Approximately 310 SMLR students and 2,500 guests gathered in the Louis Brown Athletic Center on May 12, 2012 to celebrate the school’s 9th annual Convocation. Dean Susan J. Schurman, the presiding officer, and SMLR’s faculty proudly acknowledged the hard work of students within the school’s undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in human resource management (HRM) and labor studies and employment relations (LSER).
“I want to thank all of your family members for the love and support you have given our students throughout their careers at the School of Management and Labor Relations,” said Dean Schurman. “We know that you are very proud of them, and we are happy to have you with us today to help us celebrate their achievements.”
Student speakers included:
- Kerry Amerman, who received a bachelor’s degree in labor and employment relations. Amerman has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Brookdale Community College, which she earned in 2010. During her senior year, Amerman was a learning assistant within the LSER department for the undergraduate class section of Work, Society, and Quality of Life.
- Austen Friedmann, who received a master’s degree in human resource management. Friedman has been heavily involved in the SMLR community through service as RUSHRM co-president and past project manager of operations (2010-2011). He will join Bristol-Myers Squibb Company’s HR Development Program in June.
- Ashley Han, who was among the first group of graduates to receive a bachelor’s degree in the school's new undergraduate program in human resource management. Han was a teaching assistant within the HRM department for 5 undergraduate class sections of core courses. She has assisted Professor William Castellano with research on workforce trends and employee engagement during an independent study and will continue her work this summer. “Our future is in our hands now. We can make it into whatever we want,” said Ashley Han.
- Barry Kushnir, who received a master’s degree in labor and employment relations. He also has a bachelor’s degree from Livingston College, which he earned in 1991. Kushnir is currently working for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
Special awards were given during the event. SMLR third year students Mario Tano and Norman Wright Jr. were the first recipients of the Pamela Sue Schmidt Award for Outstanding Service to the Community. The award was created in honor of the late Pamela Sue Schmidt, a bright and energetic undergraduate student in labor studies and employment relations, whose life was tragically cut short on March 13, 2011, just prior to graduating from SMLR. Schmidt’s sister, Stephanie, spoke about Pamela and joined Dean Schurman in honoring Tano and Wright.
“Pam always tried to help other people, and this scholarship means so much to our family because we know how much it would mean to Pam,” said Stephanie Schmidt. “Giving other people the opportunity to follow in Pam’s footsteps warms our heart.”
Professor David Ferio was named the James R. Chelius Award recipient for excellence in teaching. The Chelius Award was created by the Chelius Family in honor of the late Professor James Chelius, who taught in the human resource management graduate program for 15 years. Professor Chelius was an outstanding teacher whose legacy will be remembered.
“I am honored and feel deeply privilege to receive this award,” said Professor Ferio. “However, this award is not about me. It is about the students, faculty, and Jim Chelius. I asked myself what Jim would have wanted. He was very committed to the students, not only in his teaching but in seeking was to help those financially get through the program. Knowing Maureen [Chelius] and what I know about Jim, I’d like to give back to our students.” Professor Ferio plans to establish an internal case competition and award for students.
There were also generous SMLR supporters and special guests in attendance at Convocation. They are among a distinguished group who has helped to advance SMLR over the last decade (please see upcoming story for details). Attendees included:
- Maureen Chelius, The James R. Chelius Award
- Melissa Daniel, MLER ’01, Chairperson, SMLR Alumni and Friends Association
- William M. Dwyer, BALSER ’93 and MLER ’97, president of the SMLR’s Alumni and Friends Association
- Betzaida (Betsy) Feliciano-Berrios, Assistant Dean, University College Community
- Rachel Grace, MHRM’05 and MLER ’08, State Advisory Committee member, and Assistant Vice President, Human Resources/Talent Strategies at Chubb & Son
- Diane McKay, Center for Women and Work Support Fund
- Mary Pomerantz, MHRM ’07, Mary Pomerantz Advertising Endowed Scholarship
- Barry Qualls, Vice President for Undergraduate Education
- The Schmidt Family and Friends of Pamela Sue Schmidt
- Joseph Walsh, manager of academic programs, Continuing Education and Off-Campus Centers at Brookdale Community College
- Francis and Rose Zuccarello, Anthony Zuccarello Scholarship
William M. Dwyer, BALSER ’93 and MLER ’97, president of the SMLR’s Alumni and Friends Association, and industrial relations manager at PSEG Services Corporation, welcomed the graduates into the Rutgers Alumni Association. As he noted, they are now members of a network that consists of approximately 400,000 Rutgers alumni. Congratulations to the class of 2012!
Professor David Ferio, winner of the James R. Chelius Award,
and The Chelius Family.