The Cornelia Marschall Smith Award Recipient Presents Fall 2009 Lecture

News Photo 4813
Argye and William Hillis with Dr. James Bennighof
Oct. 28, 2009

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Dr. William Hillis, who serves as The Cornelia Marschall Smith Distinguished Professor of Biology at Baylor University, will present the 2009 Cornelia Marschall Smith Award Lecture at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30, in the Baylor Sciences Building, room B.110, on the Baylor campus.

The Cornelia Marschall Smith Award is presented annually to a Baylor faculty member who makes a superlative contribution to the learning environment at Baylor. As this year's recipient, Hillis received $20,000 and will present a lecture on "The Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Antibody Molecule."

"It covers a life-long interest that I've had in the protective immune responses that have developed in the body," Hillis said.

The award is based on:

Teaching, which is judged to be of the highest order of intellectual acumen and pedagogical effectiveness,

Research, which is recognized as outstanding by the national and international, as well as local, community of scholars, and

Service, which is regarded as exemplary in building the character of intellectual community at Baylor.

Hillis, a Baylor alumnus, graduated top of his class in 1953 in Biology and went on to earn his M.D. from the John Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., in 1957. In 1965 he joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins as assistant professor of pathobiology. From 1968 to 1970 he served as a virologist and resident coordinator at the Johns Hopkins Center for Medical Research and Training in Calcutta, India.

From 1972 to 1978 he was an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins, and was on staff at the Good Samaritan Hospital and the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore until 1982. From 1973 1982 he served as director of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine outpatient clinical research center. He was appointed associate professor of medicine in 1978.

Upon returning to Baylor in 1981 he served as chair of the biology department, executive vice president from 1985 to 1989 and vice president for student life in 1998.

In addition to the Cornelia Smith Award, Hillis received Baylor's Outstanding Professor Award in 1985 and Baylor Mortarboard's Distinguished Professor Award three times. Baylor Student Congress awarded him the organization's Outstanding University Administrator Award in 1994 and he was named a Distinguished Alumnus by the Baylor Alumni Association in 1998. He also is a recipient of the Air Force Legion of Merit.

Hillis' research interest includes pathological changes in tissues, in disease states and in the immunological mechanisms that give people protection from disease. When not looking under the microscope, Hillis enjoys music, gardening, being a choir member and serving as deacon at Seventh and James Baptist Church in Waco.

A 1918 Baylor biology graduate, Dr. Cornelia Marschall Smith earned a master's degree from the University of Chicago and her doctorate from Johns Hopkins. She was a Baylor professor of biology from 1940 to 1967, chair of the biology department from 1943 to 1967, and director of Strecker Museum from 1943 to 1967. Smith retired in 1967, but maintained an office in Armstrong Browning Library to assist charitable causes. In 1980, Baylor honored Smith by naming an endowed chair for her. She died Aug. 27, 1997, at the age of 101.

Previous recipients of the award include Dr. D. Thomas Hanks Jr., professor of English and Master Teacher; Dr. Robert M. Baird, professor of philosophy and Master Teacher; Dr. Kevin G. Pinney, professor of chemistry; Dr. Ann E. Rushing, professor and associate chair of biology; and former Baylor history professor Dr. Wallace L. Daniel Jr., who now serves as provost at Mercer University.

by Colton Wright, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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