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Celebrating the Class of 2023 School of Education graduates

  • School of Education Graduation 2023
    School of Education Graduation  Doctoral Students at the Cording Ceremony  
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Doctoral Cording Ceremony

On Friday May 19, doctoral candidates joined Dean Knoeppel and faculty with families and friends to celebrate the second annual cording ceremony. Twenty-seven students received Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Education degrees in Educational Leadership or Counselor Education and Supervision. As each student's name and dissertation title were recognized, the chair of their dissertation committee placed a cord around their shoulders.

Kathryn Kryscio Ph.D. '23 with her dad and Margaret Constantino

Kathryn Kryscio Ph.D. '23 (K-12 Administration), recipient of the School of Education Award for Excellence, was chosen as the student speaker for the cording ceremony after being named a finalist in the university-wide graduation speaker competition. A testament to her positive character, she entered the university speaker competition because she wanted to share her story to model the value of education for her two young sons. She opened her speech by acknowledging that it took her 10 years to get to this moment, and her perseverance and positivity were noted in the nomination for her award.

"I have witnessed her confronting life's hurdles with a 'can-do' attitude and a smile. I am in awe of Kathryn's tenacity and resilience – never wavering despite adversity," said Margaret Constantino, Executive Director of Executive Ed.D. Programs. "Those who know Kathryn will agree that her journey has been one of excellence and perseverance. As a proud member of the Tribe, Kathryn will continue to shine in all that she does."

Tammy Gainer, School of Education Registrar

Kryscio delivered an inspiring speech that included heartfelt thanks to Tammy Gainer, School of Education Registrar, drawing a warm round of applause from students. Kryscio's father, in full doctoral regalia from his institution, joined her dissertation chairperson to bestow her cord. 

View more photos from the Doctoral Cording Ceremony.

William & Mary Commencement Ceremony

Following the cording ceremony, the university-wide commencement ceremony was held Friday evening in Zable Stadium with graduation speaker Patton Oswalt ’91, D.A. ’23, who rallied students with the statement that during times like these, "You do not have a choice but to be anything but extraordinary." Watch the university livestream event.

During the ceremony, 62 students earned Master of Arts in Education degrees in the areas of Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Special Education, ESL and Bilingual Education, and Literacy Leadership. Twenty-five students were recognized with Master of Education degrees in Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership, including both K-12 Administration and Higher Education Administration. One hundred twenty-three students received Master of Education degrees in Counseling or School Psychology. Seven students were recognized with Educational Specialist degrees in School Psychology. Twenty-seven students earned Doctor of Education or Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Educational Leadership or Counselor Education. Nine students earned undergraduate degrees in Elementary and Secondary Education.

In all, 253 students received education degrees.

School of Education Ceremony

On Saturday morning, May 20, the School of Education hosted its Diploma Ceremony to honor education graduates. The day began with the annual procession of faculty and students led by three alumni musicians of Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums. Excitement and laughter filled the air as the celebrants gathered to make their way around the building into the School of Education courtyard for the ceremony. The courtyard overflowed with friends and family in attendance to cheer on their loved ones.

Of the 253 students graduating, nearly 200 participated in the Diploma Ceremony. In addition, the ceremony was livestreamed for the first time this year, reaching a virtual audience of nearly 100. Watch a recording of the School of Education ceremony.

Board of Visitors member Karen Kennedy Schultz '75, P '06, '09, '12, rang the school bell to both open and close the ceremony. Long active in support of her alma mater, Dr. Schultz is currently a member of the William & Mary Giving Societies, has served on both her 35th and 40th year reunion committees and spent more than 10 years on William & Mary's Leadership Council.

In his opening remarks, Dean Knoeppel shared thoughts about the word transformation, noting that he was struck by the idea of "making a thorough and dramatic change in form." He reminded graduates that they are now prepared to go out into the world and create transformation as bold leaders. He also encouraged them to stay close to their alma mater and understand themselves as part of a community that embraces them.

"When it gets hard, come home," he said.

Margaret, The Lady Thatcher, Award for Scholarship, Character and Service

Each year, this medallion award recognizes a graduate student who embodies the traits of scholarship, character and service within the School of Education and university community. The 2023 winner of the Thatcher Award is Philippa Chin Ph.D. '23, who earned her doctorate in Counselor Education.

Philippa Chin Ph.D. '23

When introducing Philippa Chin, Dean Knoeppel emphasized her many contributions to the School of Education and the counseling community at large. She served as Co-director in the Flanagan Counselor Education Clinic. She was also a proposal reviewer for the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) Research Committee, a committee member and proposal reviewer for the AACTE Holmes Pre-conference Research Program, Graduate Student Member of the American Counseling Association (ACA) International Committee, and a planning committee member of the African American Graduate Women Affinity Virtual Group.

In addition, she published three peer-reviewed journal articles, with three in press, and an additional three under review or in process, totaling an impressive nine works. She has presented at 12 national conferences and four international ones. Craig Cashwell, professor of Counselor Education, made it clear in his recommendation letter that Philippa's service to the School of Education and community more broadly is inestimable, calling her "a transformative educator with a masterful combination of traits well suited to further the mission of the field of counselor education."

Hearing Chin's speech, the audience was clearly moved, and her remarks drew a standing ovation. Noting that she is descended from indentured servants and enslaved people in her family, she listed their names in a moving acknowledgement, including those of her immediate family in attendance. Reminding graduates that the simplest things sometimes have the most profound effects, she emphasized how important it is to help students when they ask for help, no matter how seemingly small the task. She recalled times when she didn't know how to do something and needed someone to show her the way, and how small and scared that can make a person feel. With this example, she reminded graduates that helping students is a valuable and noble calling .

To close her remarks, she honored her late father, who impacted those around him because he made them feel seen, heard, and valued. With the words of Maya Angelou, she concluded: "People will remember not what you do or how you do things, but how you make them feel."

School of Education Awards for Excellence

Each year, three awards — one to an undergraduate, one to a master's student and one to a doctoral student — are given in recognition of academic and professional excellence, as well as outstanding citizenship.

The undergraduate winner is Natalia Garcia '23, who graduated with a B.A.Ed. in Elementary Education. Her nominators noted how continually impressed they were with Natalia's commitments to social justice and active scholarship as well as her incisive contributions during class and inclusive attitude toward her peers. She is described as an outstanding, community-building educator and an excellent student.

The master's winner is Konstantina Phipps M.A.Ed. '23, who graduated with a master's degree in Elementary Education and certification in ESL & Bilingual Education. Phipps exceeded expectations in assignments and elevated learning through her insightful, reflective observations about teaching to the benefit of both students and faculty. Her nominators further applauded her willingness to "jump in” to any task. They offered the example of how she quickly pivoted and assisted with literacy screening at a local school after finishing an intensive summer session and before beginning fall term.

As previously noted, the doctoral winner is Kathryn Kryscio Ph.D. '23, who graduated with a doctoral degree in K-12 Administration. Kryscio was recognized and praised for demonstrating an excellence in scholarship rarely seen in the field all while working full-time within her area of study and exhibiting the professional maturity, enthusiasm, and stamina needed to meet the increasing demands of school leadership.

View more photos from the School of Education Commencement Ceremony.