Athens, Ga. – A new student travel grant has in part been named for William J. Payne, late faculty member at the University of Georgia and former dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
The Society for General Microbiology-American Society for Microbiology Postgraduate Travel Grant will be named for Payne and British colleague Norman Heatley and called the Heatley-Payne Postgraduate Travel Grant.
The review committee in charge of selecting a name for the grant felt that Payne was “uniquely deserving of this honor due to the collaborations he fostered between the U.S. and U.K. scientific communities as well as his strong commitment to microbiology research and education.”
Payne was nominated for the honor by Gary King, an alumnus of the microbiology department. King is now Pereboom Professor of Microbial Biology at Louisiana State University.
William J. (Jack) Payne joined the UGA faculty in 1955 and was head of the microbiology department from 1968 until 1977, when he was named acting dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Payne became permanent dean in 1978 and held that position for the next 10 years.
While serving as dean, he was named Alumni Foundation Distinguished Professor of Microbiology. After stepping down as dean, Payne returned to the microbiology department until his retirement in 1993.
As dean, Payne helped start the Sandy Beaver Teaching Professorships and Teaching Awards and created an academic advising program for general studies students. A strong supporter of the arts he helped establish the Franklin College Chamber Music Series to offer free concerts to the community.
An authority in the field of denitrification, Payne is credited with developing advances in assaying the activities of enzymes that play a key role in forms of nitrogen found in nature. He was also known for his research on how sulfatase enzymes contribute to the microbial degradation of pollution.
Payne was the author of more than 120 scientific papers and four books, including Denitrification, published in 1981 and considered the definitive work in the field.
Payne died in 2004.