Lafayette College recognizes standout faculty and administrators
Faculty, administrators, and trustees gathered together for a special reception and awards ceremony to reflect on the incredible work done throughout the 2021-22 academic year and to congratulate colleagues for their accomplishments. President Nicole Farmer Hurd, Robert E. Sell ’84, chair of the Board of Trustees, and John Meier, provost, presented awards to the honorees.
Below is a selection of images from the event and details about those who were honored. The full gallery of images is available on Flickr.
This honors the five, or in the case of a tie, six members of the faculty who have achieved the longest continuous service, without regard to rank:
Since the College has not had a formal celebration in a few years, this year the College recognized the faculty and administrators who reached the 25-year service milestone in 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Tim Cox, dean of advising and co-curricular programs
The Fleck prize recognizes outstanding contributions to the campus community by members of the Lafayette administrative team. President Hurd shared: “Tim, you were nominated for this award because of your incredible leadership within the department and across the College. In all you do, you show incredible care for our students while proving to be an outstanding partner.”
Aimee Torrisi, administrative coordinator/Board of Trustees and leadership councils
This award is presented to an administrator or staff member who has provided a high level of service to the College, our alumni, or students over a substantial period of time. President Hurd shared: “Aimee has been a very helpful and thoughtful partner in all the administrative, communication, and organizational aspects of managing the Alumni Association Board and its connections to the College departments. She has made the volunteer experience more professional, timely, and streamlined and has made our volunteer jobs a whole lot easier. I feel very fortunate to have Aimee as a neighbor in Markle, where I get to witness her excellence every day. I am amazed by the number of people who stop by every day to soak up some of Aimee’s institutional knowledge. I am even more impressed that she always has the answer.”
COVID-19 Task Force and Operational Implementation Team
The Daniel H. Weiss Award for Leadership and Vision is presented annually to a Lafayette-related individual or group of individuals who have demonstrated leadership and vision. President Hurd shared: “This team took on the tasks of managing something none of us had ever experienced before. They helped this community navigate the uncertainties and challenges of the pandemic. They led with empathy, strategy, and a vision that got us to be where we are today.”
Introduced in 2008, this award is presented annually to one or more employees from among the administration, support staff, or plant operations who have either maintained a record of sustained outstanding service or performed a specific service during the year that contributed to the College’s success. Nominations are submitted to the Recognition Committee for recommendations to the President.
Billie Weiss, ticket and promotions manager, and head coach of the cheerleading and dance teams
This honor is awarded to a full-time Athletics Department staff member who has demonstrated outstanding service to Lafayette College and our athletics program. This award is the highest honor the Maroon Club can bestow upon an Athletics staff member. President Hurd shared: “From games to Commencement, Billie is a go-to in Athletics. Known for her work ethic and ability to get things done, she is also a favorite among our student-athletes and colleagues. Billie works tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the Lafayette community, families, and friends can enjoy our events.”
Rexford Ahene, professor emeritus of economics
The Dan Golden Award recognizes faculty members for distinguished volunteer service to Lafayette College through the Lafayette College Alumni Association and its organized alumni activities. One purpose of the award is “to stimulate interest beyond the classroom among members of the faculty to serve the College through its Alumni Affairs program.” Ahene has been a dedicated partner to the Alumni Association and Alumni Relations Department in creating engaging and enlightening events for our alumni. He will even come to alumni events, without having a formal role—he just simply enjoys connecting with our students well beyond graduation. President Hurd shared: “Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of speaking with an alumna, Yolanda Wisher Palacio and she had nothing to say but glowing things about Rex. It is because of Rex that she has been committed to staying connected with our community. Rex, you inspire our prospective students, our current students, and our past students.”
Caleb Gallemore, assistant professor, International Affairs
Joaquín Gómez-Miñambres, assistant professor, Department of Economics
These are presented annually to faculty in recognition of their teaching and scholarship. Each recipient presents a lecture on their research during the upcoming academic year.
“Professor Gallemore is an outstanding researcher with global collaborations that span multiple continents and disciplines. Since joining Lafayette in 2016, he has published 15 peer-reviewed articles in top-tiered journals with an additional seven under review. He is an innovative teacher and dedicated mentor whose efforts have led to exceptional student achievement.”
“Professor Gómez-Miñambres is an outstanding teacher helping students see the limits of neoclassical economic theory and helping them fill the gaps with the insights of behavioral economics. Students find his classes to be life-changing, teaching them how to think critically. His creative and thought-provoking articles in behavioral and personnel economics have already had global impact.”
Jennifer Talarico, professor, Department of Psychology
This is presented to a member of the faculty judged by colleagues to be a superior teacher/scholar.
Meier shared: “Professor Talarico regularly contributes to the first-year seminar program and to the psychology curriculum. Students find her courses challenging, rigorous, and relevant. Professor Talarico’s research on autobiographical memory has appeared in top-tier journals, has been cited nearly 3,000 times, and she has given multiple commentaries in such media outlets as NBC News and the Associated Press, as an important and widely respected voice in her field. Her work is complemented with the research mentorship of 62 individual students, providing an outstanding model for a Lafayette teacher-scholar.”
Michael Nees, associate professor, Department of Psychology
Meier shared: “Professor Nees’ work on multi-tasking and interruptions are at the cutting-edge of contemporary issues in attention, perception, and cognition. He is doing fascinating research on self-driving cars and on accommodations for people with visual impairments. As evidence that Professor Nees is a prolific scholar, in the past three years he has received the Best Paper Award from the International Conference on Auditory Display, published four peer reviewed journal articles, three peer reviewed conference proceedings, two technical reports, two conference proceedings, and given two invited talks.”
Brent Utter, assistant professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
This is given to a member of the engineering faculty who has most exemplified outstanding mentoring and teaching.
Meier shared: “Professor Utter brings collaborative, interactive experiences and concepts to his classroom. With research in the area of smart materials and structures, Professor Utter turned his home to a fabrication shop during the pandemic so his students as well as colleagues could learn. He has worked with 20 students providing instruction in honors thesis, independent study, EXCEL Scholars, engaging students in all levels of his research including inviting them to co-author on peer reviewed articles, patents, and conference proceedings.”
Tamara Carley, associate professor, Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences
This honors a professor demonstrating a high standard of classroom instruction.
Meier shared: “Professor Carley’s recent research includes studying ancient volcanic ash deposits preserved in the carbonate rocks in the Lehigh Valley. Students find her enthusiasm for her scholarship of volcanoes and magmas to be contagious and engaging. Professor Carley involves students in her research and encourages them to think critically and use observational and analytical skills.”
Jeffrey Liebner, associate professor, Department of Mathematics
This recognizes faculty members for distinctive and extraordinary teaching through mentoring.
Meier shared: “Professor Liebner’s expansive mentoring of students includes supervising the Data Associates Program, helping to lead the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates, sponsoring the Math Club Cryptography Competition, encouraging students participating in the LVAIC Mathematics Competition, plus his work with EXCEL Scholars, thesis students, and research assistants.”
Lauren Anderson, associate professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Meier shared: “Professor Anderson is widely known by students and colleagues as having an extensive record of effective teaching and inspiring mentorship. In addition to dozens of EXCEL Scholars and students who have worked with her on honors theses, Professor Anderson had a lead role in securing funding for the Clare Booth Luce Summers Scholars program, which has greatly expanded opportunities for students to engage in faculty mentored research at Lafayette.”
Steven Belletto, professor, Department of English
Meier shared: “Professor Belletto exemplifies the teacher-scholar model whose work and reputation is international in scope. He has published three books, four edited books, 36 articles, and over a dozen book chapters. Professor Belletto is attentive to historical and literary context, paying careful attention to issues of race and sex in postwar America, he is in command of theory, and insightful in regards to aesthetics. Professor Belletto is a teacher of distinction, teaching a breadth of courses from introductory to upper division seminars that consistently receive near ceiling student evaluations.”
“Professor Cefalu has a unique ability to turn something that a student may initially perceive as uninteresting to come alive, seem exciting, and become relevant. He demonstrates the magic that can happen in “challenging and engaging” classes.”
“Professor Lee is a teacher of distinction, an accomplished scholar, and leader of the Anthropology and Sociology Department. Her effective and dedicated mentoring go beyond the students currently in her courses, as she has been known to continue mentoring efforts well beyond graduation. She has published two critically acclaimed books with top presses, numerous articles and book chapters, and is an authority on public engagement.”
“Professor Miller always looks for new ways to engage students across lectures and laboratories. Her student-centered teaching is engaging as she focuses on how to help students connect their lab experiences to what they learned in lectures. She is an effective mentor not only to her general chemistry students but also to her colleagues in the department.”
“Professor Thomas is an energetic teacher who presents his materials creatively, at the right pace, where students can understand and appreciate it. His work is in theoretical particle physics and involves students in his research, including a student-led paper that was published in a leading journal in his field. His incredible hard work as a teacher consistently leads to superlative results, both in and out of the classroom.”
Joseph Woo, assistant professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Benjamin Cohen, associate professor, Engineering Studies Program
Carlos Tavares, assistant professor, Department of Anthropology and Sociology
Trustee Associate Christopher J. Donato P’16, ’18, ’22, is rotating out of this position after having served for the past two years and Amanda Pisetzner ’10 has served in this position for the past three years. The Trustee Associate position was created in 2015 for the purpose of ensuring that the Board heard the voices of young alumni on important matters.
Tracey Hagert Sutka ’82, president of the Alumni Association, Flor de Maria Selena Caceres Godoy ’22, president, Student Government, and Daniel Huffenus ’86, chair, Southeast Advisory Council, will also conclude their service to the Board.
The Board is also pleased each year to have the support of a number of alumni, students, and faculty associates who serve as members of the various Trustee committees.
Jonathan Ellis ’98 and Kamaka Martin ’04 were elected to the Board of Trustees May 14.
Three distinguished Trustees are stepping down from the Board: Cynthia Y. Paige ‘83,.Samuel R. Chapin ’79, Edward W. Ahart ’69