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Four To Be Honored at Convocation Ceremonies

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Four To Be Honored at Convocation Ceremonies

TC medalist Wynton Marsalis.

Four To Be Honored at Convocation Ceremonies

TC medalist Frank McCourt

Four To Be Honored at Convocation Ceremonies

Dodge medalist Richard Robinson.

Teachers College is honoring four individuals known for their work in education at this year's convocation ceremonies.

At the Master's Convocation, on May 15 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, three will receive the Teachers College Medal for Distinguished Service. They are Pulitzer Prize-winning musician Wynton Marsalis, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt, and Milbrey Wallin McLaughlin, the David Jacks Professor of Education and Public Policy at Stanford University. At the Doctoral Convocation on Wednesday, May 16, Richard Robinson, CEO of Scholastic, Inc., will be presented with the Cleveland E. Dodge Medal for Distinguished Service to Education. The faculty will honor all four at a dinner the night before the Master's Convocation.

Marsalis, who was born into a New Orleans family of musicians, studied trumpet seriously from the age of 12 before moving to New York to attend the Julliard School. Shortly after leaving Julliard, he became a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and signed with Columbia Records.

In 1987, Marsalis co-founded the internationally recognized Jazz at Lincoln Center program, where he serves as Artistic Director. One of the most successful aspects of the program has been his Saturday "Jazz for Young People" series. He regularly conducts master classes in local schools and brings his message about the values that jazz embodies to a new generation through his television specials and National Public Radio series, "Making the Music."

Marsalis is the first jazz composer ever to earn a Pulitzer Prize for music. He has also received eight Grammy awards for his jazz and classical recordings. In 1996, Time Magazine named him among America's 25 Most Influential People.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt will also receive the Teachers College medal at the Master's Convocation this year. McCourt gained international notoriety with the publication of his early memoir, Angela's Ashes, and his follow-up book, 'Tis. Angela's Ashes earned him the Pulitzer Prize in 1997 and sold almost 4 million copies worldwide. It was also made into a feature film.

A devastatingly underprivileged childhood in Ireland led McCourt to come to New York at age 19. After a stint in the military, he turned his love of reading into a career in teaching. His first professor at New York University was TC's beloved Professor Emeritus Maxine Greene.

McCourt began his career as a teacher in a vocational high school on Staten Island, eventually teaching English at the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. He credits his role as a teacher to helping him learn to listen to other points of view. And by encouraging his students to write the details of their lives, he was able to do the same to put together his own memories into his now famous books.

Milbrey Wallin McLaughlin, the third TC medallist, has dedicated her life to conducting vital research on public education, particularly the needs of urban and rural youths who are considered to be at risk. Her research, funded by the Spencer Foundation, explores the extent of community-based resources available for young people through their communities, schools, faith-based institutions, and parents. She is not only looking at what is available, but what opportunities each represents for learning and positive development.

McLaughlin is also Director of the John Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities, a partnership between Stanford University and Bay Area communities. Through this endeavor she is working to build new understandings and ways to enable youth development and learning.

An ethnographic study McLaughlin conducted of secondary school students from diverse social, cultural and educational backgrounds, illustrates how responses to each student's background leads to different experiences and expectations for the student.

At the Doctoral Convocation ceremony, Richard Robinson, CEO of Scholastic, Inc., will receive the Cleveland E. Dodge Medal for Distinguished Service to Education. The Dodge medal is presented to someone whose work is not in the field of education, but who has worked to improve education in some significant way.

Before his career with Scholastic began, Robinson taught high school English in Evanston, Illinois, for two years. His father Maurice started Scholastic in 1920. Since taking over in 1974, Robinson has focused on getting more books into the hands of children than were available when he was a child. He has also led the company in television production, film and video programming and the creation of Scholastic Software. Under his leadership, Scholastic has not only remained at the forefront of educational publishing, but has become the world's largest publisher of children's books and educational materials in the English language.

Robinson graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1959. He attended Teachers College as a non-degree student in Educational Administration in 1963. He served as a member of the TC Alumni Council.

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