Faculty members and student honored at Presidential Awards Ceremony

Drs. Harris and Spilling with President Forsee; Photo by Bruce Mathews

Drs. Harris and Spilling with President Forsee; Photo by Bruce Mathews

The University of Missouri System honored six faculty members and one student in an awards ceremony hosted by UM system President Gary Forsee and his wife, Sherry, on June 4, 2009, at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. President Forsee congratulated the award winners and thanked them for their contributions to their professions and dedication to the university.

Curators’ Award for Scholarly Excellence
The Curators’ Award for Scholarly Excellence is given annually to the author of the most outstanding book by a faculty member from any one of the four campuses and published by the University of Missouri Press.

University of Missouri Board of Curators Chair Bo Fraser presented the Curators’ Award for Scholarly Excellence to Tom Quirk, professor of English at the University of Missouri-Columbia, for his book Mark Twain and Human Nature. Quirk’s book is a meditation on Twain’s understanding of human nature and how it evolved and deepened, as well as the social and scientific context that shaped Twain’s thinking. An editor on other books about Mark Twain called Quirk’s book “essential reading for any student or scholar” and “one of the most important books attempting to come to terms with the evolution of Twain’s ‘gospel of man’—especially his preoccupation with human nature—to be written.”

Presidential Award for Research and Creativity
This award recognizes a faculty member with a sustained record of national and international quality research and creativity.

The Presidential Award for Research and Creativity was presented to Miles Patterson, professor of psychology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Patterson is a leading international scholar in the area of nonverbal communication and has systematically developed a program of research that includes three major theories, two of which have been published in Psychology Review, the most prestigious and selective theory outlet in psychology. Patterson is the author of 89 publications, including two books, 20 chapters in scholarly publications and numerous empirical, review and theoretical articles.

Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching
This award recognizes a faculty member for long-term contributions to teaching.

John E. Adams, professor of chemistry at the University of Missouri-Columbia, received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching. Adams, who teaches general chemistry courses containing as many as 900 students, is known for delivering captivating lectures as well as ensuring students complete hands-on work to better prepare them in their field. An early adopter of integrating the Internet into his curriculum, Adams now uses a variety of technologies, including podcasts and RSS feeds, to keep his students engaged. “Students love to be taught by professors like Dr. Adams,” said one former student. “He breathes life and excitement into a classroom and has an insatiable desire to see students succeed in their lives and careers.”

Thomas Jefferson Award
This award honors a faculty member who best exemplifies the ideals of Thomas Jefferson.

The Thomas Jefferson Award was presented to David Geary, curators’ professor in the psychological sciences department at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Geary is a world-renowned experimenter, theoretician and synthesizer who has made numerous contributions to the understanding of the human mind, its evolutionary basis and the need for education. Geary has been the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Faculty Research and Creative Activity in the Behavioral and Social Sciences in 1996, and was named the Frederick A. Middlebush Professor of the Social Sciences from 2000-2003. He was named a curators’ professor in 2005. As one nominator said of Geary: “His intellect is unsurpassed, his grasp of diverse material in all its complexity is amazing, and his ability to see how the larger issues fit together is awe inspiring.”

Faculty Entrepreneur of the Year Award
This award honors a faculty member for a record of entrepreneurial innovation that demonstrates commercial utility, contributes to the public welfare, and brings visibility to the University of Missouri.

University of Missouri-St. Louis chemistry professors Wesley R. Harris and Christopher D. Spilling were presented with the Faculty Entrepreneur Award. Spilling and Harris have developed a device to help protect the nearly half million premature infants born each year from the toxic effects of aluminum used in intravenous feeding solutions. Along with colleagues from the University of Kentucky, Spilling and Harris formed the private firm ALKYMOS to further develop and bring this and related technologies to market. Their venture has already yielded two patent applications and a license for patent rights. The technology could be in hospitals as early as 2010. In the words of one nominator: “Their ability to translate insightful fundamental chemical research findings from the development of a product for routine applications in human applications via a new company is a premier example…of faculty entrepreneurship.”

Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award
This award honors a University of Missouri student who has shown entrepreneurial potential.

University of Missouri-Columbia student Corey Daniel Rimmel was honored with the Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award for his business venture Hot Box Cookies, which, as the only late-night cookie delivery company in Columbia, has enjoyed great success. Rimmel opened Hot Box Cookies Oct. 17, 2008, after crafting a business plan, obtaining a Small Business Association loan and securing a prime downtown location. Rimmel expects to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in May 2010, and is involved in numerous extracurricular activities, including serving as recruitment chair for Zeta Beta Tau fraternity and a volunteer coach for a seventh grade basketball team. “Corey has done more than simply develop a new technology or process to be patented,” said one nominator. “He embodies the true entrepreneurship spirit by accepting the necessary risks to implement the idea.”

C. Brice Ratchford Memorial Fellowship Award
This award recognizes a faculty member who personifies the creativity, vision and leadership exhibited by the late Dr. C. Brice Ratchford, president emeritus of the University of Missouri and dean of cooperative extension.

Michael Ouart, vice provost for Extension and director of cooperative Extension, presented Ronald Turner, executive vice president emeritus of cooperative Extension, with the C. Brice Ratchford Memorial Fellowship Award. During his tenure, Turner demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to advancing the university’s land-grant mission through Extension, international education and agricultural economics programs. Turner participated in the peace efforts in Ireland, the positioning of the University of the Western Cape as an important resource in advancing anti-apartheid in South Africa, and as a consultant for the U.S. Higher Education Association Committee on Iraq. Turner is also responsible for the establishment of numerous inter-agency agreements, centers and activities. According to one nominator: “The hallmark of Ron’s leadership is the tremendous demonstration of accountability to do the right thing, make the right decision or go the extra mile.”

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