University of Pennsylvania’s graduate and undergraduate winter commencement
ceremonies will take place Saturday, December 13, with nearly 800 students eligible
to receive degrees.
ceremony for graduate students will be at 9:30 a.m. in the IUP Performing Arts
Center’s Fisher Auditorium. The undergraduate ceremony will be at 1:00 p.m. in the
Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.
December, the university will award two associate degrees, 616 bachelor’s
degrees, 126 master’s degrees and 46 doctorates. Students who completed their
master’s or doctoral work in August or who are completing it this month are
invited to participate in the December ceremony.
A total of
262 of the undergraduate degree recipients are graduating with honors.
Chase, a theater major in the Robert E. Cook Honors College from Dalton, will
be the student speaker for the undergraduate ceremony. Chase has won awards for
film directing and choreography, and recently completed in the Rumshpringe
International Short Film Festival. He is a member of Alpha Psi Omega Honors
Theater Fraternity and the Sketch Comedy Group and is a founding member of the
Factors Improv Troupe. He served as a member of the student advisory committee
to the IUP theater department.
Michael Paff, a doctoral degree recipient in the
School Psychology program, will be the graduate ceremony student speaker. A
native of Newburgh, N.Y., he received his bachelor’s degree in psychology
and history from Grove City College in 2004. He earned his
master’s degree in educational psychology at IUP in 2005, and completed the
certification program in school psychology in 2007. While at IUP, he was a
graduate assistant and a teaching assistant. He has worked as a
school psychologist for Penncrest School District in Saegertown and was
recently appointed as a visiting instructor of psychology at Iona College
in New Rochelle, N.Y.
A total of
13 students will be recognized for achieving a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
Krzysztof (Krys) Kaniasty, professor of psychology and IUP’s 2014–15
Distinguished University Professor, will serve as the keynote speaker for both the
undergraduate and graduate ceremonies. The Distinguished University Professorship
is an annual award presented to an IUP faculty member based on outstanding
teaching, research, and scholarly activity. Recipients retain the title for
Kaniasty is perhaps the foremost authority
on post-disaster social support, having written or co-written numerous empirical
and theoretical articles, chapters, and reports on the topic.
A member of the Institute of
Psychology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, Poland, he has studied
psychology both in Poland and the United States. He conducted and collaborated
on several large-scale longitudinal studies investigating social support
exchanges, individual and communal coping, and psychological well-being
following natural disasters and other major stressors in several countries,
including the United States, Mexico, Poland, and China.
He is president of the Stress and
Anxiety Research Society, and his scholarship has been recognized with several
prestigious honors, including STAR’s Lifetime Career Award in 2011.
Early in his career, Kaniasty was
recognized by the American Psychological Association with the Community
Psychology Dissertation of the Year award (1993). In 2006, he was honored with
the Individual Award by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education for
his book about the 1997 Polish flood and its psychosocial consequences.
A member of the IUP faculty since
1990, he has been honored with the Outstanding Researcher Award from the
College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the Sponsored Program Award for
Outstanding Achievement in Research, and the University Senate Distinguished
Faculty Award for Research. He also serves on many national and international
boards and associations, as well as many university committees.
Kaniasty has been an author or
co-editor of several books and has written or co-written many highly cited
social support and trauma chapters and articles in professional journals. He
also has served as chief editor of Anxiety,
Stress and Coping: An International Journal, and as associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Psychological Trauma.
He regularly presents his
research at national and international conferences and seminars, including
serving as keynote speaker at the Australian Psychological Society Conference;
the annual conference of the Stress and Anxiety Research Society in Munster,
Germany; and the International Conference—Contemporary Quality of Life at the
University of Opole, Poland.
He has been successful in
securing research grants totaling more than $500,000, including several
projects funded through the National Institute of Mental Health.