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Chancellor’s Medals Awarded to University, Community Leaders for Their Guidance and Expertise
A group of University and community leaders, including the University’s Public Health Team and COVID-19 Project Management Office, were recently honored with the Chancellor’s Medal for their extraordinary leadership during the pandemic, working as a team and as individuals to help guide the University community through an unprecedented and challenging time. Their efforts made it possible for Syracuse University to offer an in-person experience during the 2020-21 academic year.
During recent ceremonies, Chancellor Kent Syverud presented the individuals with the medal, which is awarded to individuals in honor of their trailblazing and extraordinary contributions to society or to the University.
The medals for the leaders were initially announced at the 2021 Commencement ceremony in May. During his Commencement address, Chancellor Syverud recognized the individuals for their exceptional efforts that led to changes in how the University had to operate to adapt to public health guidelines and ensure the safety of the campus community in dealing with COVID-19.
At one of the medal ceremonies to honor several of the University leaders on Oct. 27, Chancellor Syverud said, “Leadership is difficult under the best of circumstances. The global pandemic created circumstances that none of these leaders—or their teams—had seen in their lifetimes. Nonetheless, these individuals showed up for leadership in each of their areas of responsibility.
“They supported teams who often faced obstacles. They encouraged each other. They withstood being critiqued and second-guessed. They made decisions that at times, weren’t popular but that in retrospect, were correct. They changed course when they needed to. And they helped Syracuse accomplish what many institutions couldn’t.”
University leaders who were presented with the medal were the following:
- Lisa Dolak, senior vice president and secretary to the Board of Trustees
- Michael Haynie, vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and innovation, executive director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, and Barnes Professor of Entrepreneurship
- Robert Hradsky, vice president for the student experience
- Candace E. Campbell Jackson, senior vice president and chief of staff
- Gwenn Judge, interim senior vice president and chief financial officer
- John Liu, vice president for international programs
- Ramesh Raina, interim vice president for research
- Pete Sala, vice president and chief facilities officer
- John Wildhack, director of athletics
- Brittany Grimes Zaehringer, senior associate vice president of operations and strategy, enrollment and the student experience
In another ceremony in early October, the Public Health Team was recognized for its work to ensure a safe, healthy and rewarding residential and work environment for students, faculty and staff. This included developing and implementing testing and contact tracing protocols; implementing a robust wastewater surveillance program in residence halls; developing and executing detailed quarantine procedures; and ensuring University compliance with rapidly changing public health guidelines and directives. The team oversaw a comprehensive on-campus testing program that administered more than 365,000 COVID-19 tests during the 2020-21 academic year.
Members of the Public Health Team are the following:
- Urvashi Bhattacharya, director of strategic initiatives and project management for the Division of Business, Finance and Administrative Services
- Kathleen Coughlin, director of health center operations and administration at the Barnes Center
- Adam (A.J.) Florkowski, operations program manager with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)
- Adam Hepburn, executive director of operations in the Office of Strategic Initiatives and Innovation
- Joseph Hernon, former director of emergency management and business continuity planning
- Pruthvi Kilaru, program manager in the Department of Public Health in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics
- Brittany Kmush, assistant professor of public health in the Falk College
- David Larsen, associate professor of public health in the Falk College
- Madeline Mackowski, lab supervisor in the Office of Strategic Initiatives and Innovation
- Karen Nardella, University medical director
- Mandy Patti, project manager, Enterprise Process Support, Information Technology Services
- Deepjyoti Singh, postdoctoral researcher, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences
Members of the COVID Project Management Office were also recognized separately for their work. The members are Bhattacharya, Florkowski, Haynie, Hepburn, Hernon and Patti.
Community leaders recognized were the following:
- Indu Gupta, Onondaga County health commissioner
- Mantosh Dewan, president of SUNY Upstate Medical University and a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Psychiatry
- Ryan McMahon, Onondaga County executive
- Ann Rooney, Onondaga County deputy county executive
The Chancellor’s Medal for Outstanding Achievement was first presented in 1967 as the Centennial Medal on the occasion of Chancellor William P. Tolley’s 25th anniversary as chancellor. The Centennial Medal, given to recognize service to higher education and society, was presented in the years 1967-71. The name of the award was changed to the Chancellor’s Medal in 1972.