Hercules, McCoy receive Vanderbilt faculty awards

September 11, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn.– David M. Hercules, the Centennial Professor of Chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry, and Thomas R. McCoy, professor of law, were recognized for their contributions during the recent Vanderbilt fall faculty assembly.

Hercules was awarded the 2002 Earl Sutherland Prize for Achievement in Research and McCoy was awarded the 2002 Thomas Jefferson Award, which is given annually to a faculty member who exemplifies service to the University based on the character, work, influence, principles and ideals of Thomas Jefferson.

The Sutherland Prize is awarded annually to a member of the faculty whose scholarly research has had a significant critical reception, and has proven its influence within that researcher’s discipline at a national level. The Sutherland Prize consists of a check for $2,400, an engraved julep cup that the winner keeps, and a silver bowl engraved with the names of past winners, which remains in the recipient’s possession for one year.

Chancellor Gordon Gee recognized Hercules as the discoverer of electro-generated chemiluminescence. “He was the first American scientist to employ and exploit electron spectroscopy for the chemical analysis of surface species. His work in mass spectrometry has contributed to the better understanding of chemical catalysis, and has made possible more effective means for the analysis of complex biochemical molecules. He has been a pioneer in the development and use of time-of-flight, secondary-ion mass spectrometry as an analytical tool.”

Established in 1976, the Sutherland Prize is named for Vanderbilt’s late Nobel laureate, Earl W. Sutherland Jr., who won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1971.

In presenting the Jefferson Award to McCoy, Gee said, “Tom McCoy is a friend to the citizenry of Vanderbilt, and has worked in an extracurricular capacity over his career to ensure that Vanderbilt is a safe place to speak and to think.”

Noting that McCoy has served on more than a dozen University committees during his 30 years at Vanderbilt, Gee said, “Perhaps his most notable service has been as chair of the Professional Ethics and Academic Freedom Committee, which ensures that faculty members who believe that the University has breached its obligations to them can have an internal forum in which their concerns can be safely addressed.”

The award takes the physical form of an engraved goblet and a check for $2,500.

Contact: Elizabeth Latt, 615-322-NEWS, elizbath.p.latt@vanderbilt.edu

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