University Day Honors Employee Service
Posted: April 4, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am
On April 7, 1972, George Mason University separated from its parent institution, the University of Virginia, and received full university status through Virginia General Assembly legislation.
To mark this event, Mason celebrates University Day on April 7. Traditionally, the annual awards program for employee service is held on or near this day; this year, the recognition of long-term employees will be held on Wednesday, April 5.
This year the university will recognize four employees for 35 years of service to the Commonwealth of Virginia: Emmett Holman, philosophy; Michael Kelley, Capitol Connection; Donald Kelso, Environmental Science and Policy; and James Trefil, Robinson Professor.
Another seven employees are celebrating 30 years: Kenneth Beaty, Physical Plant; James Bennett, Economics; Roberto Coronel, Johnson Center and Student Union Operations; Menas Kafatos, School of Computational Sciences; Douglas Mose, Chemistry and Biochemistry; Frederick Schack, School of Recreation, Health and Tourism; and Lich Tran, Office of the Registrar.
Fourteen employees have 25 years of service: Kevin Avruch, Sociology and Anthropology; John Costello, School of Law; Myra Crosen, Information Technology Unit; Richard Diecchio, Environmental Science and Policy; Robert Ellsworth, Physics and Astronomy; Martha Francescato, Modern and Classical Languages; R. Christian Jones, Environmental Science and Policy; Linda Miller, Dance; Karen Pirhalla, Prince William Campus Administration; John Sacco, Public and International Affairs; Linda Schwartzstein, Office of the Provost; John Spaldo, University Services; Walter Williams, Economics; and Stanley Zoltek, School of Computational Sciences.
Twenty-year, 15-year, 10-year and five-year employees will also be honored, along with Employee of the Month award recipients.
Following are highlights of the careers of the four 35-year employees.
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy
Emmett Holman, who began teaching at George Mason in the fall of 1970 as an adjunct professor and received tenure in 1978, has served as the undergraduate coordinator for the Department of Philosophy for more than a decade.
“I love philosophy in particular, and learning and the life of the mind in general,” he says. “I enjoy turning others on to what I love. Teaching gives me the opportunity to do that.”
Holman is particularly proud of his lengthy service as the faculty advisor for the campus Philosophy Club, a job he has held since the early 1990s. During his time at the university, Holman has held leadership positions on numerous committees and programs, including the PAGE Program (forerunner of the Honors Program) for which he organized the Strand Lectures.
Associate Professor, Environmental Science and Policy
Donald Kelso, who joined George Mason in September 1970 as an assistant professor of biology, feels that he has learned as much from his students as they have from him during his many decades of teaching.
“My interactions with students, faculty and staff are the true career highlight,” he says.
Kelso points to his co-founding, with the assistance of several of his graduate students, of the Potomac Watershed Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation of a curriculum on the local environment for K-12 students, as one of his achievements.
His research, which focuses on the aquatic life of streams of Northern Virginia and Gunston Cove, an embayment of the Potomac River, has been funded by the governments of Fairfax and Prince William Counties, the National Park Service, the U.S. Marine base at Quantico, Va., and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“As I look back, I am awed by the growth of George Mason and the leadership vision that a succession of administrators and community leaders created and implemented,” he says. “The general faculty followed that lead and, through commitment and hard work, gave the vision substance and value. I am both humble and proud to have been a part of that effort.”
Robinson Professor of Physics
James Trefil, who taught at the University of Virginia for 15 years, has taught at George Mason for the past 20 years. Together with Robert Hazen, the Robinson Professor of Earth Sciences, he developed a course, University/Interdisciplinary Studies (UNIV) 301: Great Ideas in Science, and co-authored a series of textbooks designed to teach science to nonscientists. The texts are currently used in some 200 colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Among his publications with Hazen is “Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy,” which was published by Doubleday in 1991 and has sold more than 200,000 copies in a dozen languages.
The author of numerous books and academic journal articles, Trefil considers the founding of the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study in 1989 and the creation of UNIV 301 as two of the high points during his career at George Mason.
“I have enjoyed the opportunity to watch the university grow into a first-class academic institution,” he says.
Professor of Public Policy and Executive Director of The Capitol Connection
Michael Kelley, who came to George Mason as an assistant professor of English in 1970 when it was still a part of the University of Virginia, has held many positions while at Mason. Several have been related to the field of communication, including his 1981 founding of The Capitol Connection, the university’s wireless cable service that he still directs, and the formation of GMU-TV, which he led in 1983.
In 1989, Kelley designed an interdisciplinary MA in Telecommunications program, which now exists in the School of Public Policy’s MA in Telecommunications Policy program, which he directs. Currently, Kelley is also the president of Capitol Connection’s parent company, the George Mason University Instructional Foundation, and CEO of its for-profit subsidiary, F Corporation.
“A PhD teaches you how to teach yourself, and that has helped me reinvent myself and my career a number of times over the years,” he says. “I have also thoroughly enjoyed teaching the students here at George Mason, many of whom have remained friends long after they have graduated.
“I cannot think of another university where I could have had the opportunities to do the kinds of diverse things that I have done here at George Mason,” Kelley says. “My time here has brought me more fun and enjoyment than anyone deserves in a lifetime. And the really neat thing is that it’s not over yet.”