Class Shield Revealed, Teachers Honored At Convocation

As part of virtual Family Weekend 2020 festivities on Friday and Saturday, October 9-10, Olivia Catolico was named the recipient of the Joseph R. Fink Faculty Achievement Award while Laura Greiss Hess and Ian Madfes were announced as the Full Time Teacher of the Year and Adjunct Teacher of the Year, respectively.

Dr. Nicola Pitchford, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, revealed that the Fink Faculty Achievement Award would be presented to Catolico, professor and co-assistant of the BSN program in the Department of Nursing. Catolico’s primary research interests are in the areas of refugee and migrant health, and healthcare issues of persons in resettlement. Secondary interests are in the areas of curricular development and accreditation in a rural area of southwestern Uganda.

In 2017, Catolico received the Melba Beals Faculty Award for Excellence in Diversity.

Mojgan Behmand, V.P. for Academic Affairs and Dean of The Dominican Experience, will hand out the Teacher of the Year Awards to Laura Greiss and Ian Madfes, which were also announced on Friday during a virtual Convocation ceremony.

Hess, OTR/L PhD, is assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy. Her research interests and expertise include qualitative and mixed methods of research, school-based occupational therapy and interprofessional collaboration, neurodevelopmental disorders including fragile X syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disabilities, and assistive technology applications.

Madfes, who is supervisor of Consortium for Children in San Rafael, is a part-time professor in the Psychology department at Dominican.

Family Weekend 2020 kicked off with a virtual Convocation ceremony on Dominican’s YouTube Channel on Friday afternoon. President Mary Marcy delivered the welcoming address. Convocation salutes Dominican’s academic achievement honorees and this year more than 300 students – the largest group in eight years – were recognized for either making the Dean’s List for consecutive semesters at Dominican or for being a Trustee Scholar.


President Marcy’s welcoming remarks were followed by the alumni keynote address by Leighia Fleming ’10 MA ‘11, who is now Director of Student Equity and Title IX for Orange County in Southern California.

Convocation closed with the presentation of the Class of 2024 Shield by Associated Students of Dominican University (ASDU) president Vanessa Groppetti '21 and Brie-a'Nah Fruenan '21, who designed it. The Shield Day ceremony has been a beloved Dominican tradition since 1924. Historically, what began in the 12th century when Saint Dominic Guzman created the Dominican order, now continues every fall when the Dominican seniors officially greet the incoming freshmen with a special gift: an illustrated shield carved in wood that reflects an inspirational motto. The motto helps guide the freshmen throughout their college years and throughout life.

All of Dominican's shields, dating back to the early 1920s, are displayed on campus in the Meadowlands Residence Hall, Guzman Lecture Hall and the Shield Room.

Following the Shield Day presentation, Convocation on Friday concluded with students in the A Cappella Workshop then sang the school spirit song.

Afterward, Dominican Alumni Relations sponsored a virtual wine tasting with Biale Vineyards via Zoom from 5:30-7 p.m. Robert Biale '87 and Wendy Biale '90 were the hosts.

Festivities continued on Saturday morning with a welcome and a Dominican Trivia game hosted by Alumni Engagement. Three virtual academic sessions followed, beginning with the presentation – “How Threat Affects Perceptions of Minority Groups in the United States” – by Dr. Sarah Lee,, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior and Management in the Barowsky School of Business.

Dr. Lee’s presentation was followed by Dr.  Judy Halebsky’s presentation “Haiku and the Art of Making a Creative Space.” Dr. Halebsky is Director of the MFA program and Associate Professor of English in the School of Liberal Arts and Education.

The final academic session was hosted by Dr. Patricia Harris, RN and Associate Professor of Nursing. She presented “Lessons learned: Addressing the phenomenon of alarm fatigue in the ICU.” Harris was the project director and co-investigator for the 2013-14 observational alarm study, which examined the accuracy of physiological monitor alarms in the intensive care unit and is designed to determine the prevalence of false alarms in the ICUs at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.

In addition, Sister Mary Soher and Father Robert Haberman hosted a virtual “Campus Ministry Day of Service: 2020 Together Apart.” 

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