An accomplished research scientist and chemistry professor at the
University of Southern Mississippi has been chosen as the seventh
Bennett Distinguished Professor in the Sciences.
Dr. Sabine Heinhorst, a faculty member at Southern
Miss since 1987, will hold the title from 2005 to 2007. The Bennett
Distinguished Professorship is the result of the generosity of Mr.
and Mrs. T.W. Bennett Sr. of Natchez. This endowed professorship is
named in honor of their son, T.W. “Buddy” Bennett Jr. who graduated
from Southern Miss in 1967 with an abiding love of the sciences.
Upon graduating, he entered military service and served with
distinction in the Vietnam War. On December 22, 1972, Buddy's plane
crashed, and he has been listed as "missing in action" since.
"The Bennett Distinguished
Professorship is one of the highest honors that Southern Miss can
bestow on one of the faculty," said Dr. Rex Gandy, dean of the
College of Science and Technology. "Dr. Heinhorst has excelled at
teaching, research and service and is richly deserving of this
award. She continues a long line of outstanding scientists and
teachers who have won this award."
The Bennett Distinguished Professor in the
Sciences is selected from faculty members in the doctoral-granting
units of the College of Science and Technology by the dean, based on
the recommendation of a selection committee composed of former
Bennett Professors. The Bennett Professor must be an established
scholar at the University of Southern Mississippi and give the
keynote address at the biennial Bennett Symposium, which will be
held during the second year of the two-year term.
The endowment for the Bennett Professorship is
held by the USM Foundation and provides approximately $28,000 over
two years ($14,000 per year) to support research assistance,
clerical support, travel, equipment and the Bennett symposium. The
name of the Bennett Professor is inscribed on a plaque displayed
permanently in the lobby of the Chain Technology Building.
“To obtain grants from federal funding agencies,
one has to submit a detailed project plan, and once those funds are
received, the researcher has to pursue the stated project goals,”
Heinhorst said. “Scientific research, however, often does not
proceed according to plan, and new avenues open up that one
frequently is unable to follow because one has to focus on the
“The Bennett Professorship funding does not come
with any such restrictions and will allow me to expand my current
research by following exciting new directions. I am very grateful to
the family of T.W. “Buddy” Bennett for providing these
Heinhorst, a professor in the Department of
Chemistry and Biochemistry, received her doctorate from Clemson
University. At Southern Miss she expanded her postdoctoral research
and has worked on various aspects connected with the replication of
the genetic material of plants, repair of ultraviolet light-induced
DNA damage in plants and the structure and function of proteins that
compact plant DNA.
She was instrumental in organizing and obtaining
funding for the Distinguished Scientists Seminar Series. Since 1989,
this lecture series has brought several Nobel laureates and members
of the National Academy of Sciences to Southern Miss.
In 2004, Heinhorst was the recipient of Southern
Miss’ College of Science and Technology Outstanding Faculty Service
Award. Her interest in education is evident from her participation
in several federally funded teacher and student enhancement
projects. She has supervised countless science fair projects, has
mentored yearlong research projects of three Distinguished Scholar
students and has mentored research projects of high school teachers.
Previous Recipients of the Bennett
Distinguished Professor in the Sciences
1993-1995: Dr. Andy Griffin
1995-1997: Dr. Frank Moore
1997-1999: Dr. Charles
1999-2001: Dr. Gordon
2001-2003: Dr. Stephen Ross
2003-2005: Dr. Roger Hester
2005-2007: Dr. Sabine Heinhorst
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in
1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university
fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and
empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a
tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is
educating a 21st
century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural
enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern
Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and
teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further
information is found at
For more information, contact
Christopher Mapp at 601.266.4497.
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