March 5, 2015

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UMass prof Rick Adrion one of five honored by President Jack Wilson

Courtesy Umass.edu

Years of work over the last decade bringing Massachusetts primary, secondary and post-secondary students computer technology literacy programs paid off yesterday for University of Massachusetts professor Rick Adrion, who Monday received the UMass President’s Award for Public Service from President Jack M. Wilson.

According to a Nov. 29 release from the UMass Office of News and Media Relations, Adrion was rewarded for “his leadership in developing, broadening, expanding and improving computing and information technology activities for students in grades K-12 and at colleges and universities across the Commonwealth.”

The former chair of the Computer Science Department from 1986 to 1994 has, according to the release, “organized countless information technology workshops over the past 10 years and expanded the Commonwealth Information Technology Initiative (CITI) from a college-level-only partnership,” broadening the program, which, according to its website, builds “teams of similar interests to work together to broaden programs, develop new ideas and implement CITI’s vision within the schools and colleges in Massachusetts.”

Adrion also heads up the Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education (CAITE), which seeks to incorporate greater numbers of women and minorities into the information technology sector. The $4 million program, funded by the National Science Foundation, operates at nine community colleges and four UMass campuses. Since 2007, the program has worked with some 15,000 students and educators throughout the state’s education system, with sessions ranging from professional development gatherings for teachers to outreach events.

Current Computer Science Department Chair Andrew Barto said in the release that he believes Adrion has worked long and hard for the recognition.

“This is a very well-deserved honor,” he said. “Throughout his career at UMass Amherst, Rick has worked tirelessly to expand and strengthen computing and information technology opportunities across the Commonwealth and beyond,” he continued. “Rick cares deeply about expanding opportunities for study and work in these fields, and through his role as director of the CAITE and co-director of CITI, he has been able to make crucial contributions.”

According to his own website, Adrion is also founder of the Applied Computing Systems Institute of Massachusetts, a center established to transfer technology initiated at UMass. He was president of the Institute from 1988 to 2000.

President Wilson also recognized four other faculty members from across the UMass system. They are: Dr. Lisa M. Gonsalves, an associate professor in the Curriculum and Instruction Department at UMass Boston; Dr. Marguerite L. Zarrillo, a professor of physics at UMass Dartmouth; Dr. Doreen Arcus, an associate professor of psychology at UMass Lowell; and Dr. Lucy M. Candib, who teaches family medicine and community health at UMass Medical School in Worcester.

In a Monday release from UMass system spokesman Robert Connolly, President Wilson said the awards serve as an opportunity to single out the contributions of individual members of the University community, which he said often go overlooked in the bigger picture.

“As a public university, the University of Massachusetts has a three-fold mission of education, research and public service,” he said. “Our educational and research efforts win many plaudits, and deservedly so,” he continued, “but it is probably the case that we do not hear enough about the public service contribution that the University makes to the Commonwealth and its citizens. So, this is a day to make it known that we take our public service mission very seriously, and that we have distinguished faculty members who are working hard and are making a difference in the lives of so many people.”

According to the release, the five professors received their awards at a luncheon at the University of Massachusetts Club in Boston.

Sam Butterfield can be reached at sbutterfield@dailycollegian.com.

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