Timothy McConnico of Fresno, whose geologic research in New Zealand has received national attention there and in this country, was awarded the University Graduate Medal today (May 25) as the Class of 2001 outstanding graduate degree student at California State University, Fresno.

McConnico was presented the silver University Graduate Medal by Dr. Vivian A. Vidoli, Graduate Studies dean, and a plaque by University president John D. Welty at the Graduate Degree Hooding Ceremony for master’s and doctoral candidates.

McConnico, who earned his Master of Science degree in Geology with a 4.0 GPA, is the Dean’s Graduate Medalist from the College of Science and Mathematics. He was selected as the top graduate student from the Dean’s Medalists of the nine academic colleges, schools and divisions.

McConnico will be recognized at Fresno State’s 90th annual Commencement ceremonies Saturday (May 26) at 8:30 a.m. in Bulldog Stadium. The name of the President’s Medal recipient as the top undergraduate student also will be announced at Commencement.

The President’s Medal and the University Graduate Medal are the highest honors given by the university to a graduating bachelor’s and graduate degree student. The medals are awarded on the basis of academic achievement, service to the school and contributions to the community.

During today’s Hooding ceremony, nearly 500 master’s degree candidates and nine doctoral degree candidates, from a graduating class of about 700, received their colorful hoods. Doctoral degrees in educational leadership are offered jointly by Fresno State and the University of California, Davis.

Vidoli called McConnico an “exceptional young scholar.”

“Tim speaks passionately about his research interests in geology and takes seriously the special responsibility of a scientist to share his talents with others,” Vidoli said. “He has both presentations and publications through which he shared his work with other scholars on an international level. But he also inspires children to think of learning science and math as fun.

“He remains a well-rounded individual with a surprising list of accomplishments both within and outside of his academic studies,” said Vidoli.

McConnico’s research in New Zealand and thesis on the tectonic evolution of that landmass 60 million years ago has been presented at two national meetings and he has been invited to submit a paper to the New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics on his research.

He won a highly competitive Fulbright Doctoral Research Award and will begin his studies for his Ph.D. this fall at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. In addition, that university has offered him a postgraduate fellowship.

At Fresno State, McConnico was twice a recipient of a Presidential Rodman Fellowship and is a member of three honor societies.

Vidoli said McConnico’s nonacademic work has been equally exceptional. He has volunteered many hours to tutor math, science and English at various K-12 schools and at Fresno State. He also volunteered at the Sierra Endangered Cat Haven in Dunlap and as a speaker for the Boy Scouts. He also has been teaching and coaching golf, basketball and softball at St. Anthony’s School in Fresno.

After completing his doctoral work, McConnico plans to become a university professor.

Also at the Hooding ceremony, Margie Odette Larson, an English major from Porterville, received the Outstanding Thesis Award. Her thesis for the Department of English (non-fiction prose option), “Paying the Fiddler,” is an autobiographical tale that portrays the gripping struggle of a rebellious adolescent trying to escape from a suffocating environment.

Larson’s thesis review committee in the College and Arts and Humanities said: “Seldom do [educational] institutions recognize that they are in the presence of … genius while it resides on their campus. We believe that Ms. Larson possesses such genius … ”

Also recognized at the Hooding ceremony was Emil Milevoj of Croatia, the Dean’s Medalist from the Craig School of Business, who received the Phyllis Watts Eudy Memorial Award for the Outstanding International Graduate Student.

Milevoj, who came to Fresno from Croatia seven years ago, was office manager of the International Business Programs Office and After School Program Director of Kids Invent!