White Chosen as Faculty Mentor for UGA Foundation Fellows Program


Friday, July 19, 2002

WRITER: Steven Elliott-Gower, (706) 542-6206, segower@uga.edu CONTACT: Steven Elliott-Gower, (706) 542-6206, segower@uga.edu Jere Morehead, (706) 542-6908, morehead@uga.edu


ATHENS, Ga. - Three University of Georgia faculty members have been named Senior Faculty Fellows for the Foundation Fellows program, the university's premier undergraduate scholarship program.

Rebecca White, David Williams and Judith Willis have begun four-year terms, serving as mentors and role models to the students in the fellowship. They join a group of nine other Senior Faculty Fellows who represent a range of academic disciplines from the humanities to the sciences. "Our Senior Faculty Fellows come from a variety of disciplines to meet the needs of our students," said Steven Elliott-Gower, associate director of the Honors and Foundation Fellows programs. "They are chosen on the basis of their nationally recognized scholarship and their demonstrated interest in undergraduate education."

White, who joined the UGA law faculty in 1989, became the second woman to hold an endowed chair at the law school when she was named J. Alton Hosch Professor in 1999. In 2000, she received the Josiah Meigs Award, UGA's highest honor for teaching excellence. She has been selected by law graduates five times as the recipient of the Faculty Book Award for Excellence in Teaching and has also received the John C. O'Byrne Award for Contributions Furthering Student/Faculty Relations. She served as a UGA Senior Teaching Fellow in 2000-01 and was inducted into UGA's Teaching Academy. She specializes in the areas of labor law, employment discrimination, employment law and labor arbitration.

Williams is head of the religion department where he conducts research and teaches Hellenistic, Rabbinic and Modern Judaism and Hebrew. He has won numerous teaching awards at UGA, including the Sandy Beaver Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Richard B. Russell Undergraduate Teaching Award. He is also one of the eight UGA Senior Teaching Fellows and was inducted into the UGA Teaching Academy in 2001. Williams is on the editorial board of Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies and is the past president of the Midwest Jewish Studies Association.

Willis is a professor of cell biology specializing in the hormonal control of insect metamorphosis, the regulation of cuticular protein genes and the development of a cell culture model for studying metamorphosis. She is on the editorial boards of Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Journal of Insect Physiology. During her distinguished career, Willis has served as director of the Cellular Physiology Program at the National Science Foundation, director of the Honors Biology Curriculum at the University of Illinois and, most recently, as a member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship Panel on Cell Biology and Immunology. She has conducted research at Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge universities, and at the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. Willis is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"It is a great pleasure to welcome Professors White, Williams and Willis to the Foundation Fellows Program," said Jere Morehead, associate provost and director of the Honors and Foundation Fellows programs. "They are all first-class scholars who have a great deal to offer our students as they make their way through college and develop plans for the future." The Senior Faculty Fellows are assigned four to eight students and generally meet with them as a group once a semester, then follow up with individual contacts. Many Senior Faculty Fellows have previous involvement with the Foundation Fellows Program through their participation in dinner seminars, travel-study programs or the practice interviews that the fellowship organizes for students competing for major post-graduate scholarships.

White, Williams and Willis succeed Betty Jean Craige, Ed Larson and Tom Polk, who have served as Senior Faculty Fellows since the mid-1990s. The Foundation Fellows Program was established in 1972 by the trustees of the University of Georgia Foundation and is supported by a $46 million endowment. Currently, there are 92 students in the fellowship. More information on the program can be found online at www.uga.edu/honors/fellows.