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Three for One

Members of the University Community to Be Honored for Excellence at One University Awards Ceremony on April 19

Portrait Raj, Marifilus and McDonald

Falk College’s Sudha Raj, Ken Marfilius and Katie McDonald will be honored at the April 19 One University Awards in Hendricks Chapel.


The One University Awards Ceremony, an annual event to honor members of the Syracuse University community who are making a difference through academics, scholarship, creative work and dedicated service, will be held Friday, April 19, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel.

“Every year, we come together to celebrate the outstanding contributions and tremendous success of our students, faculty, staff and broader community,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “The accomplishments of this year’s recipients reinforce what it means to be Orange. This ceremony also shines a bright spotlight on the work being done around campus, much of which happens behind the scenes. I thank the many members of our community who organized this event and look forward to recognizing this year’s winners.”

Two major awards—the Chancellor’s Medal and the Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence—will be bestowed. The ceremony will also include the presentation of the Student-Athlete Award, Judith Seinfeld Scholarship, Meredith Professorship for Teaching Excellence, Teaching Recognition Award, Diversity and Inclusion Award, William Pearson Tolley Medal for Distinguished Leadership in Lifelong Learning and Chancellor’s Forever Orange Award.

Emeriti faculty who retired in 2023 and employees who celebrated years of service milestones in 2023 will also be recognized. This year’s University Scholars, Senior Class and School and College Marshals, and Remembrance and Lockerbie Scholars will also be honored.

All members of the University community are invited and encouraged to attend. A reception will follow in the lobby of the Heroy Geology Laboratory.

American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be provided at the ceremony. For questions about accessibility or to request accommodations, contact Gabe Coleman at

Award Recipients

The Chancellor’s Medal is the University’s highest honor and is awarded to individuals in honor of their trailblazing and extraordinary contributions to the University, to an academic body of knowledge or to society. This year’s recipient is Shiu-Kai Chin, Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence and professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

The Chancellor’s Citation for Excellencerecognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions in four overarching categories:

  • The award for Excellence in Student Research recognizes students who have engaged in collaborative research that has the potential to make a deep and lasting impact on greater society. This year’s recipients are Jingjing Ji, a doctoral candidate in chemical engineering in the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science (graduate), and Ashtha Singh, an international relations major in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and citizenship and civic engagement major in the Maxwell School (undergraduate).
  • The award for Outstanding Contributions to the Student Experience and University Initiatives acknowledges faculty and staff who, through their work, enhance the undergraduate experience for students or make invaluable contributions to supporting and advancing the University’s mission and goals. The recipients are Charisse L’Pree Corsbie-Massay, associate professor of communications in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications (faculty); Maureen Casey, chief operating officer for the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (professional staff); Amy Schmidt, program coordinator of citizenship and civic engagement in the Maxwell School (professional staff) and Jolanta Niwelt, events coordinator at Lubin House (support staff).
  • The Faculty Excellence and Scholarly Distinction award is intended for faculty members who are collaborators in work of intellectual richness that has the potential for future impact. The work of these nominees offers possibilities for collaboration within the University and outside in partnership with others. This year’s honorees are Wayne Franits, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Art and Music Histories in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Katherine McDonald, associate dean of research and professor of Public Health in the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics.
  • Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence, Lifetime Achievement Award. This award honors those who have made extraordinary contributions toward advancing all four pillars of excellence over the arc of their careers while at Syracuse University and beyond. This year’s recipient is Shobha Bhatia, Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence and professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

The other awards to be presented are:

  • The Student-Athlete Award recognizes the top female and top male student athletes and are presented to the senior student-athletes with the highest cumulative grade point average over the course of their academic and athletic careers. This year’s recipients are Izabela Krakic, an international relations major in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences and member of the women’s rowing team, and Julius Rauch, an entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises major in the Whitman School of Management and a member of the men’s soccer team.
  • Seinfeld Scholarship: Each year Syracuse University honors the talents of outstanding faculty or students through an award made possible by Judith Greenberg Seinfeld ’56, a distinguished alumna and member of the University Board of Trustees. Awards are made to those who have been determined by their peers to have made outstanding contributions to the beauty of the world, to have added to human values and to ending human abuse anywhere in the world, and to have demonstrated passion for excellence, creativity and originality in academic or artistic fields. This year, the designation is bestowed upon a faculty member, Rebecca Ortiz, associate professor of advertising in the Newhouse School.
  • The Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professorships for Teaching Excellence were created in 1995 to recognize and reward outstanding teaching among faculty. The 2024-27 Meredith Professors are Joon Park, professor in the School of Information Studies, and Cora True-Frost, Bond, Schoeneck and King Distinguished Professor in the College of Law.
  • In 2001, the Meredith Professorship Program was expanded to recognize teaching excellence by non-tenured faculty and adjunct and part-time instructors. Awards are given in two categories: Early Performance and Continuing Excellence. This year’s honorees in the Early Performance category are Kelly Leahy, assistant professor of television, radio and film in the Newhouse School; Farzana Rahman, associate teaching professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the College of Engineering and Computer Science; Milton Santiago, assistant professor of visual communications in the Newhouse School; Darwin Tsen, assistant teaching professor of Chinese and Chinese language in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Nina Wilson, assistant professor in the School of Architecture. The two honorees in the Continuing Excellence category are Kenneth Marfilius, assistant dean of online and distance education and associate teaching professor of social work in the Falk College, and Sudha Raj, teaching professor and graduate director of nutrition and food studies in the Falk College.
  • The Diversity and Inclusion Award recognizes an individual who is integral in helping us achieve academic excellence at a university that is welcoming to all through our investments in a diverse, inclusive, accessible and equitable community. This year’s recipient is Suzette Meléndez, teaching professor in the College of Law and faculty fellow for the Office of Strategic Initiatives and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
  • The William Pearson Tolley Medal for Distinguished Leadership in Lifelong Learning is based in the School of Education and honors national or international leadership in support of lifelong learning. This year’s recipient is Rhodia Thomas ’77, executive director of MidPenn Legal Services, adjunct professor of law at Dickinson University and an alumna of the School of Education.
  • The Chancellor’s Forever Orange Award recognizes individual students, faculty or staff who—by virtue of extraordinary hard work, good values and commitment to excellence—have come to embody the best of Syracuse University. This year’s recipients are Colleen O’Connor Bench, associate vice president of parent engagement and student experience, and Ian McIntyre, head coach of the men’s soccer team.
An SU News story originally published on April 10, 2024.