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August 17, 2012

ULM faculty honored for excellence

As a new semester approaches, the faculty at the University of Louisiana at Monroe gathered to honor excellence in Teaching, Creative/Artistic Activity, and Research at the second annual ULM Foundation Awards for Excellence, on Tuesday, Aug. 14.

Each winner was determined based on a set of standards set forth by a selection committee. For each category, recipients were chosen based on their overall effectiveness in their field and their contributions to the university.

Dr. Claire Vangelisti, associate professor in the Division of Music, was named the winner for Excellence in Creative/Artistic Activity.

According to one of her colleagues, “she is able to instill in the student singers a desire for technical facility and continued artistic development, which inspires them to apply the lessons learned to all their endeavors both in and out of the studio.”

“I am very honored to receive the ULM Foundation Award for Excellence in Creative/Artistic Activity,” said Vangelisti.

“It is extremely validating, and simultaneously humbling, to be selected for this award at the university level.  At ULM, I am surrounded by colleagues who are the ideal combination in higher education: excellent educators, as well as those who are active and successful in their respective fields.  So many are deserving of this award and I feel blessed to be the recipient this year.  I'm looking forward to nominating prospective recipients for 2013.”

In addition to teaching several master classes at ULM, Vangelisti lends her voice to many community service concerts, workshops and benefits throughout Louisiana and Texas.

She has numerous performance awards, including the B. Iden Payne Award for Best actress in a musical in 2003 for her role in The Pirates of Penzance.

The Excellence in Teaching Award went to Dr. Sandra Lunte, professor in the Division of Music.

She is considered by students, colleagues, and friends as “an effective, dedicated, and successful educator," according to a recommendation letter written in support of her award. Also according to the recommendation, it is “hard to find someone in her profession who exhibits more genuine excitement in their teaching.” 

“It is my great, great honor to receive this award,” said Lunte. “My students, present and past, mean the world to me.  It is a joy to be a part of their lives while they are at ULM, and many times, after they graduate. To have the opportunity to teach, mentor, and lead young people is a great responsibility I take extremely seriously, and to be recognized for it is a dream come true.”

Lunte has held both the Emy-Lou Biedenharn Endowed Professor of Music and the William R. Hammond Endowed Professor in liberal arts during her teaching career, and she has taught numerous master classes, appeared in several television and radio broadcasts, and contributed to eight professional CD recordings.

The Award for Excellence in Research went to Dr. Girish Shah, the Mary E. and Darrell L. Calhoun Endowed Chair for the Professor of Pharmacology in ULM’s department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Shah is a professor with an impressive resume, anchored by his efforts in prostate cancer research.

Shah’s studies have led to the development of new therapeutic approaches, and extremely sensitive diagnostic methods that can detect prostate cancer in the very early stages.

His colleagues have said he is committed to establishing a “strong and productive research program at ULM,” helping promote ULM’s excellence throughout the region and the state of Louisiana.

“It feels great that our research contributions are recognized by our peers and university administration,” said Shah. “I greatly appreciate it, and I am sure this mechanism will serve as a motivation for other research faculty of our university.”

Shah is the author of 79 original research publications, four book chapters and 59 professional abstracts.

He has also presented at national and international conferences, served on numerous graduate committees, and most notably is the holder of eight patents.

ULM President Nick J. Bruno, Ph.D., initiated the recognition program soon after his arrival at ULM. The awards were sponsored by the ULM Foundation.

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