement Day 2019 through our photo album.

Relaunch of Conifers, Pine Manor College’s on-line literary magazine

Ukulele Ensemble Performed in the Ashby Student Center

Women and Detective Fiction class presented a Murder Mystery titled, “Murder at the Manor”

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