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Alumni News

The College of Education and Human Development has over 15,000 alumni – successful, ambitious, creative graduates who help create a better world for children and families in our communities.

Take a look at some of the exciting things our graduates have been doing. Click the headline below or watch videos on our UD YouTube page.

For updates on classmates, visit our Catching Up With Friends page, where you can post what’s going on in your life. Or visit our Resources page with helpful links for professional development, job openings or  social activities.

A Class Act – 1959 Class Reunion

Closeness isn’t always measured in distance; friends can live many miles away, but the bond of love formed long ago always keeps them close at heart.”  Nishan Panwar

In June of 1959, a group of twenty or so Delaware women resolved to keep in touch after graduation. They knew marriage, jobs and children would make getting together difficult, so they began a Round Robin letter that traveled wherever the women lived. There were no emails, IPhones or social media to hasten the letter’s twelve month journey, but the connections remained strong and gradually lengthened into lifelong friendships.

As women of the fifties, their options were mostly limited to traditional roles. The largest number graduated with Education and Home Economics degrees, (now the College of Education and Human Development) while Arts and Science majors came next. Just a few graduated in other disciplines.

Years passed and women’s roles changed. The group branched out into a wide variety of leadership positions. Many earned advanced degrees. They joined the work force as public school teachers and college professors; curriculum developers and published authors; business owners and community leaders; real estate agents and non-profit administrators. They won awards for their contributions and excellence in their fields. And during this time, their friendships continued to flourish. For the members 50th birthdays, they celebrated a grand reunion in Bethany Beach. The group now numbered more than 25 as other UD women joined the sisterhood. Most of their children had grown and moved away so the women now decided more regular reunions were possible.

In June 2014, fifty-five years after graduation, eighteen of the women gathered at the Inn at Wilmington. They traveled from Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Florida, Maryland, Vermont, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and, of course, Delaware. It was a time to share memories and photographs, conversation and laughter, but especially, it was a time to remember with gratitude the lifelong friendships that proved “closeness isn’t always measured in distance.”

Jill Szymanski named 2013 National History Teacher of the Year

Jill Szymanski, a graduate of UD’s College of Education and Human Development and a fourth grade teacher at Brandywine Springs Elementary School, has been named the 2013 National History Teacher of the Year.

Judges selected Szymanski, who received a bachelor’s degree in elementary teacher education in 1997 and a master’s in curriculum and instruction in 2002, from a pool of teachers from 49 states. Szymanski, who has been teaching for 16 years, is the first Delawarean to win the national honor.

Mike “Pops” Adams holds skills camp at UD

Mike Adams, a nine-year National Football League veteran and UD alumnus with a degree in human services, education and public policy ’04, returned to his alma mater on July 8, 2013, to host a free football clinic for area youth.  Adams served as team captain for the 2003 UD football team that  captured the NCAA I-AA national championship and most recently signed with the Denver Broncos in 2012.

In addition to supporting charities through the NFL, Adams oversees a foundation called Rising Stars that he started with his childhood friend Gerald Hayes, linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals.

“Rising Stars supports the kids back in my home in Paterson, N.J.,” Adams said. “We want to help them overcome the negativity in the streets.  We help them build self esteem through football camps and mentoring, we provide backpacks full of school supplies and offer scholarships for post-secondary education.”

Adams returned to HDFS in 2012 to give a talk entitled Reaching Back While Moving Forward.


table decorations

CEHD Alumni Reception – May 31, 2013

This year, the College of Education and Human Development reception brought our alumni on a ‘tour of the world’ as we highlighted our study abroad program.

Over 60 alumni, faculty and friends joined us on a warm summer evening as we enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, beverages and live music with an international flavor. We shared memories among tables decorated with Italian urns, tropical flowers and Indian spices. We dined on tortellini, cous cous and prawns while sipping rum drinks and French wines.

Grad 2013 seats and daisCongratulations to our Class of 2013!

On Friday, May 24, the College of Education and Human Development recognized 393 graduates during its Convocation ceremony. We congratulate them on their achievements and wish them all the best as they embark on a life full of opportunities, challenges and success.

This year’s student speaker was Natalie Rube. Natalie graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Teacher Education and a minor in HDFS. She participated in Kappa Delta Pi, Blue Hen Ambassador and the Women’s Club lacrosse team. After sharing the significant “Lasts” that she recognized this year, she urged her classmates to embrace the “Firsts” as they make their dreams a reality.

“There will always be the need for those who want to, and are prepared to, make a difference in the lives of children, adults, and communities. Confidence in ourselves and our desire to create a positive impact will lead us down a challenging, rewarding path. I have faith that we as UD graduates will make that positive impact on the world.”

A special congratulations goes out to:

  • Rebecca Godwin, ECE, for earning a perfect 4.0 GPA. She was one of 14 UD seniors to earn this remarkable achievement.
  • Our graduate students who sacrificed time with their family, their friends and their personal interests to further pursue their academics, giving them a deeper knowledge and appreciation of their study of choice. With this knowledge, they will be well prepared to help solve the challenges that face our children, families, schools and communities.
  • And our first cohort of students earning a Certificate in Career and Life Studies program (CLSC). Developed by faculty in the School of Education and the Center for Disabilities Studies, this two-year program provides students with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to participate and integrate in activities on UD’s campus while taking courses in life skills and career development. Learn more in Newark Post’s article.

Three CEHD alum help launch Chinese immersion program

In the fall of 2012, 100 kindergarteners attending the J. Ralph McIlvaine Early Childhood Center in Magnolia, Del., entered the state’s only Chinese language immersion program. The program was successfully launched thanks to the efforts of three CEHD alumni and the support of UD’s Confucius Institute. Kevin Fitzgerald, superintendent of the Caesar Rodney School District, embraced the concept of preparing students for a global economy, encouraging Sherry Kijowski, principal at McIlvaine Early Childhood Center, and assistant principal Brook Castillo, both CEHD graduates, to implement the program at McIlvaine ECC.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell initiated a World Language Initiative (WLI), with the goal of students mastering another language before entering high school. Kindergarteners at McIlvaine ECC spend half their day learning literacy, math, science and social studies in Chinese and the other half in English speaking classes.

School of Education Alum Wins 2012 UD Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievement

Karen A. Stout, Ed.D. ’95, was one of six recipients of the 2012 UD Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievment, an award given at Homecoming celebration on October 19. Stout has served as president of Montgomery County Community College, a multi-campus college in suburban Philadelphia, since 2001. Under her leadership, Montgomery County Community College is recognized nationally for its work in student success and its use of technology. For five consecutive years, the college has been named to the President’s National Honor Roll for Community Service and has earned recognition for its work in climate leadership.

Stout chairs the President’s Advisory Board to the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University Teachers College, is a member of the American Association of Community Colleges Board of Directors and is a commissioner with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. From 2005-2007, she was president of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. She was named to UD’s Alumni Wall of Fame in 2005 and the following year earned President of the Year honors from the American Student Association of Community Colleges.


CONGRATULATIONS to our newest alumni – the Class of 2012

On May 25, the College of Education & Human Development’s convocation was held at the Bob Carpenter Center, where 359 undergraduate and graduate students received their degrees. Shane Palkovitz, student speaker, graduating with a double major in honors human services and English, offered these words of wisdom,”The more we learn, the more there is to know.  We are now leaving one portion of student life, but we will continue to study and seek knowledge, no matter what walk of life we choose. Today is not only the end of student life, but also the start of a new student life. Today is a day of new beginnings.”

As evidence, several students shared their future plans, while reminiscing about their time at UD:

  • Amanda Rich, who received a doctorate in human development and family studies, will begin a tenured track position this fall as an assistant professor at York College of Pennsylvania in the behavioral science and sociology department. There, she will continue to work with disability advocacy groups in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. “My experience at UD has shaped my career path, made long-lasting professional and personal connections and has helped me find my passion for social justice.”
  • Anne Olivero, an early childhood education major, plans to go on to grad school, said, “My best memory about UD is the friends I made.”
  • Molly Coyne, an early childhood education major, said, “I don’t think it’s really hit me yet, that I’m done. The best part of attending UD was getting involved in a lot of groups and meeting different people who really shaped my experience here.”




Hip hop strikes a chord with at-risk youth

Tony Anderson is not just a doctoral alumnus and supplemental faculty member at CEHD, not just an administrator at an ambitious Philadelphia charter school, but also a hip-hop impresario. The artists he manages are teens who were at risk of dropping out of school until they encountered Anderson.

Read more about Dr. Anderson in the UD Messenger.


See the positive flash mob Anderson helped his students coordinate in 2011 for Mayor Nutter’s Sept. 11 ceremony in Philadelphia.

Watch the Positive Flash Mob at 9/11 ceremony and learn how the flash mob concept evolved at Mastery Charter.

(Dr. Tony Anderson explains the purpose at 1:37.)

Bunting a finalist for National Superintendent of the Year

Susan Bunting (CEHD Ed.D. ’96) was nominated as one of the four finalists for this year’s National Superintendent of the Year award by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) – the first superintendent in Delaware to achieve this distinction.

Williams appointed Superintendent for Christina School District

Christina School District has appointed University of Delaware alumnus Freeman Williams as district superintendent, effective July 1. Williams, who received bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from UD’s College of Education and Human Development, has been an administrator in the district since 1997, serving as principal of Gauger-Cobbs Middle School, executive director of student services, director of school operations, director of secondary education, and most recently, assistant superintendent for administrative services.


UD Messenger features ETE Graduate

Rhonda Weissman, Class of ’09, is featured in the UD Messenger alumni magazine, talking about her teaching experience at Achievement First Endeavor Middle School in Brooklyn, N.Y.


HDFS Alumni awarded the 2011 Presidential Citation Award

Katherine Hutchinson was one of eight University of Delaware alumni honored as recipients of the Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievement during a ceremony Nov. 11, as part of Homecoming Weekend festivities. Dr. Hutchinson, earned her master’s degree in maternal-child nursing and doctorate in Human Development and Family Studies.  Serving as principal and co-investigator on numerous National Institutes for Health-funded HIV risk-reduction studies in the United States and abroad, Hutchinson also has developed instruments and models for family-based HIV risk reduction interventions.

 Make a Gift

Show your support for you college and make a donation to the College of Education and Human Development.  Your gift to CEHD will help suport the College in a number ways:

  • Undergraduate scholarships and awards
  • Create endowed faculty chairs
  • Support research to help address the critical issues of our time.

Making a gift is simple.  Just visit make a gift to use UD’s easy, online giving form.  You can pay online via check or credit card.  Be sure to designate your funds to the College of Education and Human Development.


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