The UF College of Public Health and Health Professions celebrated outstanding students and graduates at the annual convocation ceremony May 2.
The college’s departments and programs presented students with awards and scholarships. Students graduating magna cum laude and summa cum laude — high and highest honors, respectively — received their honors cords at the ceremony.
In his welcome remarks to students and their family members, David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., UF senior vice president for health affairs and president of UF Health, applauded the graduates’ choice of careers in public health and the health professions.
“Truly, every morning for the past 35 years since I received my health profession degree, I wake up raring to go, looking forward to the day ahead,” he said. “I trust the same will be true for you.”
The college recognized David Janicke, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of clinical and health psychology and area head for the pediatric psychology division, as the Doctoral Mentor of the Year. He has served as chair or member of more than 70 doctoral and master’s committees.
The Outstanding Alumnus of the Year award was presented to Robin Morris, Ph.D., the associate provost for strategic initiatives and innovation and Regent’s Professor of Psychology at Georgia State University, who received his UF doctorate in clinical psychology in 1982. He has focused his scholarly and clinical work on the biological and environmental factors that influence academic, attentional and social development in children and adolescents. He is also known for his methodological, test construction and psychometric expertise, and he has received federal grant funding in these areas for more than 30 years.
Mary Peoples-Sheps, Dr.P.H., served as the convocation distinguished speaker. As the college’s senior associate dean, she has been instrumental in the development and implementation of public health at UF, including the establishment of public health certificate and degree programs as well as new departments and infrastructure within the college. She twice led PHHP’s multi-year effort to achieve accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health. In honor of her leadership in interdisciplinary collaboration, PHHP Dean Michael G. Perri presented Peoples-Sheps with the college’s Mase Distinguished Leadership Award. The award is named for the college’s founding dean Darrel J. Mase, a pioneer in interdisciplinary health education.
Peoples-Sheps advised graduates “As you make decisions about your career, a helpful guideline is to consider who you want to be 40 years from now when you look back over your choices. Notice I said who you will be, not what you will be doing. Your career is part of what will become a very multifaceted life.”
Graduates have a responsibility to contribute to their communities and support the next generation of health professionals, Peoples-Sheps said.
“Throughout your careers and personal lives, you will be in positions to enhance opportunities not only for individual clients or the specific populations you focus on professionally, but for your fellow citizens through community action,” she said. “These activities will not only fulfill your social responsibility; they will enrich your lives, and greatly influence the person you become.”