Students honored for academic achievements

by Apr 29, 2003 12:00 am

About 4,000 family members and friends attended the 41st special Honor's Convocation at the Event Center Friday as 1,800 President and Dean's scholars received awards for making excellent grades.

In addition, Professor Robert Pellegrini, chair of the psychology department, was honored for excellence in teaching with the outstanding professor award for 2002-2003 and gave the convocation address.

President Robert L. Caret expressed his appreciation to Pellegrini for being representative of a link of excellence between the students and faculty and thanked him and the deans for being there when needed.

"Over his 35 years of service to SJSU, Professor Pellegrini has taught introductory psychology to more students than any other instructor in the history of the institution," Caret said. "He has mentored a countless number of students in individual studies, honors classes and masters theses."

Pellegrini responded with enthusiasm in his speech about students who achieve and recognize failure, learn from it and keep going against the odds.

"Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm," Pellegrini said.

He spoke about the many different characteristics of people who are well-known achievers as well as some of his favorite anecdotes about stubborn perseverance.

"Achieving success is like wrestling with a gorilla, and quitting when the gorilla quits," he said.

Pellegrini suggested that achievers develop a measure of success with personal plans that identify the payoffs.

"Develop a direction in life and a plan and a way to evaluate it," he said, "but be able to evaluate and change along the way."

Provost Marshall Goodman also gave a special introduction speech to the students for their enthusiasm and spirit for learning.

"I hope you fulfill your journey," Goodman said. "Be faithful and you will achieve your objectives."

Academic Senate Chair James Brent agreed with Goodman that the students of today would be the achievers who would power the Silicon Valley of tomorrow as he introduced each of the deans from the different undergraduate colleges.

The deans of the colleges presented the award winners to President Caret to be honored.

Lavonne Simpson, the special coordinator with the provost's office, who has served on the honors planning committee for 20 years and was committee chair for four years, said the planning committee is very dedicated to acknowledging hardworking students.

"We are thrilled by the students' accomplishments. We have approximately 30 members on the planning committee," Simpson said. "All of the deans offices are very active. We have several student organizations participating as ushers such as Alpha Phi Omega."

She said students from the SJSU Pep Squad and service organizations serve by running the enrollment services and as ushers.

Kevin Johnson, a president's scholar for the last two years, is a creative arts major who works full time at the printing graphics department as a graduating senior.

"It's a great honor and nice to be recognized," Johnson said.

His talents are interdisciplinary that span across writing and filmmaking.

"Do something you have a passion for and good grades just follow," Johnson said.

Aveline and Felipe Subringsubring and Jun Reyes, along with a group of friends, attended to see Maria Avefil Reyes, a nursing student, receive honors for maintaining a 4.0 GPA for the last several semesters.

"I love nursing, I believe in being a good nurse," Reyes said. "I just passed the boards, and I work at the Santa Clara Kaiser Permanente in medical surgery."

Donna Phan, a nursing student, carried a bouquet of white roses as a special reward for earning a 3.79 GPA.

"I believe special support and in the support that I have from my mom and brothers who are here," Pham said. "I wouldn't have been able to make it so far."

Sheila Bienenfeld, a professor of psychology, said it is important to take the time to recognize what it takes to succeed.

"Support is important to have to achieve," Bienenfeld said.

Pamela Stacks, professor and chair of the chemistry department, said it also takes more than the support of family or friends as well.

"It takes hard work on the part of the student, and internal drive," Stacks said. "It is quite a feat to balance all of the things they do."

The President's Scholars list includes undergraduate students who have a GPA of 4.0 for at least two contiguous semesters of the three semesters prior to the convocation.

The Dean's Scholars are undergraduate students who have earned a 3.65 or higher GPA at SJSU in at least two contiguous semesters of the three semesters prior to the convocation.

Three honor societies, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Xi and Phi Beta Kappa Faculty Club introduced the first Honors Convocation in 1962 to recognize and encourage superior academic achievement at SJSU.

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