AU Press Releases

Alfred University selects winners of Marlin Miller Outstanding Senior Awards

Kacie Dean of Wilsonville, OR, and Zachary Grosser of Painted Post, NY, are this year’s recipients of one of Alfred University’s (AU) highest honors, the Marlin Miller Outstanding Senior Award, to be presented at Alfred University’s annual Honors Convocation today.

Each recipient – one man and one woman -- will receive a $5,000 check and a handcrafted tile to commemorate the award. They will also speak at Alfred University’s commencement May 14.

They were chosen for the honor by a campus-wide committee on the basis of scholarship, extra-curricular leadership and personal character. Faculty, staff and students may nominate candidates for the award.

“This year the committee had a particularly difficult job, and it’s pretty satisfying to make it harder for them by handing them so many wonderful nominations to review,” said Kathy Woughter, vice president for Student Affairs. “Each student in this year’s pool of Marlin Miller candidates has changed AU for the better through their scholarship, character, leadership. In making its decision, the committee chose two of the nicest, most positive people at Alfred University. They are well past establishing themselves as leaders, and have taken on the challenge of teaching and encouraging new leaders among the student body.”

Winning awards is nothing new for Dean, who has earned several during her four years at Alfred University. She received a 2010 Alfie – a student activities award – for best new educational program for Green Alfred’s Earth Week activities; Club of the Year award from Student Senate for Green Alfred’s work during 2009-10; and a certificate of recognition for sustainability efforts on campus, presented in spring 2010 by the Council on Green Efforts.

She was chosen to speak at an Alfred University Board of Trustees’ dinner last fall that showcased student achievements, and was inducted into the Alfred University chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership society, this spring.

An Environmental Studies major, Dean’s extracurricular activities reflect her passion for the environment. She is a member and president of Green Alfred and a member and co-chair of the Council on Green Efforts, a University-wide group whose members were appointed by AU President Charles M. Edmondson. She led the group in developing a Climate Action Plan to reduce emissions.

Dean was involved in documenting the University’s commitment to sustainability, a requirement of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

She volunteered with the State Department of Environmental Conservation to take educational programs into area schools, and served on the AU recycling committee. Even her work-study job – working on the University’s composting project – reflects her interest in the environment.

She participated in Focus Alfred as a speaker and organizer; is a member of Spectrum and organized an event for the club; is a member of the Political Science Club, the Student Dining Advisory Board, AU Pride and the AU Pride Senior Committee, and the Student Senate Elections Committee.

Dean completed the Gary Horowitz Leadership Development Program and the Women’s Leadership Academy and was a creator and leader for the E-Board 101 program, a leadership development program for newly elected e-board members.

About her Alfred University experience, Dean wrote, “Personal growth is not easily identified by individuals as an achievement. It is not measured through letter grades, or written on certificates. It occurs through action and choice. I had my values and my passions, and Alfred University would give me the opportunity to act on them, allowing me to grow as a leader beyond any capacity I could have imagined when I first made the decision to attend this university.”

Dean is the daughter of Ronald and Tracy Dean of Wilsonville, OR, and is a graduate of Wilsonville High School.

Grosser, who will receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Art & Design, has been a freelance designer for four years, and a year ago became co-owner of Semaphore Design Group. He and Dan Napolitano, director of the Center for Student Involvement, collaborated on the production of the Daydream Billievers comic strip.

He has been a member of the Kanakadea yearbook staff since 2008, and was its editor from 2009-11, and has served as a design and technology consultant for the Fiat Lux on-campus newspaper.

He is a member of the Design Alliance, formerly the Alfred University student chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Artists. He’s carried his design talents into Performing Arts as well, serving as a sound designer and technician for the Miller Performing Arts Center for three years. He is president and founder of the Video Happy Society, and does contract video production for the University’s Information Technology Services (ITS).

Grosser has been a resident assistant for three years, and served as vice president of the Residence Hall Council in 2008. The Residence Hall Council became the Campus Life Council and he was president of that organization 2009-11. He served as assistant director He has been active in Student Senate since his freshman year, and served as its secretary for 2010-11. He was a member of Student Senate’s Finance Committee from 2008-11. He has been a member of the Peer Review Board and the University Judicial Hearing Board.

This year, he joined the AU men’s swimming and diving team a diver.

He is a member of the Alfred chapter of the Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society.

Grosser has worked in equipment lending for ITS, and as a summer employee in the Miller Performing Arts Theater.

He has been on the Dean’s List for six semesters, and in spring semester 2010, achieved the President’s List with a 4.0 grade-point average.

“My experiences at Alfred University have not only prepared me for life, by have created memories and friendships I will cherish for the rest of my life,” said Grosser. “I have been inspired to go our into the world, excited and motivated to change it for the better.”

A graduate of Corning-Painted Post West High School, Grosser is the son of Jane Davis of Painted Post, NY.

Along with a hand-crafted tile made by Wayne Higby, an internationally acclaimed artist and professor of ceramic art in the School of Art & Design at AU, Dean and Grosser will receive $5,000 in cash, thanks to an endowment created by Robert L. MacNeil Jr. of Wyndmoor, PA, a friend and business colleague of Marlin Miller, who is a 1954 alumnus of Alfred University as well as a member and former chairman of the Board of Trustees.

While Alfred University has for many years presented outstanding senior awards to the man and woman in each class, in 2004 the awards were named in honor of Miller.