Alumni Awards

Each year, we honor Graduate Center alumni for their accomplishments and contributions with our Alumni Achievement Awards. Learn more about the program and past winners.


It is with great pleasure that The Graduate Center announces the winners of the 2020 Alumni Awards, which recognize excellent achievement by alumni in their fields and beyond. You are encouraged to nominate exceptional alumni for future consideration!

  • Carrie Rebora Barratt (Ph.D. ’90, Art History), former Chief Executive Officer & The William C. Steere Sr. President of The New York Botanical Garden
  • Linda H. Malkas (Ph.D. ’85, Biochemistry), M.T. & B.A. Ahmadinia Professor in Molecular Oncology; Dean, Translational Science, External Affairs, City of Hope National Medical Center; Professor and Associate Chairman of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope


  • Nelson J. Flores (Ph.D. ’12, Urban Education), Associate Professor, Educational Linguistics Division, University of Pennsylvania
  • Patricia A. Stapleton (Ph.D. ’12, Political Science), Political Scientist, RAND Corporation


  • Dána-Ain Davis (Ph.D. ’01, Anthropology), Professor of Urban Studies at Queens College and on the faculty of the PhD Programs in Anthropology and Critical Psychology at The Graduate Center; Director of The Center for the Study of Women and Society at The Graduate Center
  • Caroline Chamberlin Hellman (Ph.D. ’07, English), Professor of English, New York City College of Technology (City Tech), CUNY

2019 Alumni Achievement Award recipients:

  • James Giordano (Ph.D. ’87, Psychology – Biopsychology), Chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program and Scholar-in-Residence in the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics; Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Biochemistry at Georgetown University Medical Center
  • Maggie Nelson (Ph.D. ’04, English), Poet, critic, and nonfiction writer; Professor of English, University of Southern California

2019 Graduate of the Last Decade Award (GOLD) recipients:

  • Amy E. Hughes (Ph.D. ’09, Theatre), Associate Professor, Theater History & Criticism, Brooklyn College
  • Nandini Sikand (Ph.D. ’10, Anthropology), Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, Lafayette College

2019 City University of New York (CUNY) Award recipients:

  • Ardie Walser (Ph.D. ’91, Engineering – Electrical), Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor, Electrical Engineering, Grove School of Engineering, The City College of New York
  • Cindy R. Lobel (Ph.D. ’03, History), Posthumous Award, Former Assistant Professor of History, Lehman College; and Former Professor, Liberal Studies, The Graduate Center and Macaulay Honors College

2017 Alumni Achievement Award recipients:

  • Perry N. Halkitis (Ph.D. ’95, Educational Psychology), Dean and Professor, Biostatistics & Social and Behavioral Health Sciences, Medicine, Applied Psychology, and Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers School of Public Health | For his academic leadership and important contributions to our understanding of HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, and mental health disease
  • Michael P. Jacobson (Ph.D. ’86, Sociology), Founder and Executive Director, CUNY Institute for State & Local Governance | For his outstanding contributions to promoting good and just governments

2017 Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Award recipient:

  • Maya Hess (Ph.D. ’14, Criminal Justice), Founder and CEO of Red T, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of translators and interpreters in conflict zones and other high-risk settings | For her outstanding humanitarian and educational work

2017 City University of New York (CUNY) Award recipients:

  • William Seraile (Ph.D. ’77, History), Professor Emeritus of African American History, Lehman College | For his outstanding scholarly contributions and dedication to CUNY
  • Edward Smaldone (Ph.D. ’86, Music Composition), Professor of Music Theory and Composition. Past Director, Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College | For his outstanding scholarly and administrative contributions and dedication to CUNY

2016 Alumni Achievement Award recipients:

  • Paul Mariani (Ph.D. ’68, English), Distinguished Professor Emeritus Professor of Poetry at Boston College, for his lifetime achievement in biography, poetry, memoir, and teaching
  • Jacquelyn Days Serwer (Ph.D. ’81, Art History), Chief Curator, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, for her achievements at this new museum

2016 Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Award recipient:

  • Christopher Emdin (Ph.D. ’07, Urban Education), Associate Professor of Science Education, Teachers College at Columbia University, for his important research in novel contexts

2016 City University of New York (CUNY) Award recipient:

  • Betty Lee Sung (Ph.D. ’82, Sociology), Professor Emeritus of Asian-American Studies, City College, for outstanding contributions as a scholar and role model for students
Conducting research on plants

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