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Released May 18, 2004

COLLEGE OF HEALTH HONORS FACULTY, STAFF AT BANQUET
By Angela Cutrer

The College of Health at The University of Southern Mississippi honored faculty and staff members' service efforts the past year at the 2004 Faculty and Staff Awards banquet.

"It was wonderful to honor the members of our college for all the good they do," said Dr. Joan Exline, interim dean of the College of Health. "We are proud of all of them."

Melissa Coker, assistant for student and program development in the School of Social Work, received the Distinguished Office Professional Award after being nominated by three individuals. "(Coker) has consistently demonstrated exceptional service and commitment to the students and the faculty of the School of Social Work," said nominator Tim Rehner. "… Even when there is a 'system overload,' she has always presented herself and engaged others in the most professional manner. … She is a pleasure to work with."

School director Michael Forster agreed: "Melissa is perhaps the most reliable and dedicated office worker that I have ever known," he said. "She is an exceptionally hard worker who takes great pride in carrying work through to completion and generating products of excellence." Delories Williams, a co-worker of Coker's, nominated her because Coker "is always willing to go beyond the call of duty to help us meet deadlines or manage daily activities. … We all adore Melissa and are blessed to have her as part of our team."

Coker said she is honored by the award. "I am sincerely appreciative of the award that I have received," she said. "I believe that you are only as good as the team you work with. The team of faculty that I have the pleasure of working with are very deserving of their distinguished reputations. If the faculty feels that I am worth the time it took to place me in this catagory, then I feel justly served. They are truly an inspiration to work for." Coker is working on a business technology education degree and earned associate's degrees in business administration and banking and finance.

Rick Green, professor in therapeutic recreation and coordinator of recreation at the School of Human Performance and Recreation, was nominated by Gregor Kay and Mike Webster for the Outstanding Faculty Service Award. Kay said Green had performed service at the national, state, college, school and community levels, as well as mentoring new faculty. Webster noted Green's exceptional service by obtaining funding for service-related projects. "The entire Hattiesburg area is the better as a result of Rick's service," Webster said.

"I appreciate the recognition given to me by the College of Health," Green said. "This has been a very trying year, and (it) seems that faculty is getting much more criticism than recognition from both within the university and outside. My service was primarily service to the community, and I know that there are many faculty members throughout the College of Health who are providing a tremendous amount of community service, making South Mississippi a better place to live for everyone."

Green earned a bachelor's in recreation and a master's in rehabilitation administration from Southern Illinois University, and a doctorate in therapeutic recreation from the University of Minnesota.

Laura Malone, assistant to the dean, received the Spirit Award after nominator Dianne Coleman recalled Malone's "voiced inspiration to others. … Laura's unwavering enthusiasm is fueled by the successes of those around her, whether that success is an individual one, or a group effort. … She is one of the most selfless people I know." Malone, who earned a bachelor's degree in speech communication from Southern Miss, said this of her award: "I'm awarded everyday by the students, staff and faculty. It's just icing on the cake to receive public recognition. I truly enjoy my role in the College of Health and to receive public acknowledgment for a job well done was exciting. I didn't know about the nomination, so after my name was announced as a nominee, I was smiling from ear to ear. To actually win the award was thrilling."

Susan Mayfield-Johnson, program coordinator for the Center for Sustainable Health Outreach (CSHO) received the Outstanding Professional Staff Award. She was nominated by Dr. Agnes Hinton, who said, "(Mayfield-Johnson) is known far and wide as someone who goes the extra mile with a smile on her face." Hinton noted Mayfield-Johnson's service to the CSHO and to the Department of Community Health Service, saying the CSHO quarterly "Connections'" database has grown from 250 to more than 5,000 because of Mayfield-Johnson's efforts. Hinton also noted the nominee's service to conferences, planning meetings and committees. Mayfield-Johnson earned a bachelor's in American studies and a master's in public health education from Southern Miss. She is working on a doctorate in adult education.

Dorothy McEwen, the director of Social Services at the South Mississippi Regional Center in Long Beach, earned the Distinguished Alumni Award. McEwen, who earned a master of social work from Southern Miss, was described by Michael Forster in his nomination: "She is a reliable and dedicated supporter of the School of Social Work and projects within her home community consonant with social work values and priorities," he said. "Dorothy's movement into positions of influence within state and national arenas is very good news for the school, university and profession. She is, without doubt, a 'model' alumna and is deserving of the college's recognition."

Bonita Reinert received the Distinguished Researcher Award after being nominated by Wanda Dubuisson. "The new knowledge that she has promulgated through research and publications has contributed significantly to the improved health care of not only Mississippi's citizens, but those of the nation," Dubuisson said. "The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has consulted with her and invited her for presentations." Reinert, who is also a professor at the school, has served as director of research at the College of Health, assisting faculty with obtaining research projects, consulting, editing, providing faculty development seminars and coordinating research resources. She earned a bachelor's in nursing from Lamar University, a master's in nursing from the University of Texas Medical Branch and a doctorate in nursing from the University of Texas at Austin. She has worked on a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington's School of Nursing.

Timothy Scheett, assistant professor in the School of Human Performance and Recreation, received the Emerging Scholar Faculty Award after three of his colleagues independently nominated him. Nominator Terry Kinney said that during the past two years of Scheett's employment at Southern Miss, "Tim has not only exemplified the attributes sought in a young faculty member, but he has gone above and beyond the call of duty to succeed in a very demanding position." Another nominator, instructor Von Rey, said Scheett is "an excellent role model … and is very involved with his students." Nominator Mike Webster pointed out Scheett's dedication to committee membership and student advisement.

"I feel very honored to be recognized by the College of Health family," said Scheett, assistant professor and director of the Laboratory of Exercise Biochemistry. "This award shows me that my efforts over the past two years have been recognized and that I am seen as a person who wants to contribute professionally as I collaborate and work with faculty, staff and students at Southern Miss." Scheett received a bachelor's in physical education from North Dakota State University, a master's in exercise science from Western Illinois University, and a doctorate in kinesiology at the University of Connecticut.

A fun twist to the night's awards came when the college surprised a husband-wife team with individual awards. Von Rey, an instructor in the School of Human Performance and Recreation, received the Distinguished Teaching Award. Nominated by Susan Hubble, interim director of the school, Rey was noted to demonstrate "the competency, commitment and creativity that result in successful instruction." Scheett, a colleague in the school, also nominated Rey for her work as assistant to the director and teaching nine to 12 credit hours each semester. "… Von has demonstrated a unique ability to balance the administrative duties while never once compromising her teaching," Scheett said. "I have learned more from Von's past experience over this past year than during all of my education theory classes combined." Von Rey earned a bachelor's and a master's degree in recreation and park administration from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.

Von Rey's husband, Steve Rey, said he was shocked when he was named the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award recipient.

"I was very surprised and honored to be recognized as the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award winner for the College of Health," said Steve Rey. "I had made plans to attend the ceremony because my wife, Von, was going to receive the Distinguished Teaching Award for the College of Health. I had no idea that the two of us were going to be recipients of these two prestigious awards, but it made for another great day in our life together."

Steve Rey was nominated by Susan Hubble for his "unique ability to create a rigorous course while establishing a positive rapport with the student," Hubble said. "The school has truly benefited from his service as an adjunct faculty member." Steve Ray earned a bachelor's in health and physical education and a master's in intramural administration from Southern Miss.

Five retiring faculty members of the College of Health - Ann Beardshall, Wayne Billon, Carolyn Brooks, Wanda Dubuisson and Richard Saniga - were also honored for their years of service.

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May 21, 2004 3:50 PM

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