By Ray Feldmann on May 10, 2017
Among the 383 faculty and staff members honored were three faculty each with 45-plus years of service.
In 1966, a gallon of gas cost 32 cents. The price of a new home was $14,200. The song of the year was Frank Sinatra’s Strangers in the Night.
And a pair of gifted professors were just beginning their distinguished academic careers on the Towson University campus.
Those two esteemed faculty members, H. George Hahn and Howard Kaplon, were honored during Wednesday’s 48th annual Service Awards Celebration for their 50 years of dedicated service to the university. John MacKerron, a professor in the electronic media & film department, was also recognized for his 45 years of service.
Wednesday’s event, held at SECU Arena, was the last in a series of eight “Celebration of Excellence” events launched this spring to better highlight and showcase the university’s best and brightest students, alumni, faculty and staff.
In addition to his role as a professor and scholar in the English department over the past five decades, Hahn has written five books, including his latest, The Ocean Bards: British Poetry and the War at Sea, 1793-1815. He has also published more than 60 op-ed columns in daily newspapers, for which he was honored with the A.AD. Emmart Prize for writing about the humanities.
Hahn chaired the department for two terms (2010-16) and served on the College of Liberal Arts' promotions and tenure committee for 12 years.
“In his 50 years, he has set high standards for thousands of students,” notes the Hahn biography in the Service Awards program. “And his greatest joy is regularly coaching the best of them to publication of their research papers on 18th-century English literature.
“Professor Hahn’s 50 years of service to the university, especially to its students and its faculty, by itself forms a modern history of our institution and a pattern of professional achievement to be admired and emulated,” the bio adds.
Kaplon, an associate professor of mathematics, has spent much of his adult life on the TU campus, having graduated from then-Towson State College in 1963. His primary interest is in statistics, which he has taught at all academic levels over the past 40 years. His Minitab Lab Workbook, now in its 22nd edition, has helped guide thousands of students through statistics.
Additionally, Kaplon has served as assistant chairperson of the mathematics department for many years and then as acting associate dean of the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics, a position he has held since 2010.
“Kaplon has consistently maintained a high level of performance in teaching, scholarship and service,” his bio reads. “His loyalty, dedication, and hard work have won him several college and university excellence awards. Even after all these years, he is indeed one of the most energetic and hard-working members of the department faculty and one of the most valued members of the university community.”
Interestingly, despite their mutual 50-year careers on the TU campus, Hahn and Kaplon had never met until they sat at the same table at Wednesday's celebration!
MacKerron, who earned his undergraduate degree at the S.U.N.Y. College at Fredonia and a master’s degree from Syracuse University, joined the Towson University faculty in 1971. During his time at TU, he contributed to the development of the mass communication major broadcasting area, which included putting FM radio station WCVT, now WTMD, on the air as an extracurricular activity.
MacKerron has served as TU’s chapter advisor to the National Broadcasting Society, was honored by the Student Government association in 1976 as an outstanding faculty member, and in 2001 received the Student Affairs Leadership Award as the outstanding organization advisor for his work with WMJF-TV, an FCC-licensed television station that first went on the air in 1989.
Asked following Wednesday’s event if he hoped to emulate Hahn and Kaplon for their 50 years of service, MacKerron demurred.
“No, I won’t make it to 50,” MacKerron said good-naturedly. “I plan to retire next year, after the 2018 spring term. It has been an incredibly rewarding 45 years so far, but I’m ready for retirement.”
Wednesday’s ceremony kicked off with presentation of the University Diversity & Inclusion Awards (formerly the President’s Diversity Awards) by Leah Cox, vice president for inclusion and institutional equity:
- Faculty (general): Brenda Conley, Instructional Leadership & Professional Development;
- Faculty (research): Beth Haller, Communication Management Master’s Program;
- Staff: Sharlene Roberson, STEM Program Director, Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics
- Administrative department: Towson University Police Department
- Academic department: Special Collections and University Archives, Albert S. Cook Library
Timothy J.L. Chandler, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, was joined on the stage by La Tonya Dyer, interim chair of the Towson University Staff Council, for presentation of the Board of Regents faculty awards:
- Excellence in Teaching: Karen Fallon, Ph.D., Audiology;
- Excellence in Mentoring: Katherine Broadwater, Ph.D., Art + Design, Art History, Art Education;
- Excellence in Public Service: Robert Rook, Ph.D., Interdisciplinary Studies;
- Excellence in Scholarship, Research or Creative Activity: Bethany Brand, Ph.D., Psychology and Jonathan Lazar, Ph.D., Computer and Information Sciences.
Staff awards will be presented in June, Dyer told the audience.
Just prior to the portion of the ceremony that recognized faculty and staff members with their years of service, President Kim Schatzel offered brief observations on the awards celebration.
“Today is one of my favorite days of the year,” Schatzel noted. "I love the opportunity to walk around and talk to so many faculty and staff who are being honored, including those who have been here for 50 years and remember when there were cow pastures!
“Thank you all so much for making me feel such a part of Towson University over the past 16 months,” she added. “I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but it’s a great day to be a Tiger!”
Schatzel also recognized Phil Ross, the longtime associate vice president for human resources, who is retiring next month after 40 years of dedicated service to the university. Ross’ daughter, Diana, is graduating from TU in two weeks with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies.