Graduate School Professional Awards for 2010


Graduate School honors alumnus, faculty, and staff for accomplishments

Each year the Graduate School presents awards to recognize four individuals for their contributions to excellence in graduate education.

Outstanding Alumnus Award

The Outstanding Alumnus or Alumna Award recognizes Graduate School alumni for outstanding achievements in academic or professional careers.

Robert Taylor

Robert W. Taylor, an Internet pioneer whose vision created a computing and communications revolution, was awarded the Outstanding Alumnus Award during his September visit to the university as part of the Graduate School’s centennial celebration.  Taylor received his master’s degree in Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin in 1964. A $5,000 fellowship in Taylor’s name will be awarded to a graduate student in Psychology and to a graduate student in Computer Science.

Taylor was the first project manager and the person most responsible for the creation of the first national network – the ARPAnet – which is universally regarded as the precursor to today’s Internet.  September 2009 marked the 40th anniversary of the first byte exchange.

In 1968, Taylor co-wrote the paper, “Computers as a Communication Device,” with J.C.R. Licklider, where he predicted many of the current uses of personal computers as well as social networking.  There is an unbroken continuum between this paper and today’s use of personal computers and the global Internet.  This paper is considered one of the most influential intellectual breakthroughs of the 20th century.

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award

The Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award honors faculty members for outstanding teaching at the graduate level and for excellence in mentoring of graduate students. An award of $3,000 is presented to the recipient.  Toyin O. Falola, Professor of History is being recognized with this year’s Teaching Award.

Toyin Falola

Toyin Falola, Ph. D., Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor in History and University Distinguished Teaching Professor, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts

Falola, Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters and Fellow of the Historical Society of Nigeria is the author of numerous books, including Violence in Nigeria: The Crisis of Religious Politics and Secular Ideologies and Nationalism and African Intellectuals, both from the University of Rochester Press. He is the co-editor of the Journal of African Economic History, Series Editor of Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora , Series Editor of the Culture and Customs of Africa by Greenwood Press, and Series Editor of Classic Authors and Texts on Africa by Africa World Press. He has received various awards and honors, including the Jean Holloway Award for Teaching Excellence, The Texas Exes Teaching Award, the Chancellor's Council Outstanding Teaching Award, the Cecil B Currey Award for his book, Economic Reforms and Modernization in Nigeria. He is the 2006 recipient of the Felix E. Udogu Africa Award, the 2006 Cheikh Anta Diop Award, the 2007 Amistad Award, and the 2007 SIRAS Award for Outstanding Contribution to African Studies. A recent book, Toyin Falola: The Man, Mask and Muse presents bio-critical studies in a thousand pages. His memoir, A Mouth Sweeter Than Salt, captures his childhood and received various awards. He has an honorary doctorate from Monmouth University, USA.

Outstanding Graduate Adviser Award

The Outstanding Graduate Adviser Award recognizes a graduate adviser for exemplary service to a graduate program, and the award includes a $3,000 prize.  Lorenzo Alvisi of the Department of Computer Science is this year’s winner of the Outstanding Graduate Adviser Award.

Lorenzo Alvisi

Lorenzo Alvisi, Ph. D., Professor, Department of Computer Science, College of Natural Sciences

A native of Italy, Alvisi received a Laurea Degree "summa cum laude" in Physics from the University of Bologna in 1987 and an M.S. (1994) and Ph.D. (1996) in Computer Science from Cornell University. Lorenzo was a 2001 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow and the recipient of an NSF Career Award. His research aims at building distributed computing systems that will reliably do what is asked of them (and nothing else!) despite disruptions due to hardware and software failures, or even malicious attacks. He was named the Texas Exes Outstanding Professor in the College of Natural Sciences in 2008 and received the College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award in 2009. He is passionate about classical music and red Italian motorcycles.

Professors Falola and Alvisi were honored at the the Graduate School/University Co- awards presentation on May 19 at The Four Seasons Hotel.

Outstanding Graduate Coordinator Award

The Outstanding Graduate Coordinator Award recognizes a graduate coordinator for distinguished service in support of the Graduate Adviser and other faculty in the administration of a graduate program. An award of $3,000 will be presented to Phillip at a brunch on May 25, 2010.

Phillip Salazar

Phillip Salazar, Graduate Coordinator in the Department of Theatre and Dance

Phillip has been a Graduate Coordinator for 10 years.  There are over 90 graduate students in Theatre and Dance and 7 different areas of study.   Phillip is known in his department as a highly effective leader and organizer, but at the same time warm and welcoming.  Phillip is the go-to person in his department for questions of all sorts, and his door is always open to students.  He is credited with developing a sophisticated online database system that tracks TA and AI appointments, putting together an impressive power point presentation for orientation, and creating a sense of community among the students and faculty in his department. 

The Graduate School's student award winners were announced at the awards banquet on May 19. Read more about the student award winners. The University Co-op provides the funding that makes all of these awards possible.


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