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Wieman Calls on Doctoral Graduates to Educate Society about Learning

“It’s a joy to see the number of children in evidence here today, because by the time I earned my TC degree, I had one of my own,” President Susan Fuhrman told doctoral students at the College’s hooding ceremony on Wednesday. “And that is so very much a part of the doctoral student’s life, particularly at TC, where children and families are both partners to and subjects for our work.”

Indeed, all of those who were spotlighted at the doctoral ceremony seemed to focus on a vision of academia as a more open arena.

In her remarks, Fuhrman highlighted Joanne Marciano and Vaughn Watson, a wife-and-husband duo who both were receiving doctorates in Curriculum and Teaching.

“Talk about the challenges of work-life balance: Joanne and Vaughn continued to teach English full time at the Dr. Susan S. McKinney Secondary School of the Arts, in Brooklyn while working simultaneously on their respective dissertations – and raising a young family, which, as many of us know, is a full-time job itself,” said Fuhrman, who noted that the couple’s children, Carmela and Carter, were in attendance.

Fuhrman also shared the story of Ricco Wright, a first-generation high school graduate from one of the poorest sections of Tulsa, Oklahoma, who was receiving his doctorate in Mathematics Education. 

“At TC, Ricco has been able to merge his interests in mathematics and philosophy,” Fuhrman said. “He also served as President of the Student Senate, where he pushed for significant improvements in on-campus amenities for students.”

To loud applause, she added, “Next week, 10 years to the day he arrived in New York City, Ricco will return to Tulsa, where he’ll become Assistant Professor of Mathematics at his alma mater.”

Carl Wieman, Professor  of Physics and Education at Stanford University, received TC’s Medal for Distinguished Service. Wieman, a Nobel laureate for his work in creating in atomic and optical physics, was honored for his pioneering efforts to improve science education. He urged the graduates to make others in higher education aware of evidence-based research about how people learn.

“What really makes humans unique is our remarkable capacity to learn about learning and to use that knowledge to improve the lives of our fellow citizens,” he said. “You represent the pinnacle of that accomplishment.”

Read At First Master's Ceremony, Nieto Urges Graduates to "Start Where Students Are At"

Published Friday, May. 23, 2014