Honorees are Set for TC's 2013 Convocation | Teachers College Columbia University

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Honorees are Set for TC's 2013 Convocation

Merryl Tisch, Thomas Friedman and Lee Sing Kong will speak after receiving TC's Medal for Distinguished Service.

TC has announced the recipients of its 2013 Medal for Distinguished Service, which will be awarded at Convocation ceremonies on Tuesday, May 21 and Wednesday, May 22, at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. More than 1,200 graduates are expected to receive master's degrees in two ceremonies on May 21st. (Several hundred more students not attending will also receive their degrees.) The number of doctoral degree recipients, who will be hooded at a ceremony on May 22nd, will be known several days before the ceremony. 

The 2013 medalists, who will also deliver remarks at the ceremonies, are:

TC alumna Merryl Tisch, Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, who will speak at the first master's degree ceremony on Tuesday, May 21st at 9:30 a.m. Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Tisch has advanced the priorities that define Teachers College: practice, policy and leadership in education, health and the arts. The first woman to hold the post of Chancellor, she has served in leadership roles with organizations ranging from The Trust for Cultural Resources of the City of New York to the Mt. Sinai Children's Center Foundation to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

A former first-grade teacher, Dr. Tisch has made a lasting mark on education, which she calls "the greatest civic and civil liberties issue of our time." She has fought for higher standards and for schools to have the supports necessary to achieve them. She has advocated for better measures of the college and career readiness of students across New York State and has fought for a more equitable distribution of resources across New York City's high schools. Tisch also has worked directly to ensure that TC remains a leading force for education progress, marshaling support for the Teachers College Community School, the pre-K-8 public school that anchors TC's broader partnership with a group of public schools in Harlem. 

The journalist and author Thomas Friedman will speak at the afternoon master's degree ceremony on May 21st at 2 p.m. Perhaps more than any other journalist and author over the past three decades, Mr. Friedman, the veteran New York Times reporter, editor and columnist has identified and interpreted the trends and events that are shaping our world. His 1989 book From Beirut to Jerusalem has provided generations of readers with an understanding of how the region's history is intimately bound up with its current conflicts. In The Lexus and The Olive Tree and The World is Flat, he forecast the tide of globalization and anticipated the challenge that has confronted the United States since the 2008 financial crisis: how to retool the workforce and the core expertise of industries to meet the challenges of off-shoring and other developments that have leveled the economic playing field worldwide. And in Hot, Flat and Crowded and That Used to Be Us, he has explored ways in which the nation can get its economic groove back.

TC alumnus Lee Sing Kong, Director of Singapore's National Institute of Education, will speak at the doctoral ceremony on Wednesday, May 22nd at 2 p.m. Lee -- who earlier in his career conducted award-winning research in the application of aeroponics to commercial agriculture -- has focused on creating a quality teaching workforce that is highly skilled, well respected and committed to self-improvement. He has strengthened the partnership between the NIE and Singapore's schools in order to engage senior teachers in mentoring students and, more broadly, to connect the theories imparted in teacher training to the realities of classroom practice. This effort has been codified in NIE's 3:3:3 strategic plan and TE21 teacher education model for the 21st century. TE21calls for teachers to place the learner at the heart of what schools do, to understand learner diversity, and to collaborate with colleagues in partnerships that create a stronger community of practitioners.

Published Wednesday, May. 8, 2013


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