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Graduate School of Education


Athena Waite and Beverly Young receive distinguished alumni awards

The Graduate School of Education’s annual event, Fall Gathering, was held on September 25th in the UCR Multidisciplinary Research Building. Newly appointed Interim Dean Louie F. Rodriguez welcomed new and current students, faculty, staff, and friends, and outlined some of his goals for the upcoming year, underscoring his commitment to community engagement and student success.

A highlight of the evening was the GSOE Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony.

“For the last four years, GSOE has carried out the tradition of recognizing outstanding alumni who have exhibited a profound commitment to education throughout their career,” said Rodriguez. “This year, we present this award to two distinguished alumni and friends to the GSOE, and lifelong educators, Athena Waite and Beverly Young.”

On hand to present the awards were alumna and former UCR administrator Linda Scott Hendrick, and alumna, Professor Emerita, and former UCR Extension Dean Sharon Duffy, who, as both colleagues and friends of the honorees, spoke about Waite and Young’s strong dedication and advocacy for public education. Learn more about the honorees:


Interim Dean, Louie Rodriguez and presenter and alumna, Linda Scott Hendrick pose with Distinguished Alumni Honoree, Athena Waite
Interim Dean Rodriguez (L) and GSOE alumna Linda Scott Hendrick (far right) present Athena Waite with the distinguished alumni award.

Athena Waite (M.A. ’91) has spent a majority of her career as a dedicated educator, both in the U.S. and abroad. After receiving an elementary teaching credential from UC Berkeley in 1964, she taught elementary school and special education in the Oakland Unified School District, taught special education in New York, tutored children with special education needs in Maryland, and taught graduate equivalent degree classes in Thailand for the U.S. Army and Air Force. In 1990, Waite became the director of teacher education for the UCR Graduate School of Education where she served until retiring in 2007. During her tenure, she wrote, won, and led nine Local, State and Federal partnership grants in the areas of Education, Policy, Assessment and Teacher Education, totaling over $12 million. She served as the former Co-Principal Investigator on the Copernicus Project, and co-authored the Copernicus Project in 2004 (along with Scott Hendrick); the five-year grant was the second largest monetary award on record at UC Riverside. The project, known as Copernicus, creates a consortium for the preparation of highly qualified science teachers focusing on enriching teacher quality across a continuum of professional development. The Athena Waite Teacher Education Fund was established in the GSOE in her honor in 2007, and the California Council on the Education of Teachers named Waite “Teacher of the Year” in 2007.


Interim Dean, Louie Rodriguez and presenter and GSOE alumna, Sharon Duffy pose with Distinguished Alumni Honoree, Beverly Young
Interim Dean Rodriguez and GSOE alumna Dr. Sharon Duffy present Dr. Beverly Young with the distinguished alumni award.

Beverly Young (A.B. ’79, M.A. ’82, Ph.D. ’88) is a three-time alumna who has been involved in almost every aspect of higher education at the campus, state, and national levels. She began her career as a K-6 classroom teacher in the Banning Unified District, was an adjunct professor at both UCLA and UCR, before her 26-year tenure as a faculty member and administrator in the California State University system. Most recently, she was the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the California State University System, a position she held for 13 years before retiring in 2015. She worked with the CSU presidents, vice presidents, and deans of education to facilitate effective teacher preparation across the 23-campus system, and oversaw initiatives responding to major state policies including adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. Young was the founding director of CalState TEACH, launched the Center for the Advancement of Reading in 2002, and helped the CSU to develop high quality independent Ed.D. degree programs.