Nine faculty and staff honored at 2019 Gallery of Excellence

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  • Savannah Wesley/The Prairie News The Gallery of Excellence is displayed in the Cornette Library next to the circulation desk.

  • Savannah Wesley/The Prairie News Faculty and staff honored in the gallery get to choose what is included in their portraits.

  • Savannah Wesley/The Prairie News The portraits often display a bit of the personality of the faculty and staff that peers and students might not otherwise know.

  • Savannah Wesley/The Prairie News Honorees are nominated by peers and the Staff Council of WTAMU and Faculty Senate distribute said awards.

  • Savannah Wesley/The Prairie News University Photographer Rik Andersen is credited with taking the portraits of the recipients.

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The 27th annual Gallery of Excellence featuring award-winning faculty and staff was held Thursday, Nov. 14 in the James and Mary Elizabeth Cornette Library.

These honorees are then featured in the Gallery of Excellence in the Cornette Library which is presented by the West Texas A&M University Office of Communication and Marketing. The portraits displayed exhibit another side of their personalities that they would like to show. “They’re presented in a public place…this is part of their award is that all year long we have them in the gallery itself,” University Photographer Rik Andersen said. Andersen is credited with taking the portraits of the recipients.

Faculty and staff are nominated by peers while the Staff Council of WTAMU and Faculty Senate distribute said awards to deserving employees of the university. Honorees for this year are Sgt. Barbara Ferrara, Cpl. Brandon Johnson, Dr. Marty Kuhlman, Dr. Robert King, Dr. Lal Almas, Jon Davis, Kat Kane, Dr. Bryon Pearson and Dr. Carolyn Bouma. 

“I am honored to be in the Gallery of Excellence and it is not something I at all expected. The programming I do is for our community and to help others, so the response that prompted that nomination helps me see that it is helping those who need it and those who are in support roles as well,” said Ferrara, sergeant for the criminal investigations division of the University Police Department. She is the recipient of the Staff Council Employee of the Year Award. Ferrara went on to say that she doesn’t seek recognition for the programming that she does but she appreciates that others see that those programs help the community and beyond. 

“Great, great honor,” said Kuhlman, professor of history and recipient of the Magister Optimus Award. He said that it was good to have his work be recognized and that it was honorable to be an honoree of the Gallery of Excellence. Kuhlman has been working for WTAMU for 25 years and some of his favorite classes to teach are his class covering Vietnam and his honors classes.

“It is an amazing feeling to be honored in the Gallery of Excellence…Having been a student here and being able to see my name alongside all of the influential and exceptional faculty both past and present is truly humbling. I am the person I am today due to the instruction I received at this institution, so I hope that I can continue to grow in my instructional abilities and be an influential faculty member for the next generation,” said King, director of graduate business programs, assistant professor of marketing and David Wilder professor of business. King is the recipient of the University Instructional Responsibilities Award.

“I am humble and honored to be a Regents Professor and included in the Gallery of Excellence at the West Texas A&M University. It is even more distinctive honor for me to get that far being first generation college graduate, first generation immigrant and to serve as Regents Professor at the same university where once I started as a graduate student. I am a firm believer that working hard and dedicated commitment definitely pays. I also think that it is our utmost obligation and responsibility to genuinely invest in our future generations through education to prepare them well for the challenges of 21st century,” said Almas, associate dean for the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Science.

“It’s fantastic. It’s quite an honor. Of course this ceremony where they put us up in pictures is pretty awesome. You know, that Rick Anderson always does a fantastic job making us look good, and this you know is a great honor. So, just pleased to be nominated and be in a group with this bunch of folks so I’m very pleased,” said Davis, assistant vice president of student affairs. Davis is the recipient of the Staff Excellence Award.

“It’s quite humbling. I have an opportunity to work with some pretty amazing staff and students every single day. And so you don’t get into the world of education to be honored and you get into the world of education to give back to other people. So it’s quite humbling,” said Kane, associate director of residential living. Kane is a recipient of the Staff Excellence Award.

“It’s a huge honor. It’s humbling,” said Pearson, professor of history at WTAMU for 20 years. “They ask the honorees to show a little bit of themselves and so people who people can come to the reception or they see people’s portraits up on the wall they see a little bit of their human side. And so for example, I’ve got my sons in my picture, and at the time both of them were here at WT so I decided to kind of maybe wear my WT Dad shirt, and they’ve got WT shirts and we are all musicians and so it’s fun to have that [taken] around my mom’s piano.” Pearson is the recipient of the University Intellectual Contribution Award.

“It’s wonderful for a couple of reasons. First one is that it was a total surprise to me. Second, it’s a little bit of validation that for me doing things that I think are part of my usual job responsibilities are very valued by others and, and useful to the campus and the university…So that’s very much appreciated,” said Bouma, associate professor of life, earth and environmental sciences. She is the recipient of the University Professional Service Award. Bouma also teaches microbiology, histology, medical microbiology and serves as an adviser for pre-medicine students at WTAMU. 

“I did not expect to receive an award for doing my job, it is nice to receive the recognition for the work I do, my goal everyday at work is to try and make a difference no matter the work that is assigned to me,” said Johnson. He is corporal for the Patrol Division of the University Police Department. Johnson is the recipient of the Clarence E. Thompson Staff Excellence Award. 

[Edit was made to the final paragraph about Corporal Johnson. He was not available for comment when the story was published but contacted the staff later so that he may contribute to the story.]