Contact: Sasha Steinberg
STARKVILLE, Miss.—From mentoring students to become the next generation of leaders to conducting innovative research impacting lives around the state and beyond, Mississippi State faculty are helping to move the university forward each and every day.
A select group of these educators recently received special honors during the university’s annual Faculty Awards and Recognition Reception.
“The strengths of a great university are always in its people. I extend the thanks of the whole university to these faculty and staff honorees for their outstanding contributions during the 2017-18 academic year,” said MSU Provost and Executive Vice President Judy Bonner, whose office co-sponsored the event with the MSU Alumni Association.
Peter Ryan, associate provost for academic affairs, and Jeff Davis, executive director of the MSU Alumni Association, also congratulated and thanked award recipients for their service.
Joining a highly select group of role models and mentors for campus colleagues, Robert S. Banik and James C. “Jim” Giesen both received the John Grisham Master Teacher Award. Banik is in his 11th year as an instructor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and Giesen is serving his 12th year as an associate professor in the Department of History.
First presented in 1993, the Grisham Master Teacher honor is a tribute to classroom and instruction excellence that is named for the MSU alumnus and internationally recognized author who provided funds to endow the award.
Additionally, L. Wes Burger Jr. was designated a William L. Giles Distinguished Professor, one of the highest honors bestowed on MSU faculty. Based on distinguished scholarship demonstrated by a record of outstanding performance in research, teaching and service, the Giles honor is conferred on a faculty member who has attained national or international status as verified by external reviewers in the candidate’s specific field.
Burger has dedicated his entire 25-year academic career to MSU. Along with serving as associate director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the Forest and Wildlife Research Center, he is a professor of wildlife ecology in the College of Forest Resources’ Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture.
Other honorees include:
—Brian S. Baldwin, professor of plant and soil sciences, recipient of the MSU Alumni Association’s Graduate Teaching Excellence Award.
—Vergie M. Bash, College of Business academic coordinator and staff recipient of the Irvin Atly Jefcoat Excellence in Advising Award.
—Michael J. Breazeale, assistant professor of marketing, recipient of the MSU Alumni Association’s Early Career Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award.
—Richard L. Harkess, professor of plant and soil sciences and faculty recipient of the Irvin Atly Jefcoat Excellence in Advising Award.
—Katherine H. “Katy” Richey, University Academic Advising Center academic coordinator and staff recipient of the Wesley A. Ammon Outstanding New Academic Advisor Award.
—Brian K. Smith, assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering and faculty recipient of the Wesley A. Ammon Outstanding New Academic Advisor Award.
—Shantia Yarahmadian, associate professor of mathematics, recipient of the MSU Alumni Association’s Outstanding Graduate Student Mentor Award.
University leaders also recognized other faculty contributions throughout the Division of Academic Affairs, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Architecture, Art and Design, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Education, James Worth Bagley College of Engineering, College of Forest Resources, Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College, University Libraries and College of Veterinary Medicine.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu