MU celebrates Fred Hawthorne and Presidential Award recipients
Photos by Shane Epping
Jill Lange, an MU senior and banquet server at the Reynolds Alumni Center, delivers a vanilla birthday cake to Fred Hawthorne on his 81st birthday. Hawthorne, director of the International Institute of Nano and Molecular Medicine, received the 2009 Priestley Medal.
If M. Frederick Hawthorne was attempting to deflect attention during the small ceremony held largely in his honor on the first day of school, he was less than successful.
The National Academy of Sciences member, former Inorganic Chemistry editor and current director of Mizzou’s International Institute of Nano and Molecular Medicine was being recognized for yet another achievement. He is the 2009 recipient of the Priestley Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the world’s largest scientific society, the American Chemical Society.
It’s a big deal.
But instead of talking about himself or his work when Chancellor Brady Deaton called him to the podium, Hawthorne briefly educated the crowd about the scientist for whom the award was named, Joseph Priestley (1733-1804), discoverer of oxygen and inventor of soda water.
When state Sen. Kurt Schaefer presented him with a framed senate resolution, Hawthorne responded quietly: “I’ve never seen one of these before. It’s very, very attractive. I will take time to read it.”
Before Hawthorne could get started on that task, though, Deaton detained him for another announcement; it was the world-renowned chemist’s 81st birthday. University Club staff produced a cake, and the roomful of university administrators, accomplished scientists and government leaders burst into song. After blowing out the candle, Hawthorne noted, “Longevity is a great thing.”
The occasion also was used to recognize recipients of the UM System Presidential Awards. President Gary Forsee acknowledged four faculty members and one student with the system-wide honor. Like Hawthorne, the winners had received their accolades at official functions outside Columbia during the summer; Monday afternoon’s event gave the Mizzou community the chance to kick off the fall semester on a celebratory note.
Tom Quirk, a professor of English and leading Mark Twain scholar who joined MU in 1979, earned the Curators’ Award for Scholarly Excellence.
John Adams, a professor of chemistry beloved by students, earned the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching.
Curator’s Professor of Psychology David Geary received the Thomas Jefferson Award for embodying Jefferson’s principles and ideals.
Ron Turner, formerly vice president for University Outreach and Director of Cooperative Extension at Mizzou and executive vice president of the University of Missouri System, is the recipient of the C. Brice Ratchford Memorial Fellowship Award for advancing the university’s land-grant mission.
Corey Rimmel, Student Entrepreneur of the Year
Corey Rimmel, a graduate student in the Trulaske College of Business and co-founder of Hot Box Cookies, received the Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
For anyone who prefers enjoying desserts with minimal fanfare, it should be noted that Rimmel’s business provides late-night delivery of freshly baked cookies to Columbia homes.