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
- 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
- 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
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).