Alfred University News

2022 Honors Convocation - in person!

Professor of English Juliana Gray welcomes celebrants, honorees to the 2022 Honors Convocation
Professor of English Juliana Gray welcomes celebrants, honorees to the 2022 Honors Convocation

Becky Prophet ‘70, Professor of Theater and an alumna of Alfred University, received the prestigious Abigail Allen Award during the annual Honors Convocation Friday afternoon, April 29, in Miller Theater.


ALFRED, NY – Becky Prophet ‘70, Professor of Theater and an alumna of Alfred University, received the prestigious Abigail Allen Award during the annual Honors Convocation Friday afternoon, April 29, in Miller Theater.

Numerous faculty members were recognized at the ceremony and honored with additional awards honoring their teaching: Karen Porter, Professor of Sociology, was awarded the Joseph Kruson Faculty Award for Distinguished Service to the University, and Alexis Clare, professor of Glass Science, was presented with the John F. McMahon Ceramic Teaching Excellence Award.

The Kruson Award recognizes “long and dedicated service, commitment to academic quality, and the strong sense of humanity shown to students. … The recipient is widely respected by the campus community as an outstanding teacher, faculty colleague and community member.”

The McMahon Award is presented annually in honor of Dr. John F. McMahon because of his many years of dedicated service to the University as both professor and Dean.

Two faculty members were honored as recipients of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence: Joseph Scheer (2020) and Scott Misture (2022).

And of course, there were the students, cited for their many accomplishments during their academic careers at Alfred University. They were celebrated in person (the ceremony was also streamed online), a year after Convocation was held virtually due to COVID. Juliana Gray, professor of English and director of the University’s Honors Program, addressed the Convocation audience, calling the in-person assembly “our comeback year” and noting: “Here we are, gathered together in this room and online, to celebrate the amazing accomplishments of our students.”

Gray continued: “What all of these students have in common is that they challenged themselves, pushed themselves, went beyond what was merely required of them and achieved something more, in spite of the unique difficulties of the last two years. Today we celebrate their truly impressive accomplishments.” 

Professor of French Cecilia Beach presented the Abigail Allen Award to Prophet, noting she helped spearhead efforts to install the plaque next to Jordan Hall honoring the accomplishments of Allen, spouse of Jonathan Allen, the second president of Alfred University. The award traditionally is presented “to a faculty or staff member who has contributed to the Alfred University campus and community by improving the quality of women’s lives today and whose exceptional efforts deserve recognition in their vein.”

In presenting the award to Prophet, Beach noted Prophet “has fought throughout her career for the cause of equality and has always valued inclusivity and diversity.”

Prophet was the first female chair of the Performing Arts Division, and has worked locally and regionally on voter registration and rectifying racial or social injustices on campus and off. “As a legacy to Abigail and Jonathan Allen,” Beach said, “she spearheaded the creation of the Allen Walk and led it for years. She has presented on feminist topics at Bergren Forums and Women’s and Gender Studies Roundtables.”

Prophet also has served on the Alfred Village Board, and is currently mayor of the Village; she has volunteered as an EMT and organized numerous community events, including the Traffic Light Festival, Lake Alfred Festival and a celebration of Alfred Bicentennial. “Prophet embodies the spirit of Abigail Alen,” Beach said.

Eleven faculty members received the Joseph Kruson Trust Fund Awards for Excellence in Teaching, with recipients chosen based on a student vote: Andrea Burch, assistant professor, School Psychology; Amy Button-Ervin, associate professor, Psychology; Alexis Clare, professor, Glass Science; Andrew Deutsch, professor, Sonic and Video art;  Cheryld Emmons, professor, Biology; Shelly Freyn, assistant professor, Marketing; Zachary Hamm, technical director and clinical associate professor, Performing Arts; Whitney Hubbs, assistant professor, Photography; Joseph Kirtland, associate professor, Physics; Lynn Petrillo, senior lecturer, English;  and Rob Reginio, associate professor, English.

In addition, the Faculty Scholar Award honoring excellence in research and scholarship, and awarded to recipients from each academic unit, was given to: Yavuz Keceli, College of Business; Emrys Westacott, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Melissa Dudley, Graduate and Continuing Studies, AUNY; Maureen Weiss, Performing Arts Division; Eric Souther, School of Art and Design; Junpeng Zhan, School of Engineering; and Laurie Lounsberry Meehan, University Libraries.

The 2022 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was given to Maria Voss. The Award “recognizes model students who have integrated academic excellence with other aspects of their lives, which may include the arts (creative and performing) athletics, career achievement, community service or leadership. Voss, a senior ceramic engineering major and resident of Palmyra, NY, will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Ceramic Engineering at Alfred University’s May 14 Commencement.

She currently serves as president of Alfred University’s engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi and is a member of several other honors groups, including Omicron Delta Kappa, Keramos (a ceramic engineering specific honor society), and Phi Kappa Phi. She is active in numerous student clubs and organizations, including the University’s American Solar Energy Society, Society for Women Engineers, and Outdoor Club. During the Fall 2021 semester, Voss studied abroad at the Universita Delgi Studi Di Pavia in Italy.

The 2022 Marlin Miller Outstanding Senior award recipients – Merveille Bulonza and Makenzie Cashmer – also were recognized at the Honors Convocation ceremony.

Bulonza, of Cheektowaga, NY, is a biology/pre-med major with a minor in chemistry. She has a cumulative grade-point average of 3.79 and has been named to the Dean’s List six times. A former president of the Alfred University Student Senate, she has been enrolled in the Alfred University Honors Program since Spring 2019. She aspires to attend medical school after graduation.

Cashmer, of Weedville, PA, majors in mechanical engineering with minors in mathematics and computer science. She has a cumulative grade-point average of 3.86 and has been named to the Dean’s List seven times. She is attending Alfred University on a four-year U.S. Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship and upon graduation will commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

Winners of the Marlin Miller Outstanding Senior Award are chosen on the basis of scholarship, extracurricular achievement, personal character and conduct and nominated by faculty, students and staff. The award was established to honor Alfred University alumnus Marlin Miller ’54, one of Alfred University’s most generous supporters. Miller has been a member of Alfred University’s Board of Trustees since 1972.