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Arnold School honors graduates at 29th Hooding Ceremony on May 5

May 13, 2016 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu 

[Click here to view the gallery of photos taken by Tom Johnson and Errol Tisdale.]

Dean Thomas Chandler began the 2016 Hooding Ceremony by welcoming master’s and doctoral degree graduates along with their families and friends. “This is the highlight of our year, and I’m proud to report to you that our School—your School—continues to experience remarkable, and even record, growth in all areas of academic achievement,” he said.

Some of the successes Chandler named include extramural funding of $36 million from agencies and foundations, an additional $7 million endowment from Norman J. and Gerry Sue Arnold to establish an Institute on Aging, 535 peer-reviewed journal articles, and a No. 1 ranking in the nation for the School’s Ph.D. program in exercise science. He also noted the Arnold School’s increased outreach to public health practitioners and work with hospitals and community partners throughout the state and the world.

“In fact, the Arnold School’s remarkable research and community service activities are a primary reason why this university now holds the prestigious Carnegie Foundation’s highest recognition as a university of both very high research activity and very high community engagement,” Chandler said. “There are only about 40 universities in the country that hold both distinctions, and I’m very proud that we are able to contribute to both of those in distinct ways.”

You should be really proud of your School and where you’re coming from, you should be proud of your faculty, and you should be especially proud that each and every one of you had a very measurable role in all of these recent accomplishments.

-Thomas Chandler

The Dean also discussed the numerous public health problems we face as a nation and a world and assured graduates that they are well-prepared to face these challenges with what will be a satisfying career. “You should be really proud of your School and where you’re coming from, you should be proud of your faculty, and you should be especially proud that each and every one of you had a very measurable role in all of these recent accomplishments,” said Chandler.

Margaret Van Bree, the President of Rhode Island Hospital, served as the event’s featured speaker. She congratulated the graduates on their accomplishments and expressed her confidence in their preparation. “Your talents, your insight, your energy are needed more than ever, and…you are bringing to the community the most contemporary understanding of theory and evidenced-based practice,” she said.

Van Bree noted challenges in public health, such as new epidemics and providing high quality health care for vulnerable populations. “We need you to help us look at these issues with new lenses and new perspectives,” she said. “Some forget that in choosing to work in public health, we are actually some of the luckiest people in the world. Not only because you have a superior education at this school, but because we get to work in mission-driven organizations, focusing on improving the lives and health of other people. And we know why we get up in the morning. There’s a purpose beyond ourselves.”

She also gave the new graduates some advice: work with passion; go outside your comfort zone; stay connected with your classmates and faculty; be gracious and thankful; give back to your community and your school. “Be confident that you have the educational background, the technical and interpersonal skills, and the knowledge that you can take challenging assignments and situations so that you can get up, try again, and forge a new path because we need you now more than ever,” Van Bree concluded. 

Your talents, your insight, your energy are needed more than ever, and…you are bringing to the community the most contemporary understanding of theory and evidenced-based practice.

-Margaret Van Bree

Cheryl Addy, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, highlighted the efforts of 33 small groups of public health undergraduates who raised nearly $40,000 in cash, in-kind gifts, and volunteer hours for 16 non-profit, community-based organizations in the Columbia area during a five-week period as a part of their senior capstone class. She then presented the annual Arnold School student and alumni awards. Next, Chandler announced the Arnold School faculty award winners. Delta Omega Honorary Society Mu Chapter inductees were recognized as well.

Susan Steck (Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics) received the James A. Keith Excellence in Teaching Award. Named for a former professor and associate dean of the Arnold School, it is designed to recognize superior teaching. Julius Fridriksson (Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders) received the Faculty Research Award for his outstanding scholarly record. Dwayne Porter (Department of Environmental Health Sciences) received the Faculty Service Award, which is designed to recognize a faculty member who has provided exceptional outreach to the community, made significant contributions to public health practice, or provided leadership in professional organizations or university governance.

The Norman J. Arnold Alumni Medal was awarded to Heather Brandt (MSPH, Ph.D., Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior) for demonstrating work that has had both a positive impact on the profession of public health and on the health of an identified community/population and has brought recognition to the Arnold School of Public Health. The Jeffrey Keith Mattison Outstanding Student Achievement Award went to Katie Babcock (Department of Health Services Policy and Management). This award is given to a master’s degree student who exemplifies service, leadership and personal example. Danielle Schoffman (Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior) received the Doctoral Achievement Award for demonstrated academic achievement, professional promise in creating meaningful and relevant research and/or practical application in the field of public health, and potential leadership and service to the community or to the field of public health.

The Arnold School’s six departments also presented awards during the Hooding Ceremony.

Communication Sciences and Disorders: Stacey Sangtian (MSP) and Frances Medley (MCD)

Environmental Health Sciences: Suvarthi Das (distinguished graduate student), Chandrani Mitra (doctoral), and Arjamand Sami (M.S.)

Epidemiology & Biostatistics: Mike Smith (Biostatistics) and Marsha Samson (Epidemiology)

Exercise ScienceMadison DeMello (doctoral), Alexis Mbakwe (M.S.) and Lauren Reid (MPH-PAPH)

Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior: Chiwoneso Tinago (doctoral) and Amarachi Anakaraonye (MPH)

Health Services Policy and Management: Trey Dymock (Suzie B. Yates Scholarship Award), Katie Babcock and Morgan Rackley (Foster G. McGaw Award), Alexis Sokol (Michael D. Jarrett Award), and Travis Capers (Michael E. and Sandra P. Samuels Distinguished Alumni Award)

Faculty member inductees into the Arnold School’s Mu Chapter of Delta Omega Honorary Society included: Michael Beets and Alan Decho. Graduating student inductees were Amarachi Anakaraonye, Mary Cornwell, JaPeera Edmonds, John Kuntz, Marsha Samson, Danielle Schoffman, Amanda Thomas, Chiwoneso Tinago, Mallori Williams. Alumni inducted into the Society included Afiba Agovi, Sonia Canzater, Travis Capers, Kelly Johnson, Harold Kohl, Tiffany Mack, Sarah Wilson, Lauren Workman