Eleven members of the University of Notre Dame faculty were honored with awards at the University’s annual President’s Dinner held May 19.
Professor of English Valerie L. Sayers, who helped develop the University’s successful Creative Writing Program, was honored with the 2009 Faculty Award. Nominations for the award are received from the faculty at-large, with a committee of former award winners making the final selection.
Sayers is the author of five novels and the recipient of a Pushcart Prize for fiction.
James L. Merz, the Frank Freimann Professor of Electrical Engineering, is the recipient of the 2009 Presidential Award, an honor presented to those who have given distinguished service to the University over an extended period of time.
Merz, who was graduated from Notre Dame 50 years ago with a bachelor’s degree in physics, has spent his career mentoring young engineering scholars, in addition to serving as vice president for graduate studies and research, dean of the Graduate School and interim dean of the College of Engineering.
Ahsan Kareem, Robert M. Moran Professor of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, received the 2009 Research Achievement Award. A recognized leader in the area of structural dynamics and the effects of wind on structures, Kareem has been awarded every major prize in his field and most recently was one of only five civil engineers elected to the National Academy of Engineering. His work has practical applications as well. An advocate of comprehensive national policies to address wind hazards, his innovative design aids for wind loads on structures have been incorporated into structural design codes in the United States and around the world.
Other award recipients are:
Rev. John Conley, C.S.C., the Rev. John “Pop” Farley, C.S.C., Award, honoring distinguished service to student life at the University. Conley, who is completing his 12th year as a residence hall rector, also coordinates the confirmation program for Campus Ministry.
Scott Van Jacob, head of library collection development, the Rev. Paul J. Foik, C.S.C., Award for exemplary contributions by a librarian. Van Jacob, an employee for 13 years, has done groundbreaking research on the extent of modern Catalan publishing, and has developed a world-class teaching and research collection in his area.
Stuart Greene, associate dean for undergraduate studies and associate professor of English, the Grenville Clark Award, honoring volunteer activity and public service that advances the cause of peace and human rights. Greene has been actively involved in the South Bend School Corporation’s “No Parent Left Behind” program, working with parents, teachers and primary-level students at Madison Primary Center and the Perley Fine Arts Academy. Greene is also active in “Transforming Action Through Power,” a volunteer effort that grooms members to become community activists and leaders.
Jeffrey J. Speaks, assistant professor of philosophy, the Thomas P. Madden Award for outstanding teaching of first-year students. A “rising star in philosophy,” Speaks has been at the University for three years, and already has made his mark in the classroom.
Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., the Thomas P. Madden Lifetime Achievement Award, “for his inspiring dedication to teaching the newest members of the Notre Dame family.” Father Malloy has taught the University Seminar every year since 1988, never in 20 years using the same syllabus from one year to the next—while at the same time serving, until 2005, as president of the University.
John Paul Lederach, professor of international peace building at the Kroc Institute, the Reinhold Niebuhr Award, honoring a person whose life and writings exemplify social justice. Lederach has spent his life advancing the cause of peace, serving as a mediator, strategist and catalyst for peace building from Nicaragua to Nepal and the Philippines. A leading theorist of the concept of conflict transformation, he advises governments, religious organizations, universities and community groups as they strive to reconcile societies torn apart by war.
Rev. Louis A. Delfra, C.S.C., campus Bible study coordinator for Campus Ministry and director of spirituality for the Alliance for Catholic Education, the Rev. William A. Toohey, C.S.C., Award for Preaching. Father Delfra places his talents at the service of the Church through his preaching at liturgies in the Basilica and across campus; he also directs the popular Bible study program offered to undergraduate students.
Rev. Thomas G. Streit, C.S.C., research assistant professor of biological sciences, the Rev. William A. Toohey, C.S.C., Award for Social Justice. Father Streit has dedicated himself to research and teaching on campus, and around the world—especially in Haiti, where he serves through his pastoral presence and achievements in discovering ways to help end the scourge of lymphatic filariasis.