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Extraordinary Columbians Honored With Awards at Graduation

During the 2016 graduation ceremony for the School of Professional Studies, Dean Jason Wingard presented the inaugural Campbell Award and the Dean’s Excellence Award.

The Campbell Award, which recognizes a student “who shows exceptional leadership and Columbia spirit,” was established in honor of the late Bill Campbell, a distinguished alumnus of Columbia and cofounder of the Columbia Alumni Association. Drew Muller, the recipient, is a graduate of the Sports Management master’s program. According to Dean Wingard, Muller exemplifies the spirit of Columbia by both achieving academically while holding down a career and representing the Sports Management program throughout the School and the world.

Chosen through a rigorous nomination process, the Dean’s Excellence Award is the highest honor bestowed by the School of Professional Studies and is awarded in four categories: Student, Administrator, Faculty, and Alumni.

The inaugural student recipient was Adam Vigiano, who received his Master of Science in Information and Knowledge Strategy degree with a GPA of 4.15. The founder of Transmogrifier Visual Analytics and a product strategist for XL Group, Inc., Vigiano made a difference at Columbia by cofounding the New York Chapter of the Society for Information and Knowledge Management, using his time to recruit his CEO, and enhancing the format of the residency curriculum.

The Administrator recipient was Mary Jo Lynch, Director of Human Resources, who goes “above and beyond the call of duty, and never shies away from taking on additional responsibilities,” according to Dean Wingard.

The Faculty recipient was Dr. Arthur Kuflik, faculty for the Master of Science in Bioethics program. The Princeton Ph.D. has an unwavering commitment to bettering students, himself, and the Columbia community in the pursuit of knowledge, which benefits us all, said the Dean.

The Alumni recipient was Jason Rizzi, who received his Master of Science in Fundraising Management degree in 2014. The Associate Director of Major Gifts at the United States Olympic Committee, Rizzi has remained involved with the Columbia community as an ambassador, a lecturer, a mentor, and a partner.

All four inaugural recipients of the Dean’s Excellence Award serve the mission of the School and exemplify Columbia’s spirit with their pursuit of academic, scholarly, and professional excellence. The Dean offered congratulations to them all and wished that their accomplishments would inspire the Columbia community.