The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



SMC ceremony honors professor

Kelly Meehan | Friday, March 24, 2006

More than one hundred Saint Mary’s students, faculty and administrators came together Thursday night to honor an educator who displays immense loyalty and dedication to the College’s community – accounting professor Mary Ann Merryman.

“There are so many amazing women on this campus,” Merryman said. “And I am so humbled to receive this award, especially from students who I hold so dear to my heart.”

Merryman was one of three nominees honored at the fourth annual “Women Honoring Women” award ceremony and dinner. Communications disorders professor Susan Latham and biology professor and pre-professional studies advisor Nancy Nekvasil were also nominated.

All three nominees possess a deep passion for their work and for Saint Mary’s students, student body vice president Susan McIlduff said.

This year, students nominated more than 70 faculty members to be the next recipient of the award. From those submissions, a selection committee then chose the top three nominees. The winner was chosen by the Student Academic Council (SAC), which includes student representatives from each academic major.

With only one vote difference between each nominee, Merryman was named the winner of this year’s award.

“Professor Merryman is truly an example of what faculty should be,” SAC business and economics representative Anna Gilsinger said. “She goes the extra mile to see her students succeed and takes a personal interest in each student she teaches.”

Merryman won the award for the tremendous care she provides for her students outside of the classroom by attending their extracurricular events and incorporating real life concepts into the classroom, Gilsinger said.

McIlduff said the nominees are just a sampling of the many faculty members who contribute so much of themselves to the betterment of the students.

“The nominees here tonight inspire students, faculty and staff to expand upon their gifts in ways they never thought possible,” McIlduff said.

Both Nekvasil and Latham have helped students accomplish their post-graduation dreams by serving as support beams within the graduate and medical school testing and application process.

Latham, a Saint Mary’s graduate, has overseen the extensive growth of a communication disorders minor at the College, a program that has led to a 100 percent graduate school acceptance rate of seniors who wish to pursue a career in the field, SAC communications disorders representative Dana Christiano said.

Nekvasil has also gone above and beyond to support students, SAC biology representative Amy Oliva said. During the past two years, 100 percent of College graduates who applied to medical school were accepted.

Students from each academic department, Board of Governance members, College faculty and top administrators – including College President Carol Ann Mooney – were in attendance to honor the work of Merryman and the other nominees.

The annual award ceremony is an important yearly opportunity that allows the College to come together to honor a faculty member for their dedication to the Saint Mary’s community, McIlduff said.

“The passion of these nominees is definitely to be admired,” she said.