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Convocation Kicks Off New Year

The annual event marks the beginning of the academic year and recognizes faculty Monty winners.
By Coleen L. Geraghty

San Diego State University's annual All-University Convocation is an opportunity to review the university's recent successes and learn what the new year has in store. It's also a time to recognize SDSU's outstanding faculty with awards supported by the Office of Alumni Engagement and informally known as the Montys.

Convocation 2016 takes place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25, in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. Monty awards will be presented to the following faculty members:

College of Arts and Letters

As director of the Language Acquisition Resource Center (LARC), Mary Ann Lyman-Hager works on behalf of SDSU students, faculty, active duty military and community members. She has expanded LARC offerings in critical languages such as Arabic, Georgian, Pashto, Indonesian and Tagalog. Since 2008, more than 1,200 military personnel and ROTC students have learned language skills in a relevant cultural context, allowing them to serve abroad more effectively.

Lyman-Hager has secured more than $30 million in external funding during her 18-year career as LARC director. She has been among SDSU’s top 15 Principal Investigators for outside funding each year for the last five years, and is the only researcher from the College of Arts and Letters in that rarefied group.

College of Education

Randolph Philipp is director of SDSU’s Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education (CRMSE), an interdisciplinary community of research scholars from the College of Education and College of Sciences. A testament to his national reputation in the field, he was recently elected president of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators.

Philipp has co-directed two National Science Foundation-funded projects, each one supported by a $2.5-million award. The Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship grant, a current project, investigates the teaching and leadership of 32 specially selected secondary mathematics and science teachers. The five-year Teacher Professional Continuum project mapped a trajectory for the evolution of elementary school mathematics teachers engaged in sustained professional development related to children’s mathematical thinking.

College of Engineering

Victor Miguel Ponce
is an internationally known expert in computational hydrology and hydraulics, flood and drought hydrology, and environmental impact assessment. He has educated more than 3,500 undergraduate students and 350 master’s students in a career spanning 36 years. He recently received an honorary doctorate  from the National University Hermilio Valdizan in Peru and was a recipient of the prestigious Karl Hilgard Hydraulics Prize.

Ponce’s impressive scholarly output includes six books, 50 refereed journal articles, 88 proceeding papers, 289 non-refereed publications and  271  online  videos. His website has more  than 17,000  links with  static, dynamic and video  applications, bringing worldwide recognition to SDSU’s College of Engineering. His research has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank and the U.S. Geological Survey.

College of Health and Human Services

Thomas Packard is an outstanding teacher, innovator and leader promoting best practices in the field of social work. Since 1983, he has taught more than 4,000 SDSU undergraduate and graduate students, advised 25 master's candidates, chaired nine thesis committees and received 13 teaching recognitions. He developed SDSU’s certificate program in social work administration and spearheaded the administration concentration curriculum redesign.

A leader in promoting best practices, Packard was faculty consultant, program design, trainer, and evaluator for "Leaders in Action," an executive development program for the nine Southern California County human services agencies. He has provided leadership, advocacy, and expertise to local organizations, such as San Diego Youth and Community Services, the Institute for Collaborative Partnerships and the San Diego Workforce Partnership Capacity Building Committee.

College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts

William Yeager
has contributed to the jazz discipline as a performing artist, composer, arranger and pedagogue. During a 31-year career at SDSU, he built a stellar jazz studies program and conducted student ensembles that performed at acclaimed international events, such as the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and the Monterey Jazz Festival in California. Alumni from SDSU’s program continue to shape and influence the profession through their creative output as performers, composers, recording artists and teachers.

Yeager’s relationships in the community led to two major irrevocable bequests that will benefit SDSU students for years to come. He is also a benefactor of the program, having contributed an important collection containing musical scores and manuscripts from the “golden age" of television.

College of Sciences

Linda Gallo is a leader  in the field of cardiovascular and metabolic disorder research, and her collaborations bridge the Department of Psychology and the Graduate School of Public Health. Her research focuses on psychosocial and sociocultural aspects of  risk and resilience in chronic cardiometabolic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular  disease, stroke, and obesity. Her work aims to understand and reduce health disparities in the risk, prevalence, and outcomes of these conditions for Hispanics/Latinos and other vulnerable populations.

Gallo has served as principal investigator or co-investigator for more than 20 National Institutes of Health­-funded studies. Her Reserve Capacity Model, which describes the possible relationships between socioeconomic status, resources, psychosocial experiences and emotional responses, was published in the prestigious Psychological Bulletin.