Faculty research fund established to honor outgoing dean

A special fund for faculty research at Maryville College has been established to honor the service of Dr. Robert J. Naylor, vice president and dean of the College, who retired June 30.

Announcement of the Robert J. Naylor Research Endowment came at Naylor’s farewell luncheon held June 16 at the Airport Hilton in Alcoa, Tenn. Dr. Dorsey D. “Dan” Ellis Jr., chairman of Maryville College’s Board of Directors, told the crowd that the Board unanimously endorsed the fund and its objectives, which include supporting the Robert J. Naylor Research Scholars program and providing resources to encourage research collaboration between faculty and students.

Scholars will be appointed by the vice president and dean of the College on the recommendation of the faculty development committee. To be considered for the award, faculty “must hold the doctorate and show evidence of scholarly achievement and promise, and the ability to make an outstanding contribution to the College. Furthermore, faculty must provide detailed plans for research involving students that will extend the stream of knowledge within a given discipline or will encourage inter-disciplinary learning,” according to the endowment proposal.

Naylor joined the Maryville College faculty in 1975 as an associate professor of chemistry. Two years later, he was named chair of the Natural Sciences Division, a position he held for the next 24 years while continuing to teach numerous courses in chemistry and in the general education curriculum.

He was elected the very first chair of the faculty in 1987 and chaired both the Planning and Budget Advisory Committee and the steering committee for the Window of Opportunity Strategic Plan for the College.

In 2001, he was named interim dean and moved his office from Sutton Science Center to a new Fayerweather Hall. The following year, Maryville College President Dr. Gerald W. Gibson announced that Naylor had been appointed the position permanently.

Speaking at the luncheon, Gibson spoke of what a “Godsend” the professor was when assuming the interim role in 2001.

“At a time when our faculty needed renewed confidence in Maryville’s academic leadership, and when good order needed to be restored in the conduct of academic affairs, Bob Naylor came through on both fronts,” the president said.

“… Being a dean is the hardest job on a college campus, and Bob Naylor has carried out his extensive and important duties with grace, with professional skill and with dedication. He has been admired by his fellow vice presidents at the Cabinet table, by the faculty members with whom he worked on academic issues, and by our Board of Directors,” Gibson continued. “Bob, on behalf of all of us who value your work and your character and recognize your considerable accomplishments, I say thank you.”

Also speaking at the luncheon were Associate Dean Dr. Mardi Craig, Executive Assistant Johnni Freer, Associate Professor of Religion and Chair of the Humanities Dr. Peggy Cowan and Vice President and Dean of Students Vandy Kemp.

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