The Charles P.Nash Prize,which recognizes exceptional achievement in promoting shared governance and advocacy for faculty in both the Academic Senate and the Academic Federation,was awarded to adjunct professor Catherine VandeVoort on Monday.
VandeVoort is the very first recipient of the prize,which was created to honor the legacy of Charlie P.Nash andtorecognize those who follow in his footsteps,according to Barbara Goldman,chair of the Nash Prize Committee.The prize will be awarded annually to a member of the UC Davis Academic Senate.
Nash was a professor of chemistry at UC Davis who also served two terms as chair for theDavisdivisionof the Academic Senate.He passed away last year at the age of75,but is remembered for his contributions to the campus by tacklingfaculty rights andissues ofequality for UC Davis employees.
“Charles had an ideal of theuniversity based on our respect for one another,” said Ian Kennedy,chair of the Davis Faculty Association, “It is a great honor to be here for Catherine,who emulates many of those ideals.“
VandeVoort is a researcher and teacher in the field of primate reproductive biology,and has made contributions to many areas including sperm biology and reproductive toxicology.Her work has earned her over$18millionin grant money.As an adjunct professor,her salary and research is funded exclusively through external sources.
VandeVoort has been a chairperson of the Academic Federation since fall2001,and has worked to revise unethical sections of the Academic Personnel Manual.In addition,VandeVoort has participated in multiple campus committees,focusingonthose that center onethics and organization within campus affairs.These include the Athletic Administrative Advocacy Committee and the Principal Investigators Council.
“I know that you are adverse to the spotlight,” said Sue Williams,one of thenominators,at the award dinner. “But our hearts compel us to recognize you publicly.“
The dinner began at6p.m.at theUniversityClubConferenceCenter.After a catered meal,members of the Davis Faculty Association,Davis division of theAcademic Senate,and Nash Prizenominationboard spoke on behalf of Nash and VandeVoort.UC DavisChancellorLarry Vanderhoefshared a brief story about his experiences with the late Charles P.Nash and expressed his approvalof the nomination.
“Catherine,like Charles,feels very strongly about what’s right and wrong in the world,” he said.
Vanderhoef presented VandeVoort with a plaque and$1,000check,which she followed with a brief speech.
“I really believe that there are so many people who have helped me get to where I am today,” said VandeVoort.
The night concluded with the presentation of an additional prize of Nash’s old bicycle,which sported a flag withNash’s face on it.Lyn Lofland of the Nash Prize Committee dubbed this accompanying gift “The Charlie.“ She intends it become a tradition for the recipient of the Charles P.Nash Prize to receive a bicycle in tandem with the award.
VandeVoort,whose family was in attendance that night,did not fail to take advantage of the lighthearted gift.
“It’s really good that you brought your SUV,mom,” she said.
RITA SIMERLY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.