Academic Convocation 2023

Four women dressed in academic regalia hold awards and pose for a photo.

Professors Karen Denning, Otito Iwuchukwu, Gloria Pastorino, and Paulette Laubsch, from left. (Photo: Roy Groething)

By Kenna Caprio

September 28, 2023 — At this year’s annual Academic Convocation, four faculty members and two staff members were honored for their University contributions and academic successes. The event, which also formally signals the start of a new academic year, welcomed new faculty, celebrated faculty tenure recipients and, this year, featured the presidential inauguration.

A short blonde woman holds up an award and stands next to a man in academic regalia.

Theresa Montalbano, left, and Michael Avaltroni. (Photo: Roy Groething)

Faculty Awards

Each year the University honors three faculty members for their contributions in the areas of research and scholarship, teaching, and service. This year, a new distinction was added, in a fourth category: student service and belonging.

The Distinguished Faculty Award for Research and Scholarship went to Gloria Pastorino, professor of Italian and French.

The Distinguished Faculty Award for Service was presented to Karen Denning, professor of finance and chair, Department of Economics, Finance and International Business.

The Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching was bestowed upon Paulette Laubsch, professor and academic coordinator, Master of Public Administration.

The inaugural Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Student Success and Belonging was given to Otito Iwuchukwu, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences.

A tall blonde woman holds up an award and stands next to a man in academic regalia.

Jennifer Quick, left, and Michael Avaltroni, right. (Photo: Roy Groething)

Staff Awards

This year’s Pillar Awards recipients are Theresa Montalbano, assistant to the dean, Maxwell Becton College of Arts and Sciences, Florham Campus; and Jennifer Quirk, senior associate athletic director for compliance, Metropolitan Campus.

Benjamin Rifkin, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, also welcomed 47 new faculty members to the academic community, and recognized those who recently received tenure. 

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