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Trio wins prestigious Chancellor’s Award for Excellence

Chancellor's Awardees
Left to right are: Lt. Clifton Wheeler, Dr. Kathleen Gradel, and Dr. Stephen Kershnar.


The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence, a statewide honor that recognizes superior professional achievement throughout the SUNY system, was recently awarded to three Fredonians who collectively have served the campus for more than 40 years.

Dr. Stephen Kershnar, a philosophy professor since 1999, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities. He has become one of the most prolific authors on campus, having published four books and written dozens of articles for highly selective journals and book chapters.

He has also presented at numerous
conferences and philosophical forums on his works, which cover politics, ethics, religion, law and sports. He is known for promoting unpopular or previously ignored positions that often leads those who disagree with him to sharpen their own views when reacting to his reasoning. Dr. Kershnar previously taught at Wayne State University and Creighton University, and practiced law. He holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Cornell University, studied at Oxford University, and holds a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate from the University of Nebraska.

Dr. Kathleen Gradel, a member of the Department of Language, Learning and Leadership within the College of Education since 2002, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for Teaching. She utilizes a broad base of knowledge, drawing from her own expertise in various subdisciplines, to develop learning experiences that are unique and creative for her students. She designs courses and assignments that are both challenging and meaningful, engaging and exciting, and has co-taught several courses with colleagues. She is renowned for her mastery of her subjects and considered highly approachable and
accessible by students. Dr. Gradel is the co-investigator and project manager for the Collaboration Quality Instructional Outcomes Project, a $6 million program designed to spur improved teaching and leadership skills in mathematics and learning within the Dunkirk, Fredonia, Jamestown and Southwestern school districts.

She earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Virginia, and previously taught at Buffalo State College.

Lieutenant Clifton Wheeler is the first Fredonia officer to receive the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service. Prior to joining the university in 1994, he served as an officer at Buffalo State College and the Gowanda Psychiatric Center. He is well regarded for his high degree of fairness and honesty and a reputation for being meticulous in his patrol work. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2002. He is a certified instructor
of firearms, counterterrorism, lawful use of force, and general topics, and is certified in crime scene investigations, level-two fingerprint specialist and accident investigations.

Local agencies, including the New York State Police, frequently ask him to assist in their investigations. An advisor to the Criminal Justice Club, Lt. Wheeler began a scholarship for criminal justice majors and organized a golf tournament to raise the needed funds. He attended Niagara University, Haskell Indian Nations University and the University of Colorado at Boulder, as well as D’Youville, Buffalo State College and the University of Buffalo.

posted @ Friday, August 19, 2011 3:24 PM by Christine Davis Mantai

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