Monday, Aug. 25, 2014

Convocation 2014: University of New Orleans Presents Highest Honors to Faculty and Staff

The University of New Orleans presented highest honors at fall convocation to University faculty and staff members chosen by their peers as leaders who rise above the call of duty to ensure both University and department success.

Fall convocation is an annual tradition of celebrating the University's success. Hundreds of faculty and staff turned out for the event, which included a State of the University presentation and was held in the University Center ballroom.

The Gordon "Nick" Mueller International Leadership Medallion

The Gordon "Nick" Mueller International Leadership Medallion is "awarded to an individual who has provided significant leadership towards the internationalization of the University of New Orleans," said University President Peter J. Fos, who together with Mueller presided over the elite selection committee.

This year's recipient was Professor Emeritus of Marketing Milton Pressley, the first chairman of the University's marketing department. Pressley, who came to UNO more than 30 years ago, is professor emeritus, adjunct professor and S.D. Leyda Fellow in the marketing and logistics department.

Together with Professor John Hazlett, Pressley co-developed the University's Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. He also developed and directed comparative international studies abroad course for the Executive MBA program at UNO; served as coordinator of the COBA Executive Education International Program and served as cochair of COBA's International Master's Program.

Pressley has also served as a visiting faculty member at six foreign universities: the University of Cambridge, England; the University of Innsbruck; Bond University; the University of Western Australia; the University of Zahgreb; the Carnegie Foundation supported International Management Center in Budapest, Hungary. He has three times served as academic director of the UNO-Innsbruck program. 

Steve Henson, a former UNO faculty member who is now an associate professor of marketing at Western Carolina University, lauded Pressley's international expertise and hard work advancing the international programs at UNO. He recalled early advice he received from his mentor.

"It begins with work. You have to work hard for your first opportunities and when you get those opportunities you have to work hard to make sure you take advantage of the opportunities," Pressley told the young professor. "The faculty mentors who are willing to work diligently towards developing international work credentials will find opportunities for themselves, for their students and their university multiplying.

In university settings, being a leader is about changing others in positive ways, Henson said, stating that Pressley leads by example.

The Cooper Mackin Medallion

The Cooper Mackin Medallion honors the third Chancellor of the University of New Orleans and is awarded to a faculty or staff member who has made outstanding contributions in support of the University's mission, said Vice President of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing Kevin McLin, who chaired a selection committee made up of six faculty members.

This year's recipient is University Research Professor Emeritus of Physics and Geophysics George Ioup. Although Dr. Ioup retired December 31, 2012, at age 73, he has continued to perform all aspects of his previous responsibilities at UNO on a gratis appointment. Besides teaching advanced courses, managing grants, doing research and supervising graduate students, Ioup is director of the UNO Office at the John C. Stennis Space Center, a role he has held for 36 years.

Physics Department Chair Kevin Stokes said in his nomination that from 1969 to present, Ioup has demonstrated constant and critical service and commitment to the University. Moreover, he has played a strong role in developing the advanced physics program at UNO, helping to educate geophysics students and geophysicists
working in the oil industry in New Orleans in the techniques of signal analysis of data, as well as scientists analyzing oceanographic, acoustic, optical, and other data.

Courses that Ioup developed together with his wife, Professor Juliette Ioup, were "so popular at Stennis Space Center that for many years they were offered both on campus and at Stennis," Stokes said. "They are now sent by interactive video to Stennis and to UL Lafayette and Southeastern University in Hammond."

Ioup's long and varied role at UNO has led him to introduce energy studies to high school and junior schools all over Louisiana, increase publicity of UNO and offer advanced technical courses at Stennis, where the Physics, Electrical Engineering and Civil Engineering departments, offer courses every semester.

In his 45 years of teaching at the University, Ioup has made a myriad of important contributions, including revising an interdisciplinary master's degree program. The new Master of Science of Applied Physics program led to significant increases in enrollment.

Ioup also led a faculty group that created an integrative interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, Engineering and Applied Science, a partnership between the College of Engineering and College of Science. The program, years in the making, is now the largest Ph.D. program at UNO, with 108 students enrolled in fall 2013, and 136 total graduates since the first graduates in 1997 and 1998, Stokes said. Ioup chaired the program committee for several years and has served as a senior advisor ever since.

Ioup helped to direct the Center for Energy Resources Management (CERM) a congressionally funded building built to anchor the newly developing UNO Research and Technology (R&T) Park. Congress designated $10M for the building if UNO agreed to raise a matching $10M in non-federal funds and Ioup helped to raise funds from private donors, raising more than $3.2 Million from corporate leaders in New Orleans, Houston, and Dallas. Ioup initiated a request for proposals so that faculty could apply for space in the building and remained director for five years before leaving the position to return to teaching and to have more time for research.

To preserve the Bachelor's of Science degree program in Physics, Ioup initiated a three-campus collaboration with the Physics Departments at UL Lafayette and Southeastern in Hammond, Stokes said. This collaboration built on the experience of the UNO Physics department with interactive video courses at Stennis and
involves advanced courses shared by all three campuses by interactive video and has resulted in significantly increased advanced course offerings and cost savings at all three universities.

More recently, Ioup has concentrated on bringing external funding to UNO. In 2012-
2013, Ioup's group had the highest amount of external funding in the College of Science. He continues to be active in all Physics Department outreach activities, including Einstein Week and the Girl Scout STEM extravaganza held annually at UNO, said Stokes.

"He has been instrumental in developing interdisciplinary courses and making these
courses available beyond our campus, in creating one of the most successful Ph.D. programs at
UNO, in bringing investments to UNO, and in outreach to the community," Stokes said. "All of these activities
were undertaken willingly (with a great deal of humility) and in a spirit of collaboration and service."

The Presidential Staff Medallion

The Presidential Staff Medallion is "awarded to a staff member who has demonstrated outstanding service to the University community – an individual who has demonstrated selfless dedication to the University, is an active member of the campus community, and is an asset to his/her department or college," said Staff Council President Brian McDonald, who chaired a selection committee of six staff members.

This year's recipient is Dale O'Neill, director of the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership. O'Neill oversees more than 140 student organizations at UNO, founded the UNO Service Coalition and has established monthly volunteer opportunities for students, teaching them that "as students at the University of New Orleans, you have a responsibility to the citizens of New Orleans."

Moreover, O'Neill -- together with last year's Presidential Staff Medallion recipient Christy Heaton, associate director of first year experience and orientation -- helped in recent years to institute a number of the University's outstanding first year experience programs, including the Emerging Leaders program, the Transfer Leadership Program, Transfer Orientation, Privateer Camp and the Privateer Plunge. These programs are considered critical to recruitment and retention at the University.

O'Neill also created the UNO Service Coalition and leads volunteer efforts at the University, including Alternative Fall Break and Alternative Spring Break. She transformed the University's Leadership Cabinet and helped these students to launch a series of leadership programs on campus, including: Leadership Retreat, Leadership Exchange, Extreme Leadership Day, Leadership Summit, Leadership Ceremony and High School Leadership Day.

O'Neill also oversees Greek Life at UNO, which has seen a 36 percent increase in membership over the last three years and continues to grow. Together with other members of the Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management she helped to develop the University's first Affinity Housing program and oversees the leadership wing, known as iLead.

O'Neill is an active member of ACPA, a national organization for higher education professionals, where she serves on the Commission for Student Involvement and Leadership and Standing Committee on Disability and directs the Standing Committee for Graduate Students and New Professors.

Last spring, she won the ACPA's Outstanding MidLevel Professional Award for the Commission on Student Involvement, a national award.

"She is intelligent and makes decisions in the best interests of our students," said Associate Director of Orientation and First Year Experience Christy Heaton, who won the Presidential Staff Medallion last year and nominated O'Neill. "She is smart and always thinking of new ways to reach out to students and to serve our students."

Distinguished Service

Distinguished Service Awards are presented to an individual not employed by the University who performs extraordinary service to the University through selfless contribution of time and energy; a significant donation of money to the university; the performance of a singular event that notably and positively impacts the mission of the University of New Orleans, and/or other contributions.

President Fos presented Distinguished Service Awards to two UNO alumni and former board members of the UNO International Alumni Association who have been selfless in their generosity to the University: Susan Hess and Dr. Alvin Merlin.

Hess, who has long supported the University, was named last month by New Orleans Magazine as one of its "2014 New Orleans Top Female Achievers." Merlin, who selflessly gives back to UNO in various ways, last year donated the building that houses the UNO St. Claude Gallery to the University.


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