Westfield State University announces Class of 2021’s top academic awards

Westfield State University’s Class of 2021 degrees were conferred in ceremonies held May 13 and 14 at Springfield’s MassMutual Center. The University proudly announced the graduates who earned academic distinction—its valedictorian, salutatorian, and Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence recipient. The University also announced the recipient of its highly regarded Dr. John F. Nevins Outstanding Educator Award.

“The Westfield State community is proud to recognize the outstanding achievements of these individuals during a challenging academic year,” said Juline Mills, Ph.D., Westfield State’s interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.

The Class of 2021 consists of 695 undergraduates (including those from the University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Education) and 256 graduate students.

Valedictorian Hannah J. Griswold of Westhampton, Mass., earned a B.S. in nursing with a 4.0 GPA.

Salutatorian Skyler J. Acconcio, a music major from Wilbraham, Mass.; finished with a 3.993 GPA.

The Department of Nursing bestowed upon Griswold the 2021 Academic Excellence Award and the Spirit of Nursing Award. Her peers selected her to address the audience at the May 12 virtual Nursing Pinning Ceremony. The Spirit of Nursing Award, selected by the students, recognizes the nursing graduate to best exemplify the art and science of nursing and as a caring professional, whom they would want to take care of one of their own family.

Griswold and Acconcio were two of only 10 members of the Class of 2021 to receive the Westfield State President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership. Acconcio also earned the Academic Excellence Award and the Award for Excellence in Music Education from the University’s Department of Music.

The Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence was given to Ashley Waugh, an elementary education major from Belchertown, Mass., in recognition of finishing with the highest institutional GPA among undergraduate students in the College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE).

In addition to the student honorees, Adjunct Professor of Social Work Yolonda Bowman, MSW, was selected as the 2021 recipient of the University’s Dr. John F. Nevins Outstanding Educator Award. In 1993, the CGCE’s Outstanding Educator Award was given to Dr. Nevins. After his passing, the award was renamed in his honor. Considerations when deciding who the recipient of the nomination-based award are: “concern with student learning, openness to other views, thoroughness in covering material, knowledge of subject area, and a commitment to graduate and continuing education students and programs.”