three 2011 graduates smile

Honors and Awards

Honorary Degrees

Sanford "Sandy" and Joan Weill

Sanford I. Weill
Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

Joan Weill
Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts

Joan and Sanford "Sandy" Weill's lives can be characterized by their extensive business and philanthropic work in myriad of areas with a dedicated personal focus on education, healthcare, culture, and the arts. They strongly believe that the arts are a very important part of the growth and understanding of young people, and should always be a part of the fabric of their lives. The Weill's involvement, experience, and generous gifts have made that possible for many and they believe it can help bridge cultural divides that exist throughout the world.

As major donors to the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall, Lawn & Commons at the Donald and Maureen Green Music Center at Sonoma State University, they have shared not only their resources but the strength of their leadership and experience. Joan and Sandy Weill are a united duo, thoroughly complementing one another, as evidenced by their 56 years of marriage.

Mr. Weill has been a strong force in worldwide business as he helped create Citigroup where he served as chairman and CEO. Prior to that, he had been president of American Express Company and chairman and chief executive officer of its Fireman's Fund Insurance Company subsidiary. His affiliation with American Express began in 1981 when it acquired Shearson Loeb Rhoades for $1 billion. Shearson's origins date back to 1960 when Mr. Weill co-founded its predecessor, Carter, Berlind, Potoma & Weill. Mr. Weill served as the firm's chairman from 1965 to 1984, a period in which it completed over 15 acquisitions to become the country's second largest securities brokerage firm.

Mr. Weill is extremely active with a number of organizations. Some of those include: chairman of Carnegie Hall (since 1991); chairman of Weill Cornell Medical College (since 1995); founder and chairman of the National Academy Foundation (since 1982); chairman of the Green Music Center Board of Advisors at Sonoma State University; a member of the Board of Governors of the San Francisco Symphony; a member of the Executive Council of the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center; and a director of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation.

As a tireless supporter of several cultural, philanthropic, and civic endeavors, Joan Weill commits a great deal of her life to public service and education.

She is the chairperson of the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation. Under Mrs. Weill's leadership, Alvin Ailey has earned a reputation as one of the most acclaimed international ambassadors of American culture. The Joan Weill School of Dance at Alvin Ailey is the nation's largest facility dedicated to dance. Mrs. Weill is the past chair of Paul Smith's College of the Adirondacks; honorary board member and president emeritus of Citymeals-On-Wheels; co-chair of the New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center's Women's Health Symposium; co-chair of the Advisory Committee of the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall; a member of the Green Music Center Board of Advisors at Sonoma State University; and a member of the Executive Committee of New York Presbyterian's Lying-In Hospital.

Joan and Sandy Weill are recipients of the 2009 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy Award in recognition of their strategic philanthropic efforts.

Mr. Weill is a graduate of Cornell University; Mrs. Weill a graduate of Brooklyn College.

In recognition of their many contributions to their communities and to their promotion of education and the arts, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and Sonoma State University are proud to confer upon Sanford Weill the Doctor of Humane Letters and upon Joan Weill the Doctor of Fine Arts.

Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award

Maureen Buckley

Maureen Buckley, Ph.D.
Counseling Department

Maureen Buckley was deeply influenced by the social justice mission of the Lynch School of Education at Boston College where she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in counseling, particularly the preparation for a career of scholarship and practice that would enhance the life chances of children and families.

Since her early training, Dr. Buckley focused her counseling experience on work in school counseling and community mental health, with an emphasis on working with youth. Her scholarship focuses on socio-emotional development and its intersection with learning and achievement, as well as interventions such as mentoring that promote positive developmental outcomes for youth.

In 1998, she joined the faculty in the Counseling Department at Sonoma State University. Her initial appointment was to the Marriage and Family Therapy program. In 2005 she shifted her primary emphasis to the School Counseling program, and has served as program coordinator since 2006. Dr. Buckley's teaching responsibilities have been varied, including a mix of didactic and supervisory-based courses.

"Maureen is constantly updating her lectures and other teaching materials to reflect current research and changes in the field of counseling. Her commitment to providing students with the best education possible is very clear. While she emphasizes a safe environment in class, she very often challenges her students to step outside their comfort zone to learn and master new information or processes," says Dr. Jayamala Madathil, a colleague in the SSU Counseling Department.

Dr. Buckley strives to promote the personal and professional development of her students. Believing that counseling is an art and a science, she does her best to nurture both elements in her students. She believes that mentoring is an important part of the student-teacher relationship. She feels that mentoring goes beyond advising or supervising, to include engagement that helps students shape their future as professionals who are engaged meaningfully in the broader context of their unique life experiences.

Staff Excellence Awards

Alison Sutton

Sue Bennett
Administrative Information Systems

Sue Bennett has had a significant impact on the lives of Sonoma State students, faculty, and staff, in her role an analyst programmer in the Administrative Information Systems section of Information Technology.

Ms. Bennett joined the University in 1999, and recently has been praised for delivering improved services to SSU students while illustrating an exceptional ability to hear what needs exist and to creatively collaborate with departments. Specifically, her work with the wait list functionality of the registration process has been described as "the best registration process I've experienced since coming to Sonoma." 

Ms. Bennett has been recognized for her responsiveness to the student system needs and her dedication to enhancing user satisfaction with Common Management Systems, the computer system that drives much of the administrative processes at SSU. In addition, she has been a driving force with the graduation initiative, conducting the research and implementation of the mass update feature that allows for block enrollment of hundreds of students.

Ed Liddell

Ed Liddell
Operations and Engineering

Ed Liddell joined Sonoma State University in 1999 as a Building Service Engineer in Facilities Management. Among his many responsibilities are maintenance of the Recreation Center, Darwin Hall and the Art Building. The high level of dedication and service that Mr. Liddell provides his customers earned him this year's Staff Excellence Award.

Those who nominated him described how he went above and beyond to find better ways to keep the equipment and building functioning during the transition and remodel of Darwin Hall. His ability to quickly remedy problems during this time was integral to keeping the many sciences experiments up and running. Mr. Liddell's dedication was echoed by staff at the Art Department and the Recreation Center, where the functionality of the building and equipment can have a dramatic impact on the work and projects of students, staff, and faculty. According to Pam Su of the Recreation Center, "Ed's work exemplifies the type of excellence that I greatly appreciate and that I don't take for granted."