(Mississippi State President Mark E. Keenum, left, and Greg Bohach, right, vice president for agriculture, forestry, and veterinary medicine, presented art professor Brent Funderburk with the 2015 Ralph E. Powe Research Excellence Award Thursday afternoon [April 30]. The Powe Award is the university’s top research honor and is named for the late MSU alumnus and longtime research vice president. Photo by: Beth Wynn)
By Jim Laird | Mississippi State University
Forty-nine Mississippi State students, faculty and staff are 2015 selections for exceptional research and leadership honors.
Honorees, their guests, and senior administrators gathered for a campus awards luncheon Thursday [April 30].
As a major student-oriented research university, Mississippi State is improving the quality of life “for millions of people here at home and around the world,” MSU President Mark E. Keenum said.
“Your research is helping make our public schools better, our communities stronger, our food safer, our vehicles more efficient, our critical infrastructure more secure, and our farms and factories both more profitable and more environmentally friendly,” he said.
Before an audience of friends and colleagues in the Hunter Henry Center’s Hal and Linda Parker Ballroom, professor of art Brent Funderburk received the afternoon’s top honor: the 2015 Ralph E. Powe Research Excellence Award.
A Charlotte, North Carolina native, Funderburk has exhibited his mixed-media paintings and drawing in 32 one-person exhibitions in museums, universities, and galleries, and has presented his artwork, often with awards, in over 70 invited or juried (peer-reviewed) regional, national, and international exhibitions. He has given more than 100 invited or juried illustrated lecture-performances to galleries, museums, conferences, and professional organizations. His artwork is represented in museum, university and private collections across the country, in 26 states, and in Canada.
Funderburk studied with artist-author Edward A. Reep in the School of Art at East Carolina University, where he received BFA and MFA degrees in painting/drawing. His research in watercolor and water media has been shared in lectures and workshops and in his book “Flying World” (2011).
His research has also focused on the life, art and influence of 20th Century American artist/naturalist Walter Inglis Anderson and his contemporaries through research, publications, curating exhibits, presenting lectures, developing courses, and in the ongoing development of a multidisciplinary research center at MSU. These efforts have enlivened a critical national discussion on the work of Anderson. His curated exhibit, “Ecstasy — The Mystical Landscapes of Walter Anderson,” has toured U.S. museums, with Funderburk’s lectures, since 2006.
Named the official artist of the 2010 USA International Ballet Competition, Funderburk has had artwork featured in international publications such as Creative Quarterly, Graphis, and Studio Visit Magazine.
The Powe Award is a memorial to the MSU alumnus and longtime research vice president who died in 1996. It is selected at the university level from nominations received from the MSU community.
The annual research awards program honors individuals who contribute significantly to MSU’s mission of research. In addition to faculty, it recognizes and rewards students and staff for accomplishments and creative endeavors, as well as for increasing awareness of the university’s many research programs and capabilities.
The program and banquet are co-sponsored by the offices of the vice presidents for Research and Economic Development and the Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine.
“Our research enterprise is strong and growing thanks to our world-class faculty, students and staff, and I always look forward to recognizing them here,” said David Shaw, vice president for research and economic development.
Greg Bohach, vice president for agriculture, forestry and veterinary medicine, echoed Shaw’s assessment.
“The awards banquet is one of my favorite events because it’s an opportunity to recognize the commitment to excellence of our university’s scientists, staff and students, and their collaborative efforts,” he said.
Other 2015 research award winners include (alphabetically, by academic unit):
–Bagley College of Engineering: Yong Fu, faculty; Teresa Stewart, research support; Trenton Ricks, graduate student; and Dexter Duckworth, undergraduate student.
–College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station: Jason Bond, faculty; Josh White, research support; Caitlin Hart, graduate student; and Amber Kay, undergraduate student.
–College of Architecture, Art, and Design: Alexis Gregory, faculty; Leah Kemp, research support; and J. Brooke Dorman, undergraduate student.
–College of Arts and Sciences: John Bickle, faculty; Rita Christopher, research support; Sara Shields-Menard, graduate student; and Sally White, undergraduate student.
–College of Business: James Vardaman, faculty; and Nathan Hammond, graduate student.
–College of Education: April Heiselt, faculty; Anne Steverson, research support; Sonum Sanjanwala, graduate student; and Scott Pope, undergraduate student.
–College of Forest Resources: Donald L. Grebner, faculty; Ray Iglay, research support; Zach Loman, graduate student; and Lisa Garrigues, undergraduate student.
–College of Veterinary Medicine: Lesya Pinchuk, faculty; Hossam Abdelhamed, research support; Graham Rosser, graduate student; and Ethan Woodyard, undergraduate student.
–Office of Research and Economic Development: Ronald Gatewood, research support.
–University Centers and Institutes: Patrick Fitzpatrick, faculty; Rooban Thirumalai, research support; Kala Marapereddy, graduate student; and Evan McBroom, undergraduate student.
Also honored were new graduates of the university’s 2014-2015 George Duke Humphrey Faculty Leadership Program:
–Craig Aarhus, associate professor of music and associate director of bands;
–Ashli Brown, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and Mississippi State Chemical Laboratory director;
–Angus Catchot, Extension professor of entomology;
–Renee Clary, associate professor of geosciences and Dunn-Seiler Geology Museum director;
–Diana Eubanks, College of Veterinary Medicine associate clinical professor;
–Donald L. Grebner, professor of forestry;
–William Anthony Hay, associate professor of history and Institute of the Humanities director;
–Brien Henry, associate professor of plant and soil sciences;
–Rocky Lemus, associate Extension/research professor of plant and soil sciences;
–Robert McMillen, associate professor and Social Science Research Center associate director;
–Stephen Middleton, professor and director of African American studies;
–Jane Parish, Extension/research professor of animal and dairy sciences.