Nominations Open for 19th Annual Frist Awards Recognizing Service to Students

OXFORD, Miss. – College students often face difficult circumstances without family or friends nearby to step in and help. At the University of Mississippi, faculty and staff are encouraged to go the extra mile in service to students.

In turn, Ole Miss students get an opportunity each year to reward those faculty and staff who go beyond the norm to lend a hand by nominating them for the Thomas Frist Student Service Award.

Students, alumni, friends, faculty and staff have until April 12 to submit nominations for the 19th annual awards. Any full-time faculty or staff, except previous winners, is eligible for the award, which includes a $1,000 prize and a plaque.

Written and submitted by individuals, nominations are being accepted via an online nomination form. The nomination narrative should differentiate between obligation and service by citing specific examples in which the person being nominated has gone beyond the call of duty to help a student or group of students. Past nominations are also considered.

“Many faculty and staff on our campus fit the criteria for the Frist Award, which helps us identify two individuals who are exemplary of going beyond the norm in extending a helping hand to our students,” Chancellor Dan Jones said.

All nominees are notified that they have been so honored, and a campus committee appointed by the chancellor chooses the two winners. Awards are to be presented May 11 at UM’s spring commencement ceremony.

Past recipients of the Frist Award include faculty members Aileen Ajootian, Don Cole, Larry Cox, Charles Eagles, John Juergens, Pamela Lawhead, Ellen Meacham, Terry Panhorst, William Staton, Ken Sufka, Patricia Treloar, Eric T. Weber, David Willson and John Winkle; and staff members Barbara Collier, Thelma Curry, Sue Hodge, Michael Johansson, Dewey Knight, Barbara Leeton, Max Miller, Ginger Patterson, Melinda Pullen, Thomas J. Reardon, Valeria Beasley Ross, Marc Showalter and Linda Spargo.

Last year’s winners, Weber, assistant professor of public policy leadership, and Knight, associate director of financial aid, both expressed surprise upon learning that they had been chosen for the Frist recognition.

“I felt very surprised and grateful. It has been a busy year, mostly with my head down to focus on this or that project,” Weber said. “So, an honor like the Frist Award took me aback and made me pick my head up to think about the big picture. The chancellor has highlighted service as a key part of the university’s mission and the Frist Award concerns service to students. In that light, the honor is deeply meaningful and gratifying.”

Likewise, Knight said, “When Chancellor Jones called me about my selection as the Frist Student Service Award recipient from the staff, I was very surprised and honored, but, more than anything, I was humbled. To be recognized by the university for serving her students is truly most significant as Ole Miss faculty and staff are well-known for providing personal attention to the needs of our students and their families.”

The Frist Student Service Awards were established with a $50,000 gift from the late Dr. Thomas F. Frist of Nashville, a 1930 UM graduate.

For more information or to submit a nomination, visit