Newswise — Washington, D.C. - The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) and The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation will be presenting Dr. Francis Connolly, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Notre Dame, the inaugural 2014 CUR-Goldwater Scholars Faculty Mentor Award. The award will be presented on June 30th, 2014 at the closing banquet of the 2014 CUR Conference in Washington, D.C. In addition to a plaque commemorating the award, the University of Notre Dame will receive a $5,000 award in support of the undergraduate research programs of Dr. Connolly and his colleagues in the Seminar for Undergraduate Mathematical Research (SUMR) program.
Inaugurated in recognition of the important roles that faculty mentors play in the success of Goldwater Scholars, the award is presented jointly by CUR and the Goldwater Scholarship Foundation to acknowledge individual faculty who have made outstanding contributions to the success of undergraduate researchers who have gone on to be Goldwater Scholars. Drs. Elizabeth Ambos, CUR Executive Officer, and W. Franklin Gilmore, President of the Goldwater Scholarship Foundation, note that “ Dr. Connolly’s achievements as a research leader, teacher, and personal mentor to 13 of the 40 University of Notre Dame students who have been selected as Goldwater Scholars are landmark successes.”
“Frank Connolly is one of the most accomplished mathematicians who has devoted his life to developing undergraduates in mathematics. Under his direction, guidance and support, countless students achieved success and earned national fellowships, awards and scholarships such as the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. We are so pleased to see Frank receive this award,” said Greg Crawford, Dean of the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame.
“While we had many strong nominations for the CUR-Goldwater Scholars Faculty Mentor award, Frank Connolly’s nomination and work with undergraduates stood out,” said Dr. John Mateja, Chair of the award selection committee. “In a field where many faculty would have said it was not possible, Dr. Connolly transformed novices into research mathematicians, changing the Notre Dame math department’s entire program and way of thinking about undergraduates in the process,” Mateja further stated. In addition to mentoring an impressive number of Goldwater Scholars, the SUMR program Connolly established in 1989 has supported the work of 98 undergraduates, 46 of whom have won nationally competitive fellowships and 42 of whom have received doctoral degrees in mathematically related sciences. At his retirement dinner last year, one of Frank’s former students paid him a tribute, the sense of which the committee found throughout his nomination materials. He said, “Frank’s most valuable quality as a teacher was believing in his students, even more than they believed in themselves.”###
Council on Undergraduate Research: The Council on Undergraduate Research (www.cur.org) supports and facilitates high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship. Over 675 institutions and nearly 10,000 individuals belong to CUR. CUR believes that the best way to capture student interest and create enthusiasm for a discipline is through research in close collaboration with faculty members.
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship Foundation: The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue research careers in these disciplines. The Goldwater Scholarship is considered the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.