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Teachers College Announces Medalists and Speakers for 2014 Convocation

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Calvin Butts

The Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, Pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church

Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin, international champion of autism rights and humane treatment of animals

Carl Wieman

Carl Wieman, Chairman of the Board on Science Education of the National Academy of Sciences

Sonia Nieto

Sonia Nieto, Professor Emerita of Language, Literacy, and Culture, School of Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

TC has announced the recipients of its 2014 Medal for Distinguished Service, which will be awarded at four convocation ceremonies in May at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave., in Manhattan. More than 1,200 graduates are expected to receive master's degrees on May 19 and 20. An estimated 178 doctoral degree recipients will be hooded at a ceremony on May 21. (Final numbers will be available directly before the ceremonies.)

The 2014 medalists, who will also deliver remarks at the ceremonies, are: 

  • Sonia Nieto, Professor Emerita of Language, Literacy, and Culture, School of Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who will speak at the first master’s degree ceremony on Monday, May 19 at 2 p.m.. Nieto is an expert in multicultural education, teacher preparation, the education of Latinos, and other culturally and linguistically diverse student populations. She has taught students at all levels from elementary through graduate school. Her book, Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education (5th and 6th editions with co-author Patty Bode), is widely used in teacher preparation and in-service courses.

  • Temple Grandin, international champion of autism rights and humane treatment of animals, who will speak at a second master’s degree convocation on Tuesday, May 20 at 10 a.m.. Grandin, a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University, has combined her first-hand experience with autism with an interest in animal welfare to become a pioneer of autism rights and the humane treatment of livestock. Grandin was diagnosed as autistic as a child, but defied the odds by going on to earn a doctorate in animal science. Through her writing, public speaking and advocacy, she has changed the public perception of people with autism as disabled, and served as a role model of accomplishment and success for people with high-functioning autism. In 2010, HBO released the biopic Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes in the title role, and Time magazine named Grandin among the 100 most influential people. In 2010, Grandin also participated by phone in a conference sponsored by TC’s Opportunities and Outcomes for People with Disabilities.

  • The Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, Pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, will address the third master’s convocation on Tuesday, May 20, at 2 p.m. Under Dr. Butts’ leadership, Abyssinian Baptist Church is committed to the expansion and maintenance of its Christian mission through evangelism, pastoral care, Christian education, social service delivery and community development. Butts was one of the founders and is Chairman of the Abyssinian Development Corp., a comprehensive, community-based, not-for-profit organization responsible for more than $600 million in housing and commercial development in Harlem. He was also instrumental in establishing the Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change—a public, state-of-the-art, intermediate and high school in Harlem, and he is the visionary behind the Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School.

  • Nobel laureate Carl Wieman, Chairman of the Board on Science Education of the National Academy of Sciences, will address the doctoral hooding ceremony on Wednesday, May 21, at 2 p.m. In 2001, Wieman was the co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics for producing the first true Bose-Einstein condensate: the “super atom,” in which, at extremely low temperatures, atoms lose their individuality. Wieman has made significant achievements in his research-based efforts to improve science education. As Associate Director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, Wieman has highlighted his progressive vision of science education to a national audience. He spearheaded the development and free distribution of a vast suite of simulations that breathe new life into the way that the sciences and math are taught and learned.



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