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2010 URIF Excellence Awards Presented

KINGSTON, RI - September 16, 2010 - The winners of the University of Rhode Island Foundation’s 2010 Excellence Awards were honored at a ceremony held on campus today. The awards were established in 1974 to acknowledge members of the University’s staff or faculty who go above and beyond their responsibilities to enhance the objectives of a particular department as well as URI as a whole. Since 1974, over 160 individuals have received Excellence Awards in one of four categories: teaching, scholarly, staff and administrative.

This year’s winners, who were chosen to represent each of the four categories of awards following a selection process that included nominations by peers and students, each received a framed citation and a $2,000 cash stipend.

The 2010 Excellence Award winners and their respective categories are:

Steven Kay, PhD, of Middletown, who has served as a professor of electrical engineering within URI’s College of Engineering, since 1980, is the winner of the 2010 Scholarly Excellence Award. During his tenure at the University, Dr. Kay has earned the reputation of an outstanding researcher and a dedicated teacher. His research, in the area of statistical signal processing, has resulted in numerous military and commercial applications, and has been recognized by the national Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), of which he is a fellow. He has also distinguished himself further in this area, having written a number of textbooks which are widely used throughout the world, including at many top universities. In addition to being recognized as one of the most highly cited authors in engineering in the world, Dr. Kay is recognized as an excellent teacher, providing guidance and support to his students, particularly those undertaking graduate-level research projects.

Ronald Bernier, of Kingston, associate controller for the University of Rhode Island, is the recipient of the 2010 Administrative Excellence Award. He has been associated with the Controller’s Office for 30 years and has consistently demonstrated his knowledge and abilities while earning the reputation as a true leader within his division. Ron was instrumental in the successful implementation of the PeopleSoft financial software in place at the University and plays an important role in its ongoing maintenance, upgrades and the implementation of new functionality. His work, more recently on projects such as Positive Pay, Automatic Clearing House and 1099 processes have enhanced the accounting systems in place across the University. Ron’s commitment to his duties, as well as to his division and the entire University is evident in his work, and his pro-active and enthusiastic attitude has earned him the respect of his colleagues and peers.

Dr. Libby Miles, of Richmond, associate professor and chair of the Writing & Rhetoric Department in the College of Arts and Sciences, is the winner of the 2010 Teaching Excellence Award. Well known as an inspiring teacher, Dr. Miles has impacted scores of students, many of whom credit her for their later success and continued love of writing. Her patience and encouragement has made Dr. Miles a positive role model for her students and colleagues alike and as a professor, her commitment to both her teaching subject matter and to her students is outstanding. Her publication record is impressive and her zeal for professional development and growth is evident to all. Further, she instills in others the spirit of community that she strives to foster between professors, graduate students, and undergraduate students while remaining focused on her craft, earning numerous honors and awards and securing a variety of professionally-related grants.

Rebecca Lamb, of Westerly, the winner of the 2010 Staff Excellence Award, serves as an executive assistant within University College at URI. Known for her professionalism and commitment to every detail of her job, Rebecca is a true asset to her division. Respected by her peers and students alike, she is regarded as the “go-to” person at University College, providing her assistance, knowledge and compassion to advisors, learning community advisors, work-study students and many more groups and individuals. A skilled coordinator and organizer, Rebecca’s work has included setting up large numbers of learning communities for the benefit of scores of students, payroll, and budgeting. She handles personnel and human resources issues and otherwise contributes to the smooth operations of the very busy and dynamic office in which she works.

The winners, who were personally notified of their awards earlier in the year by University President David M. Dooley, were publicly congratulated at today’s ceremony by Dooley, Kerkian and members of the Foundation’s Executive Board including Caroline Kaull, the 2010 Excellence Awards Committee Chair. Winners from the past two years, including Dr. Jimmie Oxley, Dr. Frank Golet, Lora Choquette, Ellen Reynolds, Ronda Hammond, Dr. Gerry Tyler, Dr. Mohammad Faghri and Linda Accairdo were also recognized for serving on subcommittees for the 2010 awards, facilitating the selection of this year’s winners.

“These individual embody a work ethic and a level of dedication that truly enhances the functionality and competitiveness of our entire University community. Their work cannot be underestimated and their success and positive attitudes raise the bar and set fine examples for others to follow,” commented Kerkian.

Pictured from left to right: R. Bernier, C. Kaull, L. Miles, D. Dooley, R. Lamb, S. Kay, G. Kerkian.


For information on this or any news item, contact Tracey Manni in Development Communications, at 401.874.2145 or