PULLMAN, Wash.–Three Washington State University faculty members will be honored for excellence in instruction, public service, and research, scholarship and arts during spring commencement activities.
The Sahlin Faculty Excellence Awards have been awarded to Joe Ayres, professor of communication, for instruction; Arthur L. Antonelli, an extension entomologist at WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center, for public service; and Michael J. Smerdon, professor of biochemistry/biophysics, for research, scholarship and arts.
Ayres, a faculty member since 1970, has a record of dedication and creative excellence as director of the university’s basic public speaking course and as a teacher and mentor of future teacher-scholars in the field. His innovations in instruction and speech communication exemplify how the university’s teaching and research missions reinforce one another, say his nominators. Through Ayres’ publications, videotapes and leadership positions as a scholar, he has extended the benefits of his teaching innovations to students and citizens across the state and nation.
Antonelli, a faculty member since 1976, has developed numerous instruction delivery approaches on insect and pesticide control that have trained hundreds of people, who have in turn educated thousands of others. His efforts have resulted in significant reductions in pesticide use, while at the same time improving control of many serious insect pests, say his supporters.
Smerdon, who joined the WSU faculty in 1980, has developed almost single-handedly a unique area of research–DNA repair in chromatin. His approach to science is one of utmost thoroughness and precision. Smerdon is highly communicative and generous with his ideas, making him an ideal colleague both scientifically and personally, add his nominators. He was chosen as vice chair and then chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Mammalian DNA Repair Mechanisms, a major recognition by his national peers in the sciences.
The three will receive their awards, including a $2,500 cash prize, during the all-university Commencement Assembly May 10 at Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. Assembly speaker will be noted sociologist and alumnus William Julius Wilson.

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