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NMSU honors faculty, staff at 2014 fall convocation

New Mexico State University celebrated faculty and staff at the 2014 fall convocation ceremony Aug. 19 at NMSU’s Atkinson Music Recital Hall. Every fall and spring, convocation is held to honor excellence on campus.


Two rows of men and women pose with plaques.
New Mexico State University Executive Vice President and Provost Dan Howard, far left, and President Garrey Carruthers, second from right, stand for a photo with 2014 fall convocation awardees Michelle Salazar Perez, Christopher Hughes, Mary O’Connell, Steve Stochaj, Julie Weber, Michael R. Hyman, Alyce Kolenovsky, Jessica Perea Houston, Lily Hoang and Charlotte C. Gard. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

“Fall Convocation marks the beginning of the academic year and provides an opportunity for the President to communicate directly with faculty and staff about the state of the university,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Dan Howard. “However, even more importantly, it provides the NMSU community with an opportunity to recognize some of the outstanding faculty and staff of the university. It is one of my favorite events of the year.”

Mary O’Connell was conferred the Westhafer Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity. Westhafer Awards are given for excellence in teaching and excellence in research and creative activity.

O’Connell joined the NMSU faculty in 1985. She is a Regents Professor and distinguished achievement professor in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences. For more than 29 years, she has created research programs on plant secondary products including extraction and analysis for drug discovery along with gene expression and regulation of complex pathways of plant metabolites with an emphasis on chile.

Steven Stochaj, electrical engineering distinguished professor, and Michael R. Hyman, marketing distinguished achievement professor and Ph.D. coordinator, were given the University Research Council Distinguished Career Award.

Stochaj’s research centers on particle astrophysics and solar physics. During his more than 20-year tenure, Stochaj has more than 60 journal publications including 16 papers with more than 100 citations. As a principal investigator, he has obtained more than $3 million in funding and more than $7 million as a co-PI.

An NMSU faculty member since 1993, Hyman’s research focuses on consumers’ responses to advertising, business ethics, marketing theory, survey research methods, knowledge acquisition in academia and philosophical analyses in marketing. Hyman is the “NMSU Business Outlook” executive editor and the “Journal of Business Ethics” marketing ethics section editor.

Three faculty members were presented with the University Research Council Early Career Award: Lily Hoang, English associate department head, Michelle Salazar Perez, early childhood assistant professor, and Jessica Perea Houston, chemical engineering assistant professor.

Christopher Hughes, director of bands, and Charlotte C. Gard, applied statistics assistant professor in the Department of Economics, Applied Statistics and International Business, were honored with the Patricia Christmore Faculty Teaching Award. This annual award, which is named for Patricia Christmore, former accounting department head, acknowledges and rewards outstanding junior tenure-track faculty members for excellence in teaching.

Abbas Ghassemi, WERC: A Consortium for Environmental Education and Technology Department director, and Alyce Kolenovsky, School of Nursing academic adviser, were honored with the Excellence in Academic Advising Award, which recognizes faculty and professional academic advisers for their outstanding achievement and service to NMSU students. Students nominate candidates for the award.

The Housing and Campus Life office was awarded the Outcomes Assessment Committee II Best Practices Award. The award for assessment is presently yearly to a department or office that represents the spirit of assessment outside the classroom.