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Advice from a noted scientist to Alfred University graduates: ‘Find a mentor’
5/13/17

From left, L. David Pye, George Beall and Greg Connors

From left, L. David Pye, George Beall and Greg Connors

Dr. George Beall jokingly told the 2017 graduates of Alfred University Saturday morning that he had three other degrees, including a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but the one he had just received “is my first degree in materials science.”

The lack of a degree in materials science until now was not a deterrent, however, for Beall, who is one of Corning Incorporated’s most prolific and highly regarded research scientists.

He became that, he said, because when he went to work for Corning in 1962 with a newly minted Ph.D. degree in geology, he found a mentor in S. Donald Stookey, the person who invented glass ceramics and who was already legendary at Corning.

“Find a mentor or role model wherever you go,” Beall urged the graduates. The relationship will “be as critical to your career as it was to me in mine.”

In presenting Beall for the honorary degree, Dr. L. David Pye, himself a renowned glass scientist who founded the Industry-University Center for Glass Research at Alfred University and served as dean of the New York State College of Ceramics as well as a professor of Glass Science Engineering, cited Beall’s “remarkable professional career at Corning Incorporated;  his many contributions to the advancement of glass science and engineering; and for truly representing all that is best in the international glass community.”

Three others received honorary degrees as well Saturday, including Warren Sutton, an member of the Class of 1961 who was forced to leave the University because of an interracial relationship, and Richard and Victoria MacKenzie-Childs, who earned Master of Fine Arts degrees from Alfred University.  In 1983, they established MacKenzie-Childs, one of the most enduring brands in the luxury home goods niche.

Student speakers were Cheyenne Rainford and Quintin Reed, recipients of the Marlin Miller Outstanding Seniors awards.

Recognized as the top students for the Class of 2107 were:

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Luke Perry, a physics major from Ira, VT, who earned a 3.96 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale. Perry is a son of Wayne and Laurie Bruce of West Rutford, VT, and is a graduate of Mill River Union High School.

School of Art and Design: Audrey Y. An, who is from Columbia, MO, and Ava Helen Carney of Chicago, IL, who tied for top honors with 3.87 grade-point averages. An is a daughter of Soon Cheol An and Mira Ko of the Republic of Korea, and Carney is a daughter of Kevin Carney and Mary Lou Zelazny, both of Chicago. Carney is a graduate of Northside College Prepatory High School.

Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering: Lindsey Piraino, a biomaterials engineering major, with a 3.98 grade-point average.  She is a graduate of Keshequa High School and is a daughter of Peter and Susan Piraino of Nunda, NY.

College of Professional Studies: Matthew Zahn, an athletic training major with a GPA of 3.94.  He is a graduate of North Tonawanda High School and is a son of Dieter and Cindy Zahn of North Tonawanda.

Alfred University Saturday conferred degrees on students who completed their course work in August and December 2016, as well as this semester. The University awarded 10 doctoral degrees, 100 master’s degrees and 412 baccalaureate degrees Saturday. A separate ceremony will be held June 2 in Brooklyn, NY, for the 122 students who completed their master’s degree programs in the University’s New York City program.