NKU's Dr. Vernon Hicks honored with KSTA Distinguished Service Award

For immediate release…
Thursday – Nov. 7, 2013

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - Dr. Vernon Hicks, an emeritus chemistry professor at Northern Kentucky University, has been honored with the Kentucky Science Teachers Association Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes exemplary science leaders across the state of Kentucky who have made significant contributions to science education.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by the Kentucky Science Teachers Association, which I consider to be the major association for Kentucky teachers in all science disciplines and from elementary to high school to college,” Dr. Hicks said. “It has been a great joy to work with science teachers and science students at all levels during my career at NKU. There are few things as rewarding to me as seeing students excited by science and realizing that it is a subject they can master. I thank NKU and the Department of Chemistry for never failing to support me in all my endeavors in science education.”

Dr. Hicks began teaching chemistry at NKU in 1972, specializing in physical chemistry, quantum mechanics and molecular calculations. In addition to physical chemistry, he taught general chemistry, chemistry and society, introduction to chemistry and his beloved quantum mechanics. He retired in 2010 but continues to be actively engaged in campus life.

“Vernon Hicks is one for whom there is no equal,” wrote NKU Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Gail Wells in her nomination letter. “During his tenure at NKU, Vern was an extremely popular teacher tackling such topics as quantum mechanics and physical chemistry. He was one of the most demanding professors on campus, but because he actively engaged the students with demonstrations and provided the support they needed for success, the students mastered the difficult concepts and found an absolute love of chemistry by the end of his courses.”

Dr. Hicks was named 2008 Cincinnati Chemist of the Year by the Cincinnati section of the American Chemical Society. His was honored with the NKU Outstanding Professor Award in 1993 as well as the KSTA Outstanding Science Teacher Award for Post-Secondary Teachers in 2000 and its prestigious Acorn Award in 2010. He is former president of the organization. He received his B.S. in 1965 from Emory and Henry College and his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt in 1974.

“Over the course of his career at NKU, and still today,” Dr. Wells wrote, “alumni who return to campus to visit credit Vern for much of their success in graduate school and/or their careers.”

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