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UK Founders Day Ceremony to Celebrate Faculty Achievement


By Kathy Johnson

University of Kentucky educators and others will be honored with teaching and public service awards today in UK's second annual Founders Day Award Ceremony at 4 p.m. in Worsham Theater in the UK Student Center.  Members of the campus and local communities are invited.  A reception will follow in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Cultural Center.

The university was created by legislative act on Feb. 22, 1865. While Founders Day has been celebrated in various ways over those years, the Founders Day Award Ceremony was established last year to recognize outstanding teaching, research and public service among faculty.

The Provost's Awards for teaching and service, the Sullivan Medallions for community service, the Sturgill Award for contributions to graduate education, and the Kirwan Prize for outstanding research will be presented in today's ceremony.

The award winners in the different categories are as follows.

Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion, given to graduating students and a non-student for their dedication to community service.

Non-student winner:  Earl T. Ogata has been involved in public service ministry for more than 30 years outside of his working career.  From 1980 to 1987, he ministered to the poor and to alcoholics, and later taught English as a second language classes to Hispanics.  Ogata co-founded Iglesia del Salvador, a Spanish-speaking church where he served as co-pastor from 1999 to 2003.  He co-founded the Christian Business Coalition in 2005, and in 2006, he founded the International Fellowship to serve international students and young adults at the University of Kentucky and in Central Kentucky communities. He hosts a dinner for them each month, offering them friendship and guidance while they are away from their home countries.

Sullivan Medallion, graduating male:  Joshua Nadzam received an undergraduate degree in social work in December and is now pursuing a master's in social work. His commitment to social justice was demonstrated through his field placements at the Catholic Action Center and the Fayette County Health Department and through his extensive community volunteer work.  Nadzam accumulated more than 190 volunteer hours in the 2010-2011 academic year alone working with various organizations including the Hope Center, God's Pantry, Habitat for Humanity, Kentucky Refugee Ministries and Pine Meadows Nursing Home, to name a few.  He also helped organize a "Soles for Souls" shoe drive on campus that collected more than 2,000 pairs of shoes to be donated to people in developing countries around the world.  Nadzam accomplished this while also turning in outstanding performances on UK's cross country and indoor and outdoor track teams. He has been a Division 1 All-Academic honoree and a member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.


Sullivan Medallion, graduating female:  Elizabeth Rebmann joined the Kentucky Army National Guard in 2004, at age 17 and was stationed in Iraq from June 2007 to May 2008.  While there, she urged friends back home to send candy, which she distributed to children near her Army camp.  A few years later, while enrolled at UK, Rebmann volunteered to go to Afghanistan with the Army's Agribusiness Development Team where she trained Afghan women to grow saffron as an alternative crop to opium poppies.  While there, she also distributed coats, clothes, school supplies and stuffed animals to children donated from a collection organized by one of her former high school teachers in Lexington.  Rebmann also showed Afghan women a simple method to purify contaminated drinking water by using plastic bottles she recycled from the base. Back home in Lexington, Rebmann volunteered as a Big Sister for several years, worked with underprivileged children at the Seventh Street Community Center and initiated a pilot recycling program with a local convenience store.  Rebmann graduated in December with a degree in geography.  She was unable to attend the Founders Day Ceremony because she is working again in Afghanistan, but she received her award in a special ceremony Feb. 1.


Albert D. and Elizabeth H. Kirwan Memorial Prize, awarded to a full-time faculty member for outstanding contributions to original research or (creative) scholarship:

John Anthony has been an exceptionally influential teacher and researcher since joining the UK Department of Chemistry in 1996. He is being recognized for his research in the field of organic electronics. This area of research aims to replace the silicon-based semiconductors commonly used in modern technologies with thinner, lighter, less-expensive versions based on carbon. His work is designed to use new materials to yield the next generation of low-cost solar cells. During his time at UK, Anthony has been involved in $5.3 million in individual and collaborative research grants. He was instrumental in securing the approximately $12 million National Institute of Standards and Technology grant dedicated to constructing a new laboratory building at the Center for Applied Energy Research. He has delivered more than 20 invited lectures at academic institutions and corporations like Cheil Industries/Samsung  in Korea; Merck in Southampton, England; and 3M in Minneapolis, and he has also presented more than 30 invited talks at research conferences.


William B. Sturgill Award, presented to a graduate faculty member for outstanding contributions to graduate education:

Philip Crowley, an instrumental professor in the UK Department of Biology since 1976, has served as the director of graduate studies in the department; director of the Center for Ecology, Evolution & Behavior; director of the T.H. Morgan School of Biological Sciences; and the associate director for research at the Tracy Farmer Center for the Environment. Outside of UK, he served as editor-in-chief of The Open Ecology Journal, a visiting scholar in the Department of Biology at the University of York, England, and a Royal Society Scholar at the Centre for Population Biology at the Imperial College at Silwood Park, England. Crowley's research focuses specifically on evolution, ecology and behavior, and his lab has been praised as "the model of graduate training activity." Known for his commitment to his students, Crowley currently serves as a graduate adviser and a mentor for students conducting undergraduate research.


Provost's Public Scholar Award, recognizes faculty and professional staff whose careers are marked by sustained community engagement that successfully addresses important community issues:

Ellen Hahn is a professor in the colleges of Nursing and Public Health who has devoted a significant portion of her career to promoting public health by advancing policy for smoke-free public environments.  Hahn directs the College of Nursing's Clean Indoor Air Partnership and the Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy, which has assisted many of Kentucky's 30 cities and communities that have gone smoke-free.  She is principal investigator on a current Rural Smoke-Free Communities research project funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and she directs several community-based studies to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke and radon.  Hahn is the recipient of numerous professional awards, including most recently being inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, a prestigious recognition for nursing's most accomplished leaders.


Provost's Distinguished Service Professorship, honors consistently high level of achievement in contributions to academic disciplines and the university:

Francie R. Chassen-Lopez, who came to UK in 1988, is a professor in the departments of History and Gender and Women's Studies.  She was described by her nominator as having sustained excellence in all areas of teaching, research, service and administration. With research interests in Postcolonial Mexico, and women's and gender history and culture and society in Latin America, Chassen-Lopez has single-authored two books, co-authored two books, and authored many other short books, book chapters and journal articles.  Her most recent book was the award-winning "From Liberal to Revolutionary Oaxaca:  The View from the South, Mexico 1867-1911." She is faculty adviser to the UK Latino American Student Organization and is active in supporting the off-campus Hispanic community as well.  She is described by her nominator as "a gifted classroom teacher who thinks deeply about how to reach all the students in her classes."


Mark Dignan has been a professor in the Department of Internal Medicine in the College of Medicine and director of the Prevention Research Center since 2001, and his research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since that time.  Dignan's research focuses on cancer prevention in Appalachian Kentucky and his nominator says Dignan "has become widely recognized for his expertise in working with community partners to implement projects." One of his projects, the Appalachia Community Cancer Network, is considered a national model for developing community engagement projects.  In addition to his research, Dignan is a mentor to several junior investigators in the College of Medicine and Markey Cancer Center.


Laurie M. Lawrence is a professor in the College of Agriculture's Department of Animal and Food Sciences, having come to UK in 1992.  She is the leader of UK's equine research and teaching program, and has built a nationally respected program in equine nutrition research which has addressed a number of key nutritional issues that impact the horse industry.  Lawrence is widely published; has garnered various honors in the equine field including the first-ever Equine Science Award; and has served as a leader in many professional organizations.  Her nominator said Lawrence excels in the classroom and consistently receives high teaching evaluation scores.  She was a recipient of the UK Great Teacher Award, and her graduate students have received awards at every meeting of the Equine Nutrition and Physiology Symposium since 1997.


Joseph Straley is a physics professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences where he has served since 1973.  He has taught a wide variety of courses from undergraduate to graduate; has co-authored several textbooks and instructional materials; and has published widely in a number of research areas.  Straley is described as being passionate about improving science education at all levels in Kentucky and has made this his mission for the past several years.  His outreach service started with his creation of the "Physics Petting Zoo," which is taken to schools and other venues to raise curiosity among children about the physical world.  He is making a substantive impact on elementary and middle school science education with his online in-service courses for practicing teachers.  One course taker wrote, "If there were more physics teachers like Dr. S when I was in school, there would have been more physics majors."


Five faculty members and four teaching assistants will receive the 2012 Provost's Awards for Outstanding Teaching, which recognize special dedication and outstanding performance in the classroom or laboratory. The faculty recipients are:

Kimberly W. Anderson, a widely published and honored professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, became UK's first female faculty member in the College of Engineering in 1987.  She is director of Undergraduate Studies for the chemical engineering program; teaches a number of undergraduate and graduate courses for which she recieves high teacher evaluations; and mentors several undergraduate and graduate students in her robust research laboratory.

Irene Chico-Wyatt is a senior lecturer in the Department of Hispanic Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences where she also received her master's degree and doctorate.  Chico-Wyatt has taught an array of courses from elementary language to upper level literature and linguistics.  Her nominator said she is "extremely creative and innovative in her teaching."  She also serves as academic coordinator of the Elementary Language Instruction Program.

James F. Fox is an associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering in the College of Engineering, which he joined in 2005.  He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses and has a research interest in sediment transport and experimental hydraulics.  He teaches "Introduction to Fluid Mechanics" as an interactive video course to students at UK and Western Kentucky University as part of the joint degree program. Fox consistently receives excellent teaching evaluations and most recently won the college's highest award for teaching.

Sue E. Nokes has been with the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering in the College of Agriculture since 1995 and became department chair in 2011. Having consistently high teacher evaluation scores, Nokes has received numerous educator awards including the highest awards for teaching in both the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture.  She also has advised several student organizations and maintained an active research program.

William J. Silvia has been with the Department of Animal and Food Sciences in the College of Agriculture for 26 years, currently as professor and director of Undergraduate Studies.  Silvia  has won several teaching awards including the highest given by the College of Agriculture as well as UK's Great Teacher Award.  He also has supervised independent programs for students and created a successful student-student mentoring program for an introductory animal science course.


Teaching assistant award winners:

Mahan Ellison, Department of Hispanic Studies, College of Arts and Sciences;

Joshua T. Guerin, Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering;

Pauline Stratman, Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences; and

Nesa Wasarhaley, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences.


University of Kentucky Presdient Eli Capilouto, Provost Kumble Subbaswamy, deans and department chairs will present the awards.