The University of New Mexico Alumni Association has announced the recipients of its prestigious James F. Zimmerman, Bernard S. Rodey, Erna S. Fergusson, and Faculty Teaching Awards. They include: Derek J. Smith - James F. Zimmerman Award; James G. Ellis - Bernard S. Rodey Award; Angie Vachio - Erna S. Fergusson Award; and John D. Benavidez - Faculty Teaching Award.
"The recipients of the 2013 awards are outstanding in every way," said Karen Abraham, executive director, UNM Alumni Association. "The awards celebrate people who have made significant contributions to honor the University in the areas of education leadership, research, University service, and teaching and service to students."
The alumni recipients will be honored at the Alumni Association's "Call to Honor" dinner on Thursday, Feb. 21 at Hotel Andaluz. Cocktails are at 5:45 p.m., dinner is at 6:30. The public is invited to attend; tickets cost $40 per person. To RSVP and to purchase tickets, call the Alumni Relations Office at (505) 277-5808 by Feb. 15.
James F. Zimmerman Award: Derek J. Smith (‘94 MS, ‘97 Ph.D.), Cambridge, England
Derek Smith is Professor of Infectious Disease Informatics in the Zoology Department at Cambridge University. He is director of the Center for Pathogen Evolution and director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Modeling, Evolution, and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases, both at Cambridge University. He is also a member of the Department of Virology at Erasmus Medical Center in The Netherlands.
He is a member of the WHO influenza vaccine strain selection committee, and is also involved in vaccine strain selection for other human and non-human pathogens for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Animal Health Organisation. His research focuses on how pathogens evolve, to what extent this evolution is predictable, and determining public and animal health measures against such ever-changing pathogens. He received a United States National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award in 2005 for his work on Antigenic Cartography, a method that enables detailed study of pathogen evolution.
Bernard S. Rodey Award: James G. Ellis (‘68 BBA), Los Angeles, Calif.
Ellis is dean of the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California (USC), where he is responsible for the education of approximately 5,700 graduate and undergraduate students.
In addition, he has held a full-time appointment as professor of marketing since 1997. Prior to being appointed dean, Ellis was Vice Provost of Globalization for USC, responsible for building the university's name worldwide.
He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and sits on three corporate boards of directors.
Erna S. Fergusson Award: Angie Vachio (‘75 MA, ‘02 HOND), Cedar Crest, N.M.
Vachio, co-founder of the Peanut Butter & Jelly (PB&J;) Therapeutic Preschool and Executive Director Emerita of PB&J; Family Services, Inc., headquartered in Albuquerque, has dedicated her life to protecting children at risk of abuse and neglect.
The PB&J; Therapeutic Preschool is a child abuse prevention program that uses interactive parenting to help families develop the skills to provide safe and loving homes for their children. It has evolved from a volunteer organization into a nationally accredited, comprehensive family services agency with programs in five counties in central New Mexico.
Under Vachio's leadership, PB&J; is one of the few agencies in the U.S. to have developed effective programs to serve the children of incarcerated parents. PB&J;'s ImPACT program, operational in four New Mexico correctional facilities, is designed to re-unify children with their incarcerated parents and to re-establish the family unit once the incarcerated parent is released. In 2002, Vachio received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from UNM in recognition of these achievements.
Faculty Teaching Award: John D. Benavidez ('94 BBA, '97 MBA), Albuquerque, N.M.
Benavidez has been teaching at UNM since 1997. His teaching focuses on marketing, including but not limited to advertising, digital marketing, promotions management, and marketing management.
Benavidez serves as faculty advisor for UNM Collegiate DECA and is a faculty representative on the UNM Student Union Building Board. In 2009, Benavidez received the Wall Street Journal Distinguished Professor Award. He received the UNM Outstanding Lecturer of the Year Award in 2004.
For additional information, visit: UNM Alumni Awards.