In 2009 the Women Former Students’ Network proposed to President Bowen Loftin the creation of an award specifically for the women faculty at Texas A&M University. The result was establishment of the Eminent Scholar Award as a joint project of the WFSN and the President of Texas A&M University. It is designed to recognize outstanding research, scholarship, and service; and it honors the role these extraordinary women play in serving as models for all women students at the University. The recipient of the Eminent Scholar Award receives significant recognition on campus and a $4,000 gift.
Implementation of the Eminent Scholar Award
In the fall of 2011, the WFSN and President Loftin put out a call to the campus community encouraging nominations for the Eminent Scholar Award. Approximately two dozen nominations were submitted by the deans of the colleges at A&M, representing outstanding faculty from across the entire university. A selection committee made up of the Dean of Faculties Antonio Cepeda-Benito, A&M faculty, and former WFSN President Carol Jordan serving as the WFSN representative reviewed all the submitted nominations and selected the inaugural recipient of the Eminent Scholar Award in the person of Dr. Kim Dunbar, Professor of Chemistry in the College of Science.
Dr. Kim Dunbar is an exceptionally strong scholar with an international reputation. She was successful very early in her career, climbing from Assistant to full Professor in 5 years. She was recruited to A&M in 1999 as a full professor and in 2004 became the first woman in the College of Science to receive a named Chair. She currently holds the Davison Chair and is a University Distinguished Professor. Among Dr. Dunbar’s strengths is her written scholarship, she has 310 publications to date. She has also authored 14 book chapters and serves as Associate Editor for Inorganic Chemistry, the top journal in the field. She has also guest edited four journal special issues. She has lectured around the world and is known for her support and mentoring of minority students and young women. She has chaired committees for 29 doctoral students and six master’s students. She has received 16 different honors as a faculty member, including the inaugural Graduate Mentoring Award from The Association of Former Students.