Award ceremony recognizes NSU professor lost too soon
TNE Editor
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Award ceremony recognizes NSU professor lost too soon

Published 4/20/17

Kayleigh Snider

TNE Writer         

In 2012, Addison Williams, a student at NSU at the time, came up with the idea for the Last Lecture for a contest put on by the Traditions Council. The contest called for a tradition that would foster student involvement, promote a positive image of NSU and last for years to come.

The proposed new tradition was designed to engage the student body in selecting a faculty member to give a lecture as if it was his or her last.  This concept was loosely based on Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture.

“The council appreciated the idea but wanted to make it mean even more to the faculty and staff and to the students that were nominating,” said Sarah Johnson, student activities coordinator and recipient of the RiverHawk Recognition for the 2017 ceremony.

In May 2013, Dr. Tiffany Maher, a 38-year-old chemistry professor at NSU, lost her life shortly before this award was created.  She was murdered in her home in Tahlequah, and the council felt it would be a perfect fit to name the award in her honor.

Maher was a beloved professor for four years. She was known around campus for her laugh and her willingness to get up and sing during NAB’s Late Night Breakfast and other campus events.

“The council decided they would like the professor selected to focus on the meaning of the legacy they are leaving and its impact on those around them during their lecture,” said Johnson.

The term "Legacy Lecture" was coined to brand the event and in spring of 2014, the inaugural awards ceremony took place, naming Dr. Kin Thompson, assistant professor of hospitality and tourism management, as the first recipient of the Dr. Tiffany Maher Legacy Award.

“I was deeply honored,” said Thompson. “It's very humbling to be put in a category with faculty who care about what they do, especially on the level she was on.”

This year there were 161 nominations. Out of the 161, only 11 were picked: the RiverHawk Top 10 and the winner of the Tiffany Maher Legacy Award.

The recipients of the RiverHawk Top 10 were also nominated by students. This award lets the NSU community know that these 10 faculty and staff members are doing everything they can for the campus and impacting student lives everyday.

This was the fourth annual Last Legacy Lecture. This is the first year that the students nominating did not have Maher in class. Maher impacted many of the people around her and will never be forgotten. By continuing on the Legacy Award, Maher will always be honored for her contribution to student life on campus.

The previous winners of the Tiffany Maher Legacy Award in order are Thompson, Dr. Mitch Ricketts, assistant professor of technology, and Cassandra Crawford-Ciglar, associate professor of nutritional sciences. This year Dr. Nathan Green, assistant professor of chemistry, was recognized and gave his last lecture at Second Century Square on the Tahlequah Campus.

In Green’s speech he said he lives by the quote, “A life of life-long living, is the life you should want to live.”

2017 RECIPIENTS

Dr. Tiffany Maher Legacy Award

Dr. Nathan Green, Chemistry assistant professor

NSU's Top 10 RiverHawk Recognition

Dr. Christine Hallman, associate professor of geography

Dr. Mitch Ricketts, assistant professor of technology

Dr. John Yeutter, associate professor of accounting

Ms. Kathleen Liles, Student Activities secretary

Mr. Jerry Cook, director of community and government relations

Dr. Ratnakar Deole, instructor of science and health

Dr. Diane Hammons, assistant professor of criminal justice

Dr. Sapna Badoos, assistant professor of biology

Ms. Sarah Johnson, coordinator of campus activities

Dr. Shannon Bridgmon, associate professor of political science


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