SPHHS Celebrates Fall Events
Nearly 100 alumni, faculty, students, and friends turned out on Saturday, November 5, 2011 to attend the School of Public Health and Health Sciences Homecoming Celebration. The annual alumni reunion event, which included a social hour and a short awards ceremony, was held in conjunction with the university’s homecoming weekend.
This year, the Fine Arts Center Atrium provided the backdrop for the event. Guests dined on a catered breakfast while having time to catch up with one another. For Megan Griffin, ’11 MPH, the Homecoming Celebration provided an opportunity “to see all of my professors and learn about the progress the program has made.”
Amy Berman (nee Stein), ’82, was another of the many alumni who returned to the campus for the occasion. “I came to homecoming to reconnect with my fellow UMass alumni. But it was also a chance to learn about the new and exciting activities going on at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences. I was very impressed with the caliber of students and their accomplishments.”
Dale King, a 2011 alumnus of the online MPH program, made the trip from the Washington D.C. area. He came to put a face with the names of the professors and students he interacted with via computer. “As an online student, I wanted to experience the UMass campus for myself.”
He adds, “The highlight was seeing the professors and students I was blessed to have met online and learning how the UMass experience has helped to shape their careers and inspire them to help others to be the best that they can be. I also had the opportunity to say thank you to all the professors at UMass for believing in me.”
A more formal awards ceremony, hosted by Dean Marjorie Aelion, followed the social hour. She presented Kenneth A. Mundt, a 1986 alumnus with an MS degree in Epidemiology, with the SPHHS Award for Significant Contributions. Dr. Mundt, a former faculty member in the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and a current Partner and Director of Epidemiology at ENVIRON International, was recognized for his ongoing support of the School. Dr. Mundt remains active with the SPHHS through his position as adjunct faculty and by serving on the Dean’s Advisory Board. Over the years, ENVIRON’s Amherst office has employed 20 SPHHS graduates (including 8 currently) and dozens of graduate students. He also founded Opportunities for Communities, Inc., a non-profit educational organization with a program focus in Haiti.
Associate Deans Dan Gerber and Elaine Puleo followed with an announcement of the 2011 Corinne A. Johnson Memorial Scholarship winners. The scholarships, which honor the memory of the late Corinne Johnson ’80, a UMass Amherst alumna known for her spirit of volunteerism and leadership, were awarded to Bridgette Fortier, an undergraduate Public Health Sciences major, and Gaurav Dhawan, an MPH candidate in Environmental Health Sciences. Both scholarship recipients have a strong academic record, a long history of volunteer work, and a demonstrated dedication to public health. Ms. Johnson’s brother and sister, James Morris and Carol Morris Galvin, were on hand to extend their congratulations to the winners.
The SPHHS undergraduate student organizations also provided updates on club activities for the 2011-2012 academic year. Brandon Learned of the Kinesiology Club, Angela Costanzi and Lisa DiSalvio of the UMass Amherst chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSHLA), Sarra Sabouri, Lauren Roche, and Jackie Coakley of the Public Health Club, and Dr. Nancy Cohen, representing the UMass Nutrition Association (UMNA), all spoke at the event.
The ceremony also gave an occasion to pay tribute to the memory of Dr. Alvin Winder, the former Professor of Community Health Education who passed away in September, 2011. Professor Emeritus George Cernada gave a moving – and often funny – tribute to the beloved faculty member.
“The highlight of the event was the remembrance of Dr. Alvin Winder,” commented Berman. “The stories shared were priceless, warm, and funny. He was an inspiration to me and, I would guess, to many faculty and alumni.”
The Homecoming Celebration capped a busy fall semester for the SPHHS. Earlier that same week, the SPHHS hosted its first D.C. Alumni Networking Night in the Blue Bar at the Henley Park Hotel. The November 1st event coincided with the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting, which was held in Washington D.C. in 2011. Dean Aelion and Associate Dean Gerber joined nearly 30 D.C.-area alumni and current students, including several from the online MPH program, for a lively happy hour recognizing and celebrating the School’s many graduates who reside in the area.
Commander King attended both events. “We were able to share with one another how UMass has helped us in our personal as well as our professional lives. I look forward to many more mixers and networking nights in the future in D.C. and on the Amherst campus.”
Click here for more photos from the 2011 SPHHS Homecoming Celebration.