Campus News

And the winners are…

Mary Stakes

University honors achievements of its public service faculty, staff

The university will honor outstanding achievements of six faculty and three staff members Jan. 26 at the 15th annual luncheon ceremony. UGA faculty and staff from public service and outreach units, schools and colleges will be recognized for their distinguished and sustained contributions to university outreach programs.

The Walter Barnard Hill Distinguished Public Service Fellow honors long-term achievements, special projects having extraordinary impact and collaborative efforts in university public service and outreach. Hill Fellows receive a salary increase and supplemental funding to support current projects. This year’s Hill Fellow is Mary E. Stakes, senior public service associate in the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

Stakes is recognized statewide and nationally as an authority on civic education. 

Through her publications, instructional materials, educational program development and training workshops for educators, she is working to ensure that Georgia students and others have the knowledge, skills and values to be active citizens. Under Stakes’s leadership, civic education outreach at UGA has become a nationally recognized model for university-based support of civic education, according to James Ledbetter, director of the Vinson Institute. She began her career at the institute in 1978. Since 1991, she has led the institute’s civic education program, which develops instructional materials and programs for students, educators, citizens and state legislators. 

The Walter Barnard Hill Awards for Distinguished Achievement in University Public Service and Outreach recognizes achievement in public service and outreach by UGA faculty members and service professionals. Each Hill Award winner receives a permanent salary increase, a medallion and a framed certificate. The award is named in honor of Chancellor Walter Barnard Hill, who led UGA from 1899 until his death in 1905 and first articulated the university’s modern public service and outreach mission.

This year’s Hill Award recipients are Eric S. Bonaparte, Small Business Development Center; Steve L. Brown, entomology; Pratt W. Cassity Jr., College of Environment and Design; Harry W. Hayes, Carl Vinson Institute of Government; and T. Brian Tankersley, Cooperative Extension.

Bonaparte, director of minority business development for UGA’s Small Business Development Center, is known for his work on minority business issues at the local, national and international levels. He has played a vital role in developing programs that have helped create new jobs and enhanced business opportunities, including the establishment of the Clark-Atlanta SBDC, the Latino Business Initiative, the GovernorTs Mentor Protégé Program and the South DeKalb Business Incubator. 

Brown, professor of entomology, is an expert on integrated pest management programs and their impact on peanut production and pests of stored products. He developed a planning tool called the Spotted Wilt Risk Index, which helps Georgia farmers reduce the risk of the state’s most devastating peanut disease. He also edited and was senior author of a comprehensive extension publication on wireworms, a harmful pest of Georgia crops.

Cassity, director of the Center for Community Design, Planning and Preservation in the College of Environment and Design, is a nationally respected expert in historic preservation and community planning. He also is known for the service-learning opportunities he develops for students that combine civic mindedness with real work experience in Georgia or abroad. 

Hayes, public service associate and local government project director at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, is a nationally recognized authority on local government issues. His top achievements include collaboratively establishing the nation’s first National Center for the Study of Counties, local government technical assistance, and development of innovative educational programs for students and government officials.

Tankersley, Tift County extension coordinator, is recognized for his leadership and innovation in such areas as economic development, agricultural profitability and sustainability, and youth agricultural awareness programs. He plans and conducts agricultural and natural resources educational programs that present farmers and agribusiness people with up-to-date research-based information in critical areas identified by needs assessments and evaluations.

The Public Service and Outreach Staff Award for Excellence honors individuals who have demonstrated a strong work ethic, workplace creativity and innovation, and exceptional job performance. Up to three awards may be presented each year; this is the award’s inaugural year. The recipients are Richard Hitchcock, Cooperative Extension; James McCay, Georgia Center for Continuing Education, Conference Center and Hotel; and Tiffany Williams, College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Hitchcock, senior systems support specialist for UGA Cooperative Extension, has designed and created data delivery systems that streamline information transfer from county extension offices in Georgia via the Internet. Data entry, data proofing and quality assurance report writing that once took days now takes minutes.

McCay, director of the Georgia Center’s Food Services Division, has been a mentor and guide to hundreds of students during more than 22 years of service. He also is known for his oversight of new services and for the quality of food served. 

Williams, a research technician in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, developed and taught a computer-training course for paraprofessionals in a nutrition education program.