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(photo by Beth Wynn / © Mississippi State University)

MSU’s 2014-15 faculty award honorees include (seated, from left) Karyn Brown, Nancy Fultz, and Frances McDavid, (standing, from left) Veera Gude, Lindsey Peterson, Jared Keeley, and Brent Funderburk. The honors were presented by MSU Alumni Association Executive Director Jeff Davis (standing, second from left) and Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Gilbert (at far right). Photo by: Beth Wynn

By Sasha Steinberg | Mississippi State University

Longtime art department member and former administrator Brent Funderburk is receiving Mississippi State’s highest faculty honor.

In a Tuesday [April 28] campus-wide ceremony, the internationally acclaimed artist, teacher and 1995-2002 department head whose university career spans more than three decades was named a William L. Giles Distinguished Professor.

Though not a faculty rank, the memorial recognition named for MSU’s 13th president is awarded on the basis of outstanding research, teaching and service to individuals who have attained national or international status. For more, see

Also at the 2014-15 Faculty Awards and Recognition Program, communication instructor Karyn L. Brown was named a John Grisham Master Teacher, a tribute to excellence in classroom instruction named for the MSU alumnus and internationally recognized author. Brown joins others in the highly select group who serve as role models and mentors for their campus colleagues.

The annual spring-semester program is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President and MSU Alumni Association.

“The strengths of a great university are always in its people,” said Provost Jerry Gilbert, who served as master of ceremonies.

“We are in a great time at Mississippi State, and it’s because of these honorees, our outstanding students and tremendous faculty and staff,” he emphasized, in congratulating and thanking the winners for their considerable service and achievements.

Also receiving awards were six faculty members in the colleges of Architecture, Art and Design, Arts and Sciences, and James Worth Bagley College of Engineering, as well as a provost’s office administrator. They included:

–Nancy M. Fultz, academic programs support manager in the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, Irvin Atly Jefcoat Excellence in Advising Staff Award;

–Veera Gnaneswar Gude, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, the alumni association’s Outstanding Graduate Student Mentor Award;

–Jared W. Keeley, assistant professor of psychology, the alumni association’s Early Career Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award;

–Frances O. McDavid, also a communication instructor, the Irvin Atly Jefcoat Excellence in Advising Faculty Award; and

–Lindsey P. Peterson, also an assistant professor of sociology, the alumni association Graduate Teaching Excellence Award.

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