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Awards & Honors

Wang Family Excellence Awards Honor
Cal State Fullerton Professor, Administrator


April 16, 2003 :: No. 202

David Pagni
David L. Pagni

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David L. Pagni, a veteran Cal State Fullerton mathematics professor who has been called “one of the most respected math educators in the world,” and Claire Palmerino, director of university programs geared to fast-track the training of teachers and advising students, are among the five winners of this year’s California State University Wang Family Excellence Awards.

They were selected from nominees from throughout the 23-campus CSU system. Each winner will receive a cash award of $20,000.

The Wang (pronounced Wong) awards were established by CSU Trustee Stanley T. Wang, who gave the system $1 million to recognize outstanding achievements of faculty members and administrators. Each year since 1999, the award has honored four faculty members and one administrator.
Cal State Fullerton is the only campus with two honorees for 2003.

During the last five years, Fullerton and Cal Poly Pomona have had four winners each, more than any other campus. This year also marked the second time that two individuals from one campus are being honored in a single year.

“We are as proud as can be of the two winners, ”said Ephraim Smith, vice president for academic affairs. “Both are unique individuals. David Pagni is a leader in his field, and what Claire Palmerino is doing is the envy of all in the recruiting of teachers.”

Pagni (pronounced pawn-yee) joined the Fullerton faculty in 1969 and has received more than $13.6 million in federal grants to improve the way mathematics is taught in local schools.

He was dubbed a “math wizard” in 1996 when he dressed up as a wizard for a presentation attended by a wide-eyed group of Santa Ana elementary school students to announce a $6 million National Science Foundation grant to improve the way math is taught in the Santa Ana Unified School District.

The National Science Foundation continues to support Pagni’s efforts in this arena and recently awarded him $6.4 million to improve math programs in four Orange County school districts. This latest effort is geared to reach more than 9,000 high school and 7,000 middle school students.

Pagni, who earned his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin, was described as “one of the most respected math educators in the world” by Solomon Garfunkel, executive director of the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications.

Claire Palmerino
Claire Palmerino

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Palmerino, a member of the campus community since 1979, is the director of academic advising services, overseeing the university’s Center for Careers in Teaching and the Academic Advisement Center. The latter steers students through the university’s general education program and serves as home to undeclared majors. The Center for Careers in Teaching provides an “educational road map” for future K-12 and special-education teachers.

Palmerino, who formerly taught in the university’s Counseling Department, also helped develop the university’s successful Blended Teacher Education Program, crafted articulation agreements with community colleges and launched a program to recruit teachers. She earned her doctorate at UCLA.

Other recipients of the 2003 Wang Family Excellence Awards are Doug Davis of Cal State Bakersfield, Cynthia A. Daily of Chico State and Robert Blackey of Cal State San Bernardino.

Media Contacts: David L. Pagni, professor of mathematics, at 657-278-2671 or dpagni@fullerton.edu
Claire Palmerino, director of academic advising services, at 657-278-4805 or cpalmerino@fullerton.edu
Dave Reid, Public Affairs, at 657-278-4855 or dreid@fullerton.edu

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