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Moravian College Grants Honorary Degrees to Two Visiting Scholars

Dr. Constanza Ceruti and Dr. Lesley Wood received degree of Doctor of Humane Letters

Constanza Ceruti Honorary DegreeBethlehem, Pa., May 1, 2014—Moravian College recently presented honorary degrees to National Geographic explorer and Andean archeologist Constanza Ceruti, and South African HIV/AIDS educator and researcher Lesley Wood.

Moravian College President Bryon L. Grigsby ’90 conferred the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters to Constanza Ceruti on April 22. Ceruti is the director of the Institute of High Mountain Research at the Catholic University of Salta and a scientific investigator with the National Council for the Scientific Research in Argentina. She is an expert in the fields of high-altitude archaeology and the anthropology of sacred mountains. The citation was presented by Hilde M. Binford, associate professor of music after Ceruti spoke at the College. During her talk, Ceruti detailed her many mountaintop adventures as an emerging archaeologist and anthropologist, and described her greatest discovery to date: the preserved bodies of three Inca children, sacrificed approximately 500 years earlier. Ceruti served as the project co-director in four of Johan Reinhard’s archaeological expeditions, funded by the National Geographic Society. Reinhard and Ceruti discovered three of the best-preserved mummies in the world, all three of them children, together with several gold and silver statues and other Incan relics, at the summit of volcano Llullaillaco (22,100 feet) on the Argentina-Chile border. Ceruti lectures widely in Europe and the United States on Incan rituals and sacred mountains.

Ceruti’s academic achievements have been recognized with the Gold Medal of the University of Buenos Aires. As the only Andean high-altitude female archeologist, she has been honored for her mountaineering achievements by the National Army of Argentina, which, for the first time, awarded the Gold Condor award to a woman. Wings Worldquest recognized Dr. Ceruti with the Courage Award, in recognition of her extraordinary commitment to the documentation and preservation of high-altitude archeological sites. She has also presented at the TED global meeting in Oxford and has received awards from the Rotary Club in Buenos Aires, and the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society in Deauville, France.

Lesley Wood Honorary DegreePresident Grigsby presented Lesley Wood, research professor in education sciences at North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa, with an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters on April 10. Wood served as Action Researcher in Residence within the College’s Education Department at Moravian in early April. She was presented for the honor by Joseph Shosh associate professor of education and chair of the Education Department.

Since earning her doctoral degree, Lesley Wood has been a fearless advocate for meaningful, action research-based approaches to HIV/AIDS and general wellness education in an African context. She has worked tirelessly and selflessly to support teachers and administrators in developing effective curricula to address HIV/AIDS education issues. Through Dr. Wood’s work, we have learned much about the perceptions, misperceptions, and responses of South African school principals, for example, regarding HIV and AIDS in their respective schools. Dr. Wood has worked tirelessly as well to shift the mindset of teachers regarding dominant cultural perspectives on AIDS and has worked to reconsider and reposition the role of HIV and AIDS within university-based teacher education.

Wood has partnered with Lesotho teachers to develop resilience in the face of the AIDS pandemic; she has spearheaded collaborative partnerships; and she has conducted groundbreaking research exploring the use of cultural stories to boost the positive adjustment of children orphaned by AIDS, while also exploring participatory arts-based approaches to build skills for HIV prevention among disadvantaged youth. She has helped Tanzanian teachers reframe their curricular approach with implications for what she terms re-curriculation of teacher education programs throughout Africa, and she believes passionately that only when every teacher is a researcher may we create indigenous epistemologies and practices for HIV prevention.

Dr. Wood has multiple times received both the Teacher of the Year and the Emerging Researcher of the Year awards within the faculty of education at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. She served as a MAC AIDS Fellow at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. Her research efforts have been recognized and funded by Reserve Bank, Coca Cola, the Stella Luvenstein Trust, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Oldenburg University, Columbia University, AusAID, and many others. She has written prolifically, sharing the results of her research in dozens of academic journals and book chapters. She serves on the editorial committee of the South African Journal of Education and is co-editor-in-chief of the journal Educational Research for Social Change.

Moravian College is a private coeducational liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college and the first to educate women. Moravian emphasizes the deliberate integration of a broad-based liberal arts curriculum with hands-on learning experiences to effectively prepare its 1,600 students, not just for jobs, but for successful careers. Moravian College excels at transforming good students into highly competent graduates that are ready to enter the workplace with confidence or shine in graduate school. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.