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Public service faculty and staff receive top UGA honors

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Writers: Kathleen Cason, 706/542-2512, kcason@uga.edu Amanda Swennes, 706/542-0883, swennes2@uga.edu Claudia Caycho, 706/542-6167, claudi4@uga.edu Contact: Steve Dempsey, 706/542-6167, dempsey@uga.edu

Public service faculty and staff receive top UGA honors

Athens, Ga. - The University of Georgia honored the outstanding achievements of five faculty and three staff members at the 16th annual Public Service and Outreach meeting and awards luncheon on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2007. These staff and faculty members from UGA's public service and outreach units, schools and colleges received awards for their exemplary and sustained contributions to university outreach programs.

Distinguished Public Service Fellow

The Walter Barnard Hill Distinguished Public Service Fellow, similar to a distinguished professorship, is UGA's highest award in public service and outreach. The award is named in honor of Chancellor Walter Barnard Hill, who led the University of Georgia from 1899 until his death in 1905 and first articulated the university's modern land-grant mission. The Hill Fellow award recognizes sustained, distinguished and superb achievement in university public service that improves the quality of life in Georgia or elsewhere. Hill Fellows receive a permanent salary increase and supplemental funding to support current and future projects. This year's Hill Fellow is Deborah W. Purvis, a family and consumer sciences extension agent who has served Colquitt County for 30 years.

Purvis has developed, tested and implemented many innovative programs in nutrition, food safety, financial education, housing and other areas that impact the well-being of children and families. These programs have become national models for serving the needs of low-income families.

Hill Awards for Distinguished Achievement

Since 1992, the Walter Barnard Hill Awards for Distinguished Achievement in University Public Service and Outreach have recognized UGA faculty members and service professionals who have made outstanding contributions that improve the quality of life in Georgia or elsewhere. A maximum of five Hill Awards may be presented each year. Each Hill Award winner receives a permanent salary increase, a medallion and a framed certificate.

This year's Hill Award recipients are Joanne S. Cavis, Cooperative Extension; Kim D. Coder, Forestry and Natural Resources; Keith S. Delaplane, Entomology; Laurie Fowler, Institute of Ecology and River Basin Center; and Paul T. Hardy, Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

Cavis, a county extension coordinator and family and consumer sciences agent for Muscogee County, Ga., leads numerous outreach extension programs designed to address issues such as child development, child abuse and neglect, parental education, childcare provider training and financial literacy. During 26 years of service, she has educated the public about these issues through workshops, demonstrations, newspaper articles, radio spots and a weekly 30-minute television show.

Coder, a professor in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, is an internationally recognized expert in community forestry, forest ecology and tree health care. He has addressed community forestry needs such as quality of life, urban forest risk management, tree care and arboriculture through workshops, publications and classroom lectures for more than twenty years.

Delaplane, a professor and extension entomologist, is a world-renowned expert in beekeeping, an industry that contributes more than $75 million to Georgia's economy annually. He has developed integrated pest management strategies that address diseases, pests and other factors that threaten to destroy or impair bee colonies. His methods have been adopted by the beekeeping industry at home and abroad to control major honeybee pests.

Fowler, an environmental lawyer in the UGA Institute of Ecology, director for policy at UGA's River Basin Center and Environmental Law Practicum director at the UGA School of Law, has helped shape public policies that protect natural resources in Georgia and in the nation. She provided leadership in developing the Southeast's first regional aquatic habitat conservation plan, helped the River Basin Center achieve international recognition, and developed a graduate-level service-learning course where students apply and design policy to manage water resources based on sound science.

Hardy, a UGA attorney specializing in government law, has served the university for more than 28 years and has helped improve governance at state and local levels through technical and legal assistance, training and publications. He is known nationwide for his expertise in city-county consolidation.

Staff Award for Excellence

The Public Service and Outreach Staff Award for Excellence honors outstanding effort, encourages workplace creativity and innovation and celebrates the achievements of public service and outreach staff. Eligible staff members must have been employed for a minimum of two continuous years in any public service and outreach unit. Up to three awards may be presented each year; this is the award's second year.

The 2007 recipients are Debra Gates, Fanning Institute; James H. Gilstrap, State Botanical Garden of Georgia; and Jann Moore, Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel.

Gates, the main receptionist at the Fanning Institute, shows how total commitment to customer service can transform a job that might seem routine. She creates a welcoming environment for faculty, staff and clients; greets and directs visitors coming into the building; keeps track of schedules and reserves meeting spaces; and handles minor crises.

Gilstrap, an information technology specialist at the State Botanical Garden, has saved the unit thousands of dollars by acquiring surplus equipment and personally doing work that might normally be outsourced. He has spearheaded the effort to add wireless Internet access throughout the gardens surrounding the Visitor Center.

Moore, a human resource coordinator at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education, manages the payroll and personnel processing for more than 450 employees and helps develop programs that benefit both new and veteran Georgia Center staff.

For more information, visit http://outreach.uga.edu/awards.

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Note to editors: Photos of the recipients are available by calling 706/542-6927.

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