During the 2017 Graduation Ceremony for the School of Professional Studies, Dean Jason Wingard presented The Campbell Award and the Dean’s Excellence Award to individuals who embody the values of the School: leadership, academics, community service, and professional achievement.
The Campbell Award, established in honor of the late Bill Campbell, cofounder of the Columbia Alumni Association and a distinguished alumnus, recognizes a student who shows exceptional leadership and Columbia spirit. This year’s recipient was Ryan Monell, the Director of Policy and Communications for Councilmember Rafael Salamanca, Jr. at the New York City Council, and a graduate of the Executive M.S. in Strategic Communication. He was the SPS Student Senator for 2016–2017 and a founding member of the SPS Student Association, building the constitutional structure and collaborating across schools and senior leadership. As a Strategic Communication student, he served as a mentor and connected students with job opportunities in political communications.
Chosen through a rigorous nomination process, the Dean’s Excellence Awards are the highest honors bestowed by the School, given to individuals who show distinction in academics, professional achievements, and the SPS community. The winners are awarded in four categories: Student, Administrator, Faculty, and Alumni.
The student recipient was Stephen James Kopanidis, who enrolled in the M.S. in Sports Management in Fall 2015. Raised in Melbourne, Australia, Kopanidis moved to New York for the program, and he began working at the Madison Square Garden Company, where he rose through the ranks to his current position as an Analyst in Pricing & Inventory Optimization. As a Sports Management student, he was part of the team that won the inaugural Columbia University Basketball Analytics Case Competition. He graduated with a 4.11 GPA, and he will return to the program to work as a TA in Sports Revenue Strategies & Analytics and Sport Accounting & Finance.
The administrative recipient was Dominique Studer. She first started working at the School of Professional Studies in 2012 as part of the High School Summer Program. She returned to Columbia in 2015 as a student advisor. Now serving as the Assistant Director of Student Lifecycle Support, Studer supports students in achieving their educational goals, while seeking out ways to improve their SPS experience.
The faculty recipient was Dr. Lynnette Widder, who is a Lecturer in Discipline in the Sustainability Management program. Since 2012, she has taught courses such as the Hungry City Workshop and Responsiveness, Resilience in the Built Environment, Building Energy Workshop, and an Integrative Capstone Workshop. She plays a role in admissions for SPS and SUMA, and serves as a member of the Committee on Instruction. She is the principal and cofounder of aardvarchitecture, a boutique architectural practice that specializes in high-quality, innovative construction of residential buildings.
The alumni recipient was Claudia Lam, who received an M.S. in Technology Management in 2010 and now works in the aerospace and satellite industry. As a Program Manager at Space Systems Loral, she manages a portfolio of 50+ projects and a multimillion dollar budget. She remains connected to Columbia as a member of the Alumni Trustee Nominating Committee, the Alumni Advisory Council, the Alumni Club of Northern California, and as a Course Associate in Technology Management.