Dr. Marcie H. Moehnke, MS '03, PhD '05, lecturer in Baylor's department of biology, College of Arts and Sciences, was selected by this year's senior class as the 2011 Collins Outstanding Professor, an annual award provided by the Carr P. Collins Foundation that recognizes and honors extraordinary teachers at Baylor. The Collins Professor receives a cash award of $10,000 and recognition at spring commencement, and also delivers a special lecture on a subject of his or her choice.
Moehnke received her bachelor's degree in biology from Texas Lutheran University, and her master's and doctoral degrees in biomedical studies at Baylor. Her research involves the recombinant expression of pollen allergens in plant and yeast systems to potentially reduce production costs and the unwanted side effects of current immunotherapy. Moehnke is the third biology professor in a row to win the Collins award, following Dr. David Eldridge (2009) and Dr. William Hillis, BS '53 (2010).
Robert Darden, BSEd '76, associate professor of journalism and media arts in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been named the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year. The annual award, based on teaching, research and service, is presented to a faculty member who makes a superlative contribution to the learning environment at Baylor. As this year's recipient, Darden receives $20,000 and will present a public lecture in the fall on an academic topic of his choosing.
He is well known for leading Baylor's Black Gospel Music Restoration Project to identify, acquire, preserve, record and catalogue the most at-risk music from the black gospel music tradition. So far, Baylor has obtained for preservation more than 2,000 loaned or donated LPs, 78s, 45s and pieces of music in taped formats from throughout the world. About 1,700 items have been digitized.
Darden is the author of more than two dozen books, including People Get Ready: A New History of Black Gospel Music. Darden served as arts and entertainment editor for the Waco Tribune-Herald from 1978-86 and gospel music editor for Billboard magazine from 1984-94. Since 1987, he has been senior editor of The Wittenburg Door.
In 2008, he was named a Baylor University Centennial Professor and Outstanding Research Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Baylor.
Dr. Jeffrey Hamilton, professor and chair of Baylor's department of history in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the 2011 Baylor Centennial Professor award, which will allow him to travel to England for research on Henry de Lacy, Third Earl of Lincoln and a confidant of Edward I.
"I'm extremely grateful to the Centennial Class of 1945 for their generous support of the Centennial Professor award," Hamilton said. "This is a testament to the impact that both faculty and students have on each other in our shared educational enterprise."
Hamilton came to Baylor in 1995, originally attracted by the emphasis on undergraduate teaching and the opportunity to participate in study abroad programs. He has spent summers in England with Baylor in Great Britain and Baylor in Oxford and has served as resident faculty director for Baylor in Maastricht. These programs helped him maintain relationships with British colleagues in his field, he said.
The Class of 1945 -- the Baylor Centennial Class -- established an endowment fund to support faculty development. Each year, a Baylor tenured faculty member is designated as the Centennial Professor and is provided with funds for a project that will facilitate the development of his or her ability to function as a university professor and contribute to academic life.