Alumni Association honors 5 faculty members

Contact: Bill Wagnon

Faculty members from aerospace engineering, chemistry, English, and psychology are winners of the Mississippi State University Alumni Association's 1996 Faculty Awards.

At a May 2 campus banquet, the annual honors program recognized "significant contributions to the welfare of humankind and the stature of Mississippi State University" in the categories of classroom teaching, research and service.

Receiving awards this year were Thomas H. Fisher, Nancy G. McCarley, Peter L. Shillingsburg, Joe F. Thompson, and W. William Wilson. Each recipient received a plaque and a monetary award.

Since the program's inception in 1965, more than 140 Mississippi State faculty members have been honored. Selections are made by committees of faculty, students and alumni.

Honored this year are:

Thomas Fisher, Graduate Level Teaching Award. The chemistry professor was praised by his students as a "gifted teacher and a real asset to the university." Colleagues say he's an "excellent classroom teacher and that his teaching philosophy is clearly student based." Fisher holds degrees from Westminster College and the University of Illinois.

Nancy McCarley, Lower Level (freshman and sophomore) Teaching Award. The psychology instructor's students say her "eagerness to further academic achievement outside of class is what separates her from the rest." Her colleagues say that she "brings herself so genuinely to the teaching relationship that learning takes place which would not otherwise occur." McCarley holds three degrees from Mississippi State.

Peter Shillingsburg, Upper Level (junior and senior) Teaching Award. Colleagues say the English professor believes that "the emphasis should be on learning, not teaching, and that all students should be treated as adults." His students say he "pushes them to learn, yet he teaches them to love and appreciate the newfound knowledge instead of simply expecting them to plow through the mass of work." Shillingsburg holds three degrees from the University of South Carolina.

William Wilson, Research Award. The chemistry professor is described by colleagues as an "excellent scientist whose dedication and commitment have helped him develop an outstanding research program that has provided significant visibility for the university." His current work is "pioneering the investigation of mechanisms for protein crystal growth that will eventually lead to a more efficient discovery and characterization of new medicinal agents." Wilson holds degrees from Northeast Louisiana State College and the University of North Carolina.

Joe Thompson, Service Award. The special assistant to the vice president for research on high performance computing is said to have "significantly raised the level of visibility and respect for the university through his work with congressional delegations, federal agency directors, and leaders in the corporate world." A Giles Distinguished Professor in aerospace engineering, he was one of three principals who "held the vision for Mississippi State's Engineering Research Center and helped secure its funding." Thompson holds degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Mississippi State.

"This is one of the more important programs the alumni association sponsors each year because it gives us an opportunity to bring all the Mississippi State faculty together and honor them for their contributions to the university's success," said John Correro, executive director of the alumni association.

While the five awards recognize those achieving significant accomplishments over the past year, Correro said the annual banquet "honors all faculty members at Mississippi State."