Assumption University Announces 2022 Presidential Award Recipients

Oct. 3, 2022
Assumption University's Cinzia Pica-Smith, Lisa Boucher, and Cathleen Stutz received the 2022 Assumption University Presidential Awards for their excellence in scholarship, teaching, and commitment to the mission of the University
Cinzia Pica-Smith, Cathleen Stutz, and Lisa Boucher are the 2022 recipients of the Assumption University Presidential Awards.

Assumption University has announced the recipients of the 2022 Presidential Awards for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and contribution to the mission.

Dr. Cinzia Pica-Smith, Professor of Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies has been awarded the Paul Ziegler Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship; Ms. Lisa Boucher Director of Student Health Services and Wellness Promotion, has been awarded the Kathleen Murphy Presidential Award for Excellence in Contribution to the Mission; and Dr. Cathleen Stutz, Assistant Professor of Education, has been awarded the Michael O’Shea Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching.

“I share this honor with my colleagues, both inside and outside of Assumption University, who are the people with whom I can explore and germinate ideas, conceptual and theoretical frameworks, and research methodologies,” said Dr. Pica-Smith. “I would also like to express my gratitude to the administration here at Assumption who have provided an infrastructure of support, opportunities to apply and earn faculty development grants, course reduction grants, sabbaticals-- without all of this support my work and that of my colleagues would be impossible.”

Dr. Pica-Smith is an accomplished national and international scholar in intercultural education and intergroup friendship research. She has published fifteen peer-reviewed articles, three book chapters, presented at over 25 national and international conferences, published two books, and has received numerous grants and awards including a national book prize over the course of the last 14 years. She has shared her research as a guest on several National Public Radio programs. Dr. Pica-Smith is also the chair of the Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies Department and the director of the Women’s Studies Program at Assumption University.

The Paul Ziegler Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship, received by Dr. Pica-Smith, is awarded annually to the Assumption University faculty member whose demonstrated knowledge and scholarship in their discipline, published work, and contribution to the mission of the University goes above and beyond.

“My goal has always been to take care of the students as I would want my own children cared for,” said Boucher. “The last two years were the most challenging and exhausting of my career, but they were also the most rewarding. I would like to thank the many colleagues and departments I work closely with on campus – without their tireless support this recognition would not be possible.”

Throughout her 22-year tenure at Assumption University, Boucher has been an adaptable and dependable leader in ensuring student success and wellness. Boucher played a vital role in maintaining student and community safety on campus during the Covid-19 pandemic through her dedicated commitment to organizing testing procedures, contact tracing, symptom trackers, and other important protocols. She is currently serving as Director of Student Health Services and Wellness Promotion.

The Kathleen Murphy Presidential Award for Excellence in Contribution to the Mission, received by Boucher, is awarded to the Assumption University faculty member or administrator who demonstrates significant contributions toward enhancing the mission of the University, living out the charisma of the Augustinians of the Assumption on campus, and the exploration of the Catholic intellectual tradition in their activities and involvement on campus.

“Receiving the Michael O’Shea Award for Excellence in Teaching is an honor I’ll cherish,” said Dr. Stutz. “I enjoy teaching because of its promise: with practice, reflection, and supportive conversation, I know that I can deepen my life as a learner and better help students grow as learners.”

Referred to as a “teacher of teachers” by her colleagues, Dr. Stutz is celebrated as one of the University’s model educators for her ability to inspire her students and fellow professors. In addition to her dedication to developing the minds of Assumption University’s education majors in her courses, she has presented at teaching conferences around the country and is credited with multiple publications and editorships. She currently holds the title Assistant Professor of Education at the University.

The Michael O’Shea Award for Excellence in Teaching, received by Dr. Stutz, recognizes an Assumption University faculty member teaching a full load of undergraduate and/or graduate courses who demonstrates consistent patterns of excellence in teaching and contributions to the mission of the University.

Presidential Awards have been awarded annually to Assumption University faculty members and administrators since 2008 (see bottom of page for full list of recipients). In addition to the three awards distributed this year, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Service has also been recognized in previous years to honor a faculty or administration member who demonstrates dedication to the University beyond their contractual assignments and has a pattern of volunteer service of importance to the University. Not all awards are given each year.

All full-time faculty, staff, and administrators can be nominated for a Presidential Award by any member of the Assumption community. The Presidential Awards Committee then reviews the credentials of each candidate before making their recommendations to the President of the University. The President then chooses the recipients of each award and honors them at the annual Fall Convocation.



The Kathleen M. Murphy Presidential Award for Excellence in Contribution to the Mission

2009 – David Crowley, Associate Professor of Biology

2010 – Neil Castronovo, Dean of Student Development

2011 – Michelle Graveline, Professor of Music

2012 – Fr. Donat Lamothe, Professor of Music

2014 – Amy Logue, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations

2015 – Vincent Sullivan-Jacques, Campus Ministry

2016 – Kathleen Murphy, Dean of Admissions

2017 – Cary LeBlanc, Assistant Professor of Management and Marketing

2018 – Stephanie McCaffrey, Campus Ministry

2019 – Ted Zito, Director of Residential Life

2020 – Esteban Loustaunau, Professor of Spanish

2022 – Lisa Boucher, Director of Student Halth Services and Wellness Promotion


The Michael O’Shea Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching

2010 – Richard Bonanno, Associate Professor of Italian

2011 – Lucia Knoles, Professor of English

2013 – Arlene Guerro-Watanabe, Associate Professor of Spanish

2014 – Kimberly Schandel, Associate Professor of Chemistry/Biology

2015 – B.J. Dobski – Associate Professor of Political Science

2016 – Elizabeth Colby-Davie, Associate Professor of Chemistry

2017 – Liza D’Souza, Associate Professor of Education

2019 – Adam Volungis, Assistant Professor of Psychology

2021 – Molly McGrath, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Director of Honors Program

2022 – Cathleen Stutz, Assistant Professor of Education


The Presidential Award for Excellence in Service

2008 – Patrick Corrigan, Associate Professor of Psychology

2010 – Kevin Hickey, Associate Professor of Geography

2011 – Susan Pershbacher, Professor of Sociology

2012 – Joseph Foley, Associate Professor of Business

2013 – Steven Theroux, Professor of Biology

2014 – Robert Ravenelle, Dean of Students

2015 – Joseph Alfano, Associate Professor of Mathematic

2016 – Conway Campbell, Dean of Campus Life

2017 – Susan Scully-Hill, Associate Professor of HSRS

2018 – Todd Derderian, Director of Business Services

2020 – Christine Lowthert, Director of Athletics


The Paul Ziegler Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship

2008 – Daniel Mahoney, Professor of Political Science

2009 – Demetri Kantarelis, Professor of Economics

2010 – Leslie Choquette, Professor of History

2011 – Leonard Doerfler, Professor of Psychology

2013 – John McClymer, Professor of History

2015 – Nalin Ranasinghe, Professor of Philosophy

2016 – Marc Guerra, Professor of Theology

2017 – Mark Christiansen, Associate Professor of History

2018 – James Lang, Professor of English

2019 – Greg Weiner, Associate Professor of Political Science

2019 – Paula Fitzpatrick, Professor of Psychology

2020 – Michele Lemons, Professor of Biology

2022 – Cinzia Pica-Smith, Professor of Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies