UM Seeks Nominations for Annual Frist Awards

Honor recognizes outstanding service to students by faculty and staff members

2015 Frist Award winner Luca Bombelli, associate professor of physics and astronomy. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communication

2015 Frist Award winner Luca Bombelli, associate professor of physics and astronomy. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communication

OXFORD, Miss. – College students often struggle with tough times and isolation as they adapt to being away from home, but at the University of Mississippi, faculty and staff members often step in to lend a helping hand or simply provide advice and encouragement.

It’s all part of being a member of the Ole Miss family, and the students’ gratitude and success are generally reward enough. But students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff can formally recognize those who have truly “gone the extra mile” to help out students by nominating them for the Thomas Frist Student Service Award.

“It has been a privilege and honor to be recognized by students who feel that I have had an impact on their experience at Ole Miss,” said Denis Goulet, lecturer and lab coordinator in the UM Department of Biology, who was awarded the honor in 2014. “Receiving this award has been a highlight of my academic career.”

Students, alumni, friends, faculty and staff can submit nominations online for the annual awards through April 4. All full-time faculty and staff members, except previous winners, are eligible for the award, which includes a $1,000 prize and a plaque.

Nominations can be entered at Past nominations also may be considered.

Nominations should not focus on classroom teaching or tutoring efforts. The Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award, announced at the annual Honors Day convocation, recognizes excellence in that area.

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.

“Many of our faculty and staff go above and beyond the call of duty to demonstrate their commitment to students,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “It is a privilege to honor two such individuals each year who provide such an example for us all.”

All nominees are notified that they have been so honored, and a campus committee appointed by the chancellor chooses the two winners. Awards will be presented May 14 at UM’s Commencement.

“As co-chair of the nominating committee, I would like to encourage students, faculty and friends of Ole Miss to nominate that staff and/or faculty member who has gone beyond their normal responsibilities to significantly contribute to your campus experience,” Goulet said. “The few minutes it takes to nominate someone can mean the world to the nominee. This person could be office, custodial, support staff, counselor, student organization adviser, mentor, coordinator or faculty member.”

The 2015 Frist winners were Luca Bombelli, associate professor of physics and astronomy, and Anne McCauley, assistant director of sustainability.

Previous recipients include current faculty members Aileen Ajootian, Don Cole, Charles Eagles, Ellen Meacham, Terry Panhorst, Ken Sufka and Eric Weber; and current staff members Thelma Curry, Carol Forsythe, Dewey Knight, Ginger Patterson, Valeria Ross, Amy Saxton, Marc Showalter and Linda Spargo.

The Frist Student Service Award was 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