Honor recognizes faculty and staff members for going 'the extra mile' to serve students
OXFORD, Miss. – The stresses of moving away from home for the first time can be tough on many college students, and the past year has brought its own set of challenges and hardships, ranging from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to the recent winter storm.
It's no surprise that many students feel a need for help, even if it's only a friendly smile or bit of encouragement. Fortunately, many University of Mississippi faculty and staff members are quick to step in to lend a helping hand or words of advice.
These efforts often go unacknowledged, other than the students' gratitude and success. But students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff can formally recognize those who have truly "gone the extra mile" to help students by nominating them for the Thomas Frist Student Service Award.
"The Frist Award is an outstanding opportunity to recognize individuals who embody the caring and supportive qualities that characterize the Ole Miss spirit," Chancellor Glenn Boyce said. "Many of our staff and faculty members frequently offer extra time and energy in support of our students, and we are grateful to have an occasion to celebrate their generosity, selflessness and kindness."
Students, alumni, friends, faculty and staff can submit nominations for the annual awards online through 5 p.m. April 5. Any full-time faculty or staff member, except previous winners, is eligible for the award, which includes a $1,000 prize and a plaque.
"Receiving the Frist award was an amazing honor; I am still overwhelmed by the recognition,” said Cindy May, associate director of financial aid and a 2019 Frist recipient. "I am so happy to be a part of this university community and to work with faculty and staff across campus as a team to help students successfully progress to graduation.
"While no member of the Ole Miss community reaches out to students with an aim to be acknowledged in this way, it is so important for students and others to recognize those who have played an important role in their success."
Nominations, which can be entered at http://www.olemiss.edu/frist_award/, should not focus on classroom teaching or tutoring efforts. Letters that cite only teaching-related activities may not be considered for the award.
The Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award, announced at the annual Honors Day convocation, recognizes excellence in that area.
The nomination narrative should differentiate between obligation and service by citing specific examples in which the person being nominated has gone beyond the call of duty to help a student or group of students.
"The Frist Award has, for over 25 years, recognized our campus's dedicated faculty and staff for their commitment to students," said Michael Barnett, chair and professor of theatre and film and a 2019 recipient of the award. "This commitment frequently extends well beyond the classroom and in many ways may go unnoticed.
"If you have ever thought back on a faculty or staff member and realized that they had a meaningful impact on your path of discovery and growth, please consider nominating them for the Frist Student Service Award."
Besides students and campus employees, parents, alumni and community members are welcome to submit nominations for deserving faculty and staff members.
All nominees are notified that they have been so honored, and a campus committee appointed by the chancellor chooses the winners. Barnett and May chair this year's committee. Awards will be presented May 1 at the university's annual Commencement ceremonies.
The 2020 Frist winners were Carmen Riggan, pre-law adviser and assistant to the dean in the College of Liberal Arts; Sovent Taylor, director of the Health Professions Advising Office; and Stefan Schulenberg, professor of psychology and director of the Clinical-Disaster Research Center.
Previous recipients include faculty members Aileen Ajootian, Luca Bombelli, Robert Brown, Brett Cantrell, Donald Dyer, Denis Goulet, Ken Sufka and Eric Weber; and staff members Carol Forsythe, Ginger Patterson, Valeria Ross, Amy Saxton, Marc Showalter and Linda Spargo.
The Frist Student Service Award was established with a $50,000 gift from the late Dr. Thomas F. Frist of Nashville, a 1930 UM graduate.
For more information or to submit a nomination, visit http://www.olemiss.edu/frist_award/.