Ferland Receives Kirwan Award; Mattacola Receives Sturgill Award

By Gail Hairston

(April 22, 2016) — Two University of Kentucky faculty members were honored yesterday at the 2016 Provost Outstanding Teaching Awards ceremony with awards recognizing their outstanding contributions to teaching and scholarship at UK.

Gary J. Ferland, professor of physics and astronomy in the UK College of Arts and Science, was awarded the 2016 Albert D. and Elizabeth H. Kirwan Memorial Prize, given each year to a faculty member in recognition of outstanding contributions to original research or scholarship.

Carl G. Mattacola, professor of rehabilitation sciences and division director of the graduate athletic training program in the UK College of Health Sciences, was presented the Sturgill Award, given each year to a graduate faculty member who has provided outstanding contributions to graduate education at UK.

Ferland is regarded as one of the most distinguished astrophysicists in the world. He has co-authored 282 peer-reviewed publications in his career, 52 since 2012. He developed Cloudy, a computer program funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA, used globally by astronomers to infer the physical nature of cosmic material from telescopic observations. Additionally, Ferland speaks at conferences and institutions all over the world, and received the honor of being a prestigious Leverhulme Visiting Professor last year.

“Our department is fortunate to have him on our faculty,” said Sumit Das, chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. “He is currently the most highly funded faculty member in our department. He has trained a large number of graduate and postdoctoral students, and has contributed much to the visibility of our department.”

The Kirwan Memorial Prize recognizes its namesakes' collaborative research efforts, as well as Albert Kirwan's endeavors at creating an environment at UK that promoted high quality research and scholarship.

Mattacola has served as the division director of graduate athletic training since 1999 and director of the rehabilitation sciences doctoral program since 2007. During this time, he has served on over 100 thesis committees, mentored a total of 154 graduate students on both master's and doctoral levels, secured funding for graduate assistantships, and supported students in the presentations and publication of their work. Under Mattacola’s leadership, the athletic training program has received accreditation as a Post-Professional Athletic Training Program by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), the first graduate program to be accredited as such.

“I firmly believe (Dr. Mattacola) has made substantial, outstanding contributions to graduate education at UK,” wrote former student and current Old Dominion University faculty member Johanna Hoch. “Through his teaching, leadership and mentorship, Carl has given unequivocally to the University (of Kentucky).”

The Sturgill Award is named in honor of William B. Sturgill, who contributed to higher education through organizing and serving as president of the Hazard Independent College Foundation, in addition to working with legislators to develop the community college system in the Commonwealth.

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