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.
The college recognized Dawn Bowers, Ph.D., a professor in the department of clinical and health psychology and area head for the neuropsychology division, as the Doctoral Mentor of the Year.
“She takes the time to create important learning moments in which students not only become strong individual professionals but also gain an appreciation and respect for the social responsibilities of the profession, a profession to which she has extensively contributed,” said Michael G. Perri, Ph.D., dean of the college.
The Outstanding Alumnus of the Year award was presented to Jack Fletcher, Ph.D., the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of Psychology and chair of the department of psychology at the University of Houston, who received his UF doctorate in clinical psychology in 1978. A board certified child neuropsychologist, Fletcher has conducted research in children with learning and attention disorders, and brain injury for the past 30 years. He directs a Learning Disability Research Center grant and has led projects involving neurobiological factors and learning in spina bifida and math disabilities, all funded by the National Institutes of Health. He received the Samuel T. Orton award from the International Dyslexia Association in 2003 and was a co-recipient of the 2006 Albert J. Harris award from the International Reading Association.
Robert Garrigues, Ph.D., associate dean emeritus and an instructor in the college’s bachelor’s in health science program, received the Teaching Excellence Award.
“He marvels at what our students know and learn and how successful they are after they leave here, as so many of them stay in touch with him long after they have graduated,” Perri said. “He is simply one of the most beloved teachers we have ever had in the college.”
Norman Sartorius, M.D., M.A., D.P.M., Ph.D., FRCPsych, served as the convocation distinguished speaker and received an honorary doctoral degree at a UF commencement ceremony earlier in the week. He is the president of the Association for the Improvement of Mental Health Programmes and is a member and former president of the Geneva Prize Foundation for Human Rights in Psychiatry.
Sartorius joined the World Health Organization in 1967 and soon assumed charge of the epidemiology and social psychiatry programs. He was the principal investigator of several major international studies on schizophrenia, depression and health service delivery. He was responsible for WHO’s work on the classification of mental and neurological disorders. In 1977, he became the first director of the WHO’s Division of Mental Health, a position he held until 1993. He went on to serve as president of the World Psychiatric Association and the Association of European Psychiatrists. He holds faculty appointments at the Universities of London, Prague and Zagreb, and at several universities in the United States and China. He has published more than 400 articles in scientific journals, and served as an author, co-author or editor of a number of books.