Graduates and loved ones brought The-Hawk-Will-Never-Die spirit to Saturday’s Commencement ceremonies despite near record-high temperatures.
Usha Rao, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, is this year’s recipient of the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Dr. Rao is an accomplished teacher of chemistry, with a reputation for engaging students in both upper-division and introductory level courses. In recognition of her accomplished research, in 2021, she was named a distinguished lecturer by the Association for Women Geoscientists and, this year, was invited by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to participate in the Pennsylvania Women in STEM video series.
Dr. Rao has also served as the Associate Director of the John P. McNulty Scholars program for gifted undergraduate women in STEM, and she is completing her second term as Director of the Office of Teaching and Learning. Her success as a mentor of students and faculty was recognized most recently when she received the 2021 Elizabeth Bingham Mentorship Award from the Philadelphia Chapter of the Association for Women in Science. Dr. Rao’s approach to teaching is firmly grounded in our Jesuit mission. She knows from experience that we must meet each student where they are; facilitate their growth, and challenge them to realize their full potential.
Peter Clark, S.J., Ph.D. '75, professor of theology, John McShain Chair of Ethics and director of the Institute for Clinical Bioethics, is this year’s recipient of the Tengelmann Award for Distinguished Research and Teaching. Professor Clark has published 4 books, multiple book chapters, and dozens of co-authored articles on the ethics of medical treatment, often focusing on the most vulnerable patient populations. He serves as the Bioethicist for the Mercy Health System of Philadelphia, the Shriner’s Hospital for Children and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, and is a consultant for eleven other hospitals in the Mercy and Jefferson system. His scholarship and teaching are seamlessly intertwined, as he works with SJU undergraduates and graduates, medical residents and doctors to elevate the level of care for all patients, and especially those at the margins of society. His Healthcare Promoters program provides medical screening, dental screening and health education and support services to immigrant communities in West Philadelphia, providing our students direct experience with the public health issues in our region. In his research and teaching, Fr. Clark insists on an evidence based approach to finding solutions to the most pressing issues of our time.
Ann Green, Ph.D., professor of English and Dirk Warren '50 Sesquicentennial Faculty Chair (Humanities), is this year’s recipient of the Catherine S. Murray Lifetime Service Award. Dr. Green has been a leader in university governance, serving three elected terms on Faculty Senate, including a term as Senate President. She has held comparable leadership roles on multiple governance committees, including the Faculty Policies and Procedures committee, the Advisory Board for Faculty Compensation and SJU’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors. Through her service, Dr. Green has consistently worked to make Saint Joseph’s a diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist community and she has distinguished herself as a vocal advocate for others, supporting the welfare of women, marginalized people, and LGBTQ+ faculty, students, and staff through her work on the Committee on Harassment and Sexual Violence, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Diversity Commission, and The Alliance. Her dedication to service also permeates her teaching and scholarship. She teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level on writing about race, class, and gender, and her service-learning courses give students direct experience with the reality of social injustice in our world.