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Staff graduates were recognized May 16 for completing degrees.

Staff graduates recognized for completing degrees

Media Contact

Lindsey Hadlock

Twenty-two staff members were recognized for earning academic degrees at the 22nd annual Staff Graduate Reception, May 16 in the Hall of Fame Room in Friends Hall.

Fourteen staff members are receiving a master’s degree, six are receiving bachelor’s degrees and two an associate’s degree. Half earned their degrees at Cornell through the Employee Degree Program, and half at other institutions through the Tuition Assistance Program.

All graduates balanced studies with personal demands at home and performance expectations at work, said Mary Opperman, vice president and chief human resources officer. In the process, they immersed themselves in a learning environment, tapping into the “essence of our university enterprise – learning and knowledge,” Opperman said. “And you have met the resulting challenges with gusto. You should be very proud of your accomplishments. We are very proud of your accomplishments …. Today is proof that the best staff in the world choose Cornell.”

Staff earning a master’s degree at Cornell:

  • Lt. Col. David Barber, master of professional studies, Army ROTC Commander;
  • Mandy Bennison, master’s, administrative assistant for class programs in Alumni Affairs and Development;
  • Darcy Branchini, master of professional studies, manager of land grant information technologies and senior UX designer for the Cornell University Library;
  • Erik Eshelman, master’s, director of Facilities Engineering and University Engineer;
  • Rachel Fives, master’s, project manager for Facilities and Campus Services;
  • Elizabeth Martyn, master’s, senior project manager for the Cornell Executive Program;
  • Blayne Stone Jr., master’s, residence hall director, Residential and New Student Programs;

Receiving a Cornell bachelor's degree, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business:

  • Anie Clark, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Cooperative Extension administration;
  • Ruth W. Howell, senior project coordinator, Facilities and Campus Services;
  • Melissa L. Mahannah, academic administrative assistant, School of Hotel Administration;
  • Michelle L. Zirbel, student services coordinator, School of Hotel Administration.

Receiving a degree from another college or university:

  • Catherine Davis, bachelor’s, Le Moyne College;
  • Sarah R. Dean, bachelor’s, Empire State College;
  • Sandra Dhimitri, master’s, Villanova University;
  • Belinda Floyd, M.B.A., Southern New Hampshire University;
  • Katherine Solis Fonte, master’s, New York University;
  • Corey Merrell, master’s, University of Denver;
  • Mary J. Newhart, M.B.A., State University of New York at Oswego;
  • Julie A. Phelps, M.B.A., Syracuse University;
  • Jacinta Anne Stark, associate’s, Southern New Hampshire University;
  • Antonio Testa, master’s, Southern New Hampshire University, and;
  • Sue Kern Wilkins, associate’s, Tompkins Cortland Community College.

Biographies of the attending staff graduates were read by employee-elected trustee Chad Coates and Employee Assembly Chair Craig Wiggers; Ted Comora ’18 provided music for the event.

The reception was sponsored by the Employee Assembly and the Division of Human Resources.