Congrats, Honored grads!

By Megan Bradshaw on May 13, 2019

TU Honors College community held its Convocation Ceremony May 12

Honors graduates
Honors graduates during the convocation ceremony

The Towson University Honors College community gathered to celebrate its 2018-2019 graduates’ academic achievements and service during its Convocation ceremony on Sunday, May 12, in the Stephens Hall Theatre.

The event got underway with an introduction by Terry Cooney, College of Liberal Arts (CLA) dean and Honors College rector, and a welcome address from Melanie Perrault, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. 

Immediately following, Honors Faculty Director Alison McCartney presented the Professor of the Year award to Salvatore Pappalardo, assistant professor of English

Salvatore Pappalardo
Salvatore Pappalardo

Pappalardo, who directs TU’s ancient Mediterranean studies program, joined the faculty in 2013. He received his Ph.D. in comparative literature from Rutgers and his bachelor’s degree in translation studies from the University of Trieste in Italy.

In addition to his teaching and research duties, Pappalardo is a founding member of the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion in the Department of English, a member of the CLA Research Advisory Committee and a member-at-large for the humanities on the Dean’s Council.

Tiana Cruz
Tiana Cruz

Tiana Cruz ‘10/’12—winner of the 2019 Distinguished Alumni award—gave the keynote address. 

Cruz, a research analyst at the University of Maryland Counseling Center (UMCC), received a B.A. degree in psychology, graduating summa cum laude. As an undergraduate, she completed research and wrote a thesis on developing a scale to measure attitudes toward gender nonconformity. She remained to earn a master’s degree in experimental psychology two years later.

Cruz then spent five years at Johns Hopkins University administering the medical training program and working as a research program coordinator. At UMCC, she is responsible for a wide range of duties ranging from development and funding of research projects to presentations and data archives.

Abram Fox, Honors College coordinator, presented the attending Honors graduates with certificates and Honors medallions before Rio Napoli, Honors College director, recognized students chosen for Commencement honors—banner carriers, speakers and soloists—and college service.  

Kai Johnson
Kai Johnson

Economics major and Honors College student director Kai Johnson gave the student address.

Throughout her speech, Johnson stressed how much the Honors College has been a touchstone during her time at TU. 

She has been a prominent member of the Honors College throughout her college career. She presented her research on college student consumption at two regional conferences and won a University Research Impact award.

She helped found the Undergraduate Research Club, serving as its president in 2018–19. As a student director, she managed student recruitment, social media and event planning while heading the Marketing Committee and serving on the Honors College Leadership Council.

After a summer internship following graduation, Johnson will start at Morgan Stanley as a full-time analyst.

“The most valuable part of my Honors experience was all of the opportunities I had,” Johnson said. “I have gotten to network with so many people and held the highest student leadership role in the Honors College, which have been great leadership and growth opportunities. Through the Honors College, I have gotten the most out of my college career here at TU.” 

Cooney returned to the stage to close the program with recognition of retiring faculty members and his closing remarks.

The Honors College emphasizes interdisciplinary study, research and co-curricular experiences in a commitment to the intellectual and character development of highly engaged undergraduate students. Learn more.

Towson University's Celebration of Excellence


Celebration of Excellence

This story is one in a series that highlights Towson University's Celebration of Excellence, a series of 10 special events each April and May that are designed to celebrate success and outstanding accomplishment at TU.

The series ties together key events and provides a perfect path leading up to the ultimate recognition event: commencement.