Distributed May 10, 2002
For Immediate Release

News Service Contact: Tracie Sweeney

The 234th Commencement

Graduate School will honor distinguished alumni, teaching assistants

During Commencement ceremonies on Monday, May 27, the University’s Graduate School will present its Distinguished Graduate School Alumnus/a Award and the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Two alumni of Brown University’s Graduate School and four graduate teaching assistants will be honored during the Graduate School’s Lincoln Field Commencement ceremonies Monday, May 27.

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching

Hundreds of graduate students each year serve as teaching assistants and teaching fellows, and each year the University honors a select few with Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching. This year’s recipients were selected by a faculty committee that considered letters of recommendation, teaching evaluations and personal statements. The four will receive an honorarium and a citation.

  • Sarah Dance of Surrey, England, applied mathematics. Students as well as professors praised Dance for her friendly rapport and for her ability to use a variety of techniques to clearly convey concepts and skills to students of varying abilities. Outside the classroom, Dance mentors women studying in mathematics, engineering and the sciences.
  • Matthew Day of Providence, R.I., religious studies. Students and faculty use such words as “superb,” “stellar” and “best at Brown” to describe Day’s teaching. In particular, Day earned accolades for his ability to connect with students in a down-to-earth manner while helping them discipline their thoughts during class discussion and on paper.
  • Allison Pacelli, Ballston Spa, N.Y., mathematics. Pacelli’s personal statement emphasizes the importance she places on teaching students how to discover knowledge rather than follow technique. Her students approve, praising her for her emphasis on learning, not performing. Her organization, clear explanations and availability place her in students’ high regard as well.
  • William Worden, Mattapoisett, Mass., Hispanic studies. Worden is highly regarded for his ability to challenge students intellectually while supporting their efforts to explore the language. His teaching style incorporates a variety of methods, ranging from music to student-centered projects, in such a way that it is clear (as one student noted) that Worden “is passionate about teaching, which made me passionate about learning.”

Distinguished Graduate School Alumnus/a Award

These awards were established in 1978 to recognize Graduate School alumni who have made distinguished contributions to society through their scholarship and related professional activities. The recipients receive an engraved medallion and a citation.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Sankar Das Sarma, Distinguished University Professor and professor of physics, University of Maryland. He is a widely published and highly cited theoretical condensed matter physicist with broad research interests in electronic properties of materials and nonequilibrium statistical mechanics. Das Sarma received his Sc.M in physics from Brown in 1976 and his Ph.D. in physics from Brown in 1979.
  • Donald L. Stanford of Pawtucket, R.I., chief technology officer emeritus of GTECH Corporation. During his career, Stanford made a number of contributions to satellite computing networks and was among the first to adopt new protocols for managing large software projects over their lifetime. Stanford, now an adjunct professor of computer science at Brown, earned his A.B. in international relations (Brown 1972), and his Sc.M. in computer science and applied math (Brown 1977).