Bard College Awards 2022
The 2022 Bard College Awards were held on Friday, May 27 as part of Commencement and Reunion Weekend.
George F. Hamel Jr. is a founder and managing partner of Inclusive Capital Partners, and a retired founder and former chief operating officer of ValueAct Capital. Previously, Hamel was a partner at Blum Capital Partners, before which he was a partner in the investment management firm of Private Capital Management, Inc., in Naples, Florida. Hamel was also president of Carnes Capital Corporation and president of Signet Investment Corporation, as well as a financial consultant at Merrill Lynch. Hamel holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is a former board member of the University of Wisconsin Foundation, member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Council at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, trustee of Bard College and a board vice chair, and past president and former board member of North Beach Citizens, a San Francisco nonprofit aiding the homeless. He and his wife, Pamela Hamel, co-own Hamel Family Wines in Sonoma Valley, California. He is the proud father of daughter Casey and sons John, George III ’08, and Luke ’12.
John and Samuel Bard Award in Medicine and Science
Chidi Chike Achebe ’92 is a physician and an executive, with more than 25 years of health-care experience. He is chairman and CEO of African Integrated Development Enterprise (AIDE), an organization that works to bring together international companies and expertise to create sustainable, integrated delivery of medical care on the African continent. Its goal is to build 18 health facilities, beginning in Nigeria and Kenya. Achebe has also served as president and CEO of Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center, medical director of Whittier Street Health Center, and assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine—all in Boston, Massachusetts. He earned his medical degree at Dartmouth Medical School; a master’s in business administration from Yale University School of Management, and a master’s in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health. In his professional endeavors, Achebe advocates for health-care equality. For his efforts in bridging health care disparities, he was awarded the 2012 Dartmouth College Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award for Ongoing Commitment.
Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters
R. H. Quaytman ’83 is an artist who lives and works in Connecticut. Born in Boston in 1961, she received a BA in painting from Bard College and also studied at the Institut des Hautes Études en Arts Plastiques in Paris (1989). She was awarded a 1992 Rome Prize fellowship. Quaytman was director of Orchard, a cooperative gallery in New York City, from 2005 to 2008. For many years she was on the faculty of the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. In 2015, she received the Wolfgang Hahn Prize with Michael Krebber. Her works have been featured at documenta 14, the 54th Venice Biennale, and the 2010 Whitney Biennial. Solo shows of her art have taken place at WIELS (Brussels), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), Secession (Vienna), Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Renaissance Society (Chicago), and other venues.
John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Service
Michael Zach Korzyk MAT ’07 is founder and CEO of DeltaMath, an innovative, online math-learning platform he designed to help his own high school students. After earning a bachelor’s degree in theater and computer science from Boston College, Korzyk received a Math for America fellowship that sent him to Bard’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program with a commitment to teach math in New York City public schools for four years. Korzyk instead spent 13 years at Manhattan Village Academy, where he won the Sloan Award for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics in 2019. Frustrated by his students’ math struggles, he created a website where students receive different randomized problems to practice one simple math procedure. Students get credit for correct answers; for wrong answers, a fully worked-out solution shows students how to learn from mistakes. DeltaMath now employs nearly a dozen people, most former teachers, and has had more than six million student users solving 1.5 billion problems in the last year alone.
Mary McCarthy Award
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge was born in Beijing and grew up in Massachusetts. She is the author of fourteen books of poetry, including Hello, the Roses; Empathy; and I Love Artists, as well as works with numerous collaborators in theater, dance, music, and the visual arts. Her 2020 collection, A Treatise on Stars (New Directions), received the Bollingen Prize for American Poetry and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Other tributes include two American Book Awards, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and honors from the Asian American Writers Workshop. Her play, One, Two Cups, and her librettos for the Morita Dance Company were produced by The Basement Workshop. She has taught at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and is a longtime contributing editor of Conjunctions literary magazine, published by Bard College. She lives in northern New Mexico and New York City.
László Z. Bitó Award for Humanitarian Service
Bryan Billings is the Director of Global Outreach at Bard College, where he has worked since 2004. During that time he has worked on numerous domestic and international projects, most notably collaborations in the former Soviet Union.
Aselia Umetalieva is director of the International Students Office at the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where she supervises international student-support programs and cooperates with partners to develop student projects. Her work in the field of global education includes coordinating and managing programs for international students—including, most recently, those from Afghanistan—to ensure they have all the support they need. Since 2020 Umetalieva also has been institute director for the AUCA–Critical Language Scholarship Program, an intensive study abroad language and cultural immersion initiative for American college students, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. She works directly with Bard’s Institute for International Liberal Education and Center for Civic Engagement to promote study abroad programs. Umetalieva has a multidisciplinary academic background consisting of an undergraduate degree with honors in international relations from Kyrgyz National University and further study in economics. She holds a master’s degree in sociology from AUCA.
Omar Waraich, a writer and journalist, is a human rights advocate at the Open Society Foundations. He worked at Amnesty International from 2016 until 2021, most recently as head of the South Asia Regional Office, dealing with human rights in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere. He covered South Asia for Time magazine and The Independent for a decade, until 2016. He has written on politics, Islamist insurgencies, and press freedom, as well as events including the killings of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Osama bin Laden. Waraich has also written for the New Yorker, Atlantic, and Al Jazeera America, among others, and is a broadcast commentator. He was a 2013 reporting fellow with the International Reporting Project at Johns Hopkins University, and won the 2015 South Asian Journalists Association Award for editorial commentary. He holds a master’s degree in international relations from the University of London and is a graduate student in international human rights law at the University of Oxford.