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May 9, 2007    

MEDIA CONTACT: Halimah Celestine
(202) 994-3087;


Akos Vertes, Dewey Wallace, and Harry Yeide Recognized for Excellence in Respective Fields
During Commencement May 20, 2007

 WASHINGTON - The George Washington University and President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg have announced the recipients of the 2007 Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prizes. University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg established and endowed these awards in memory of his parents with the primary goal of recognizing GW faculty members for excellence in research, service, and teaching. This year,
Akos Vertes, professor of chemistry, receives the research prize. Dewey Wallace, professor of religion, is recognized with the prize for teaching, and Harry Yeide, professor of religion and director of the Peace Studies Program, receives the prize for University service. Each recipient will receive a $1,000 cash prize and plaque during GW's Commencement on the National Mall on May 20, 2007.

 "For nearly two decades, it has been my honor to work with the many talented GW faculty members who embody the University's teaching, research, and community service principles," said President Trachtenberg. "This year's Trachtenberg Prize recipients have made significant contributions to GW's academic excellence and are an inspiration to our students and their colleagues. I commend them for their dedication and hard work, which continues to propel the University to even higher levels of success."
 Vertes is being recognized for his outstanding work as co-director of the W.M. Keck Institute for Proteomics Technology and Applications where he is the principal investigator charged with developing a new in vivo "protein microscope." This microscope will enable researchers to view for the first time how proteins interact in living tissue. The project is supported by a $1.5-million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation. Vertes also has coauthored a book on laser ionization mass analysis and has more than 90 peer reviewed publications in scientific journals. He has been a GW faculty member since 1991.

The research prize, first presented in 1992, recognizes significant, original contributions to the base of knowledge or understanding in a discipline or field of study, original artistic or literary works of significance, and/or significant contributions to important public policy issues. GW faculty members nominate their colleagues for this award.
Wallace is being honored for exemplifying teaching excellence at GW. A professor of religion at the University since 1974, Wallace's areas of instruction and research include the religion of England in the 16th and 17th centuries, especially Puritanism, and the religious life of colonial and 19th-century America. His courses have included world religion, the history of Christianity, and religion in the United States. A colleague writes that he "draws people in not only to a fascination with the subject, but to a memorable and singular classroom experience." Many students reiterate this point and one notes that Wallace has a "rare knack for advancing class discussion without stifling students' contributions."

Wallace is the author of The Pilgrims and of Puritans and Predestination: Grace in English Protestant Theology 1525-169 and editor of The Spirituality of the Later English Puritans and The Pioneer Preacher. Wallace has served on the Faculty Senate and has been chair of the Department of Religion. In 2001 he received a GW Bender Teaching Award.

Established in 1990, the teaching prize recognizes excellence in teaching: defined as the accurate and effective communication to undergraduates of important cultural, historical, and/or scientific subject matter as well as current scholarship and scholarly debate in the fields involved. GW undergraduates nominate faculty members for the teaching award, and the recipient is selected by a committee comprising previous winners, a representative from the Faculty Senate, and a representative from the Student Association.

Yeide is being honored for demonstrating extraordinary service to the University. He has taught at GW since 1963, serving as assistant dean for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and as chair of the Religion Department. His areas of interest include the sociology and philosophy of religion, ethics, and peace studies. Yeide played a major role in the establishment of interdisciplinary study programs including in the fields of bio-ethics and peace studies. He has been engaged in the work of the Faculty Senate for more than 40 years and an active participant in the Freshman Advising Workshops for 10 years. Yeide is well known for his wisdom, generosity of spirit, and kindness in his interaction with students. A colleague writes that he is "respected for good judgment, steadiness, and energetic work for the common good?puts the welfare of the University community before his own." He also has written a number of articles on religion and ethics and recently published a book on classical Pietism.

The university service prize has been presented annually since 1993 to a tenured member of the faculty to recognize exceptional service to the University. Criteria for the award may include active membership in the Faculty Senate, active membership on University committees, and other activities that directly involve institutional governance or the conduct of the University?s corporate affairs. The recipient is selected by a committee consisting of previous winners, a representative from the Faculty Senate, and individuals nominated by the executive vice president for academic affairs.

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