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Westfield State University announces 2020 scholars, professor of distinction

Westfield State University Class of 2020 degrees were conferred in May 2020 and diplomas were mailed to graduates over the last several months. Despite the in-person Commencement ceremony postponement until spring 2021, the University announces graduates who earned academic distinction—four valedictorians, a salutatorian, and a Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence recipient. The University also announces the recipient of its highly regarded Dr. John F. Nevins Outstanding Educator Award.

Westfield State University Class of 2020 consists of 838 undergraduates (including 95 from Continuing Education) and 179 graduate students.

Four members of the undergraduate Class of 2020 share the honor of valedictorian:

Julianna Campbell, an English major from Springfield, Mass.;
Carly Thibodeau, an economics and management/environmental science major from Mendon, Mass.;
Jessie Walton, a movement science major from Huntington, Mass.; and
Vita Yurovsky, a business management major from West Springfield, Mass.

Sarah Dunn, an elementary education/liberal studies major from Holden, Mass., is recognized as the class salutatorian.

The Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence was earned by Jason Richard, a criminal justice major from Granby, Mass., in recognition of finishing with the highest institutional GPA among undergraduate students in the College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE).

“The Westfield State community is extremely proud of these scholars and all members of the Class of 2020, who earned their degrees during an incredibly unusual and challenging period of time,” Robert Kersting, Ph.D., Westfield State’s interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

In addition to the student honorees, Assistant Professor in Health Services Jessica Grabowski, MS, PA-C, was selected as the 2020 Dr. John F. Nevins Outstanding Educator Award. In 1993, the CGCE’s Outstanding Educator Award was first given to Dr. Nevins. After his passing, the award was re-named in his honor. Considerations when deciding who the recipient of the nomination-based award are “concern with student learning, openness to other views, thoroughness in covering material, knowledge of the subject area, and a commitment to graduate and continuing education students and programs.”

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