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K-State Today

November 22, 2021

College of Arts and Sciences announces Alumni Merit and Young Alumni awards

Submitted by College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences announces the 2021 recipients of the Alumni Merit and Young Alumni awards. This year's award recipients are Donte Bernard, psychology '13, Young Alumni Award; Travis Cloer, music, theatre, and dance, '94, Alumni Merit Award; and Geraldine Richmond, chemistry, '75, Alumni Merit Award.

The Young Alumni Award is given to alumni of the college who have excelled in their professions and provided service to their communities in the early part of their careers. Other areas of consideration include humanitarian service to society and direct services to the university and/or college.

Bernard is an assistant professor at the Medical University of South Carolina National Crime Victims Treatment and Research Center. He earned a doctorate in clinical psychology — child and family — from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019. As an undergraduate at K-State, he was a McNair Scholar from 2011-2013 and was mentored by Don Saucier. Bernard was recognized by the psychology department as an outstanding undergraduate researcher and was awarded a Doreen Shanteau Undergraduate Research Fellowship in 2013 to conduct a study examining the experience of the imposter phenomenon in minority students using a face feedback paradigm. He was also the first author on a poster presentation at the annual conference for the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (Bernard, McManus, & Saucier, 2013, "Making mountains out of molehills: Opportunities for justification in an emergency interracial helping situation").

Bernard is a prolific researcher and sought-after speaker in the area of psychological and behavioral consequences of racism-related stress and trauma among Black adolescents and emerging adults. His research also aims to identify culturally relevant protective factors, such as racial identity, that may promote positive psychological adjustment across sensitive developmental periods in the face of racism-related adversity.

The Arts and Sciences Alumni Merit Award is given to those who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and received national or international recognition in one of the following areas:

  • Distinguished service: for outstanding service or academic contributions that further the educational mission of the college. Nominees may include, but are not limited to, alumni and friends who have contributed time, effort and financial aid to the college.
  • Discovery: for furthering scientific knowledge of the nation and the world, either through research accomplishments and/or management.
  • Public engagement: for work with public entities at the local, state, national or international levels. Alumni who currently hold public office are eligible as long as their employer's rules and regulations do not preclude them from receiving such an honor, placing them in a potential conflict of interest.
  • Arts and humanities: for enhancing appreciation of the arts and humanities on a local, state, national or international scale.
  • Entrepreneurship: for creating value by offering a new product or service while assuming the risk for a new business venture.

Cloer is an active actor and singer, having played Frankie Valli in the Tony and Grammy-winning musical "Jersey Boys" longer than any other actor in Broadway and Las Vegas. He has recorded three solo CDs, containing original songs he wrote, and a Christmas album with cast members from "Jersey Boys." He is a frequent musical performer throughout Las Vegas in venues such as the Italian American Club, Myron's Cabaret Jazz at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Tuscany Suites and Casino, and The Space. He has appeared as a featured soloist with the Abilene and Las Vegas Philharmonics and has made solo appearances at the Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn, Washington, and with Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Richmond is the presidential chair in science/professor of chemistry at the University of Oregon. Richmond is a member of the U. S. National Academy of Sciences — elected in 2011, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a fellow of the American Chemical Society, the American Physical Society, the Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Association for Women in Science. In 2018 she was awarded the Priestley Medal from the American Chemical Society. This is the highest honor conferred by the American Chemical Society. In 2013 she was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama. She is currently a member of the National Science Board, appointed by President Obama. In 2017 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by Kansas State University. Her complete letter of nominations details many more contributions she has made to the scientific field.

The College of Arts and Sciences congratulates the winners of the 2021 Young Alumni and Alumni Merit awards.