Alumni Awards

We honor Graduate Center alumni who have distinguished themselves in their careers (academic or non-academic) with our Alumni Awards. The CUNY Graduate Center will celebrate and award the 2023 and 2020 honorees in person on May 18, 2023 at 6:00pm at the GC in Elebash Recital Hall, first floor. We hope you will join us for the ceremony and reception! E-mail us at if you plan to attend. Advance registration requested. Learn more about our alumni award honorees below.

We encourage you to nominate exceptional alumni for consideration throughout the year by emailing us a nomination statement and letters of support ( sure to include your NameAffiliation, the Name of the Alum you are nominating, the Reasons for your nomination, and the Award Category. Please also include the alum’s Program Name too. Thank you!

Since 1961 more than 17,000 students have received advanced degrees from The CUNY Graduate Center. Our alumni have pursued distinguished careers and made outstanding contributions to New York City and around the world in numerous fields of endeavor. The CUNY Graduate Center celebrates our alumni with the following three awards:

Alumni Achievement Award, recognizes alumni of exceptional distinction who have made exemplary contributions to their field demonstrating outstanding dedication and achievement.

Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Award, spotlights alumni who have graduated in the previous ten years and have already achieved notable success and distinction in their careers.

CUNY Award, in recognition of alumni who have devoted their professional careers teaching and working for the City University of New York.

Recipients are chosen by a committee of alumni from nominations submitted by all constituencies of The CUNY Graduate Center community, including students, faculty, and graduates, based on the information submitted with the nomination. Please include supporting materials that are as comprehensive as possible which may include nominee’s resume/CV and, if possible, letters of support.  Nominations may be submitted to  We will confirm we’ve received it. If you have any questions, please contact Jim Cronin at 212-817-7137 or Self-nominations are not accepted.


  • Peter J. Delfyett (Ph.D. ’88, Electrical Engineering)
    University Distinguished Professor
    Pegasus Professor and Trustee Chair Professor of
    Optics, ECE & Physics Director, Townes Laser Institute CREOL, The College of Optics & Photonics
    University of Central Florida
  • Sophia Perdikaris (Ph.D. ’98, Anthropology)
    Happold Professor of Anthropology
    and Director of the School of Global Integrative Studies
    University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Robert B. Talisse (Ph.D. ’01, Philosophy)
    W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Political Science Vanderbilt University


  • Puleng J. Segalo (Ph.D. ’13, Psychology) Chief Albert Luthuli Research Chair; Professor of Psychology University of South Africa


  • Shawna M. Brandle (Ph.D. ’13, Political Science) Professor of Political Science and the Coordinator of Open Education, Kingsborough Community College; Faculty Member, Digital Humanities program at the CUNY Graduate Center


  • Carrie Rebora Barratt (Ph.D. ’90, Art History), Interim Director, LongHouse Reserve; former CEO and President, The New York Botanical Garden; former Deputy Director, The Met; former Curator of American Art, The Met
  • Linda H. Malkas (Ph.D. ’85, Biochemistry)
    M.T. & B.A. Ahmadinia Professor in Molecular Oncology; Dean, Translational Science, External Affairs; Professor, Molecular Diagnostics and Experimental Therapeutics City of Hope


  • Nelson J. Flores (Ph.D. ’12, Urban Education)
    Associate Professor, Educational Linguistics University of Pennsylvania
  • Patricia A. Stapleton (Ph.D. ’12, Political Science)
    Associate Director, Infrastructure, Immigration, and Security Operations Program, RAND Homeland Security Research Division; Political Scientist RAND Corporation


  • Dána-Ain Davis (Ph.D. ’01, Anthropology)
    Director, Center for the Study of Women and Society; Director, M.A. Program in Women's and Gender Studies and the Women’s Studies Certificate Program; The Graduate Center, CUNY
    Professor, Urban Studies at Queens College, CUNY; Professor, PhD Programs in Anthropology and Critical Psychology at The Graduate Center, CUNY
  • Caroline Chamberlin Hellman (Ph.D. ’07, English)
    Interim Special Assistant to the President, 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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