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2014 CUR-Goldwater Scholars Faculty Mentor Award Recognizes Excellence in Student Engagement in Undergraduate Research

GoldwaterThe Council on Undergraduate Research and The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation  Acknowledge the Undergraduate Research Mentorship of Francis Connolly, University of Notre Dame

 
The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) and The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation presented Dr. Francis Connolly, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at University of Notre Dame, the inaugural CUR-Goldwater Scholars Faculty Mentor Award. The award was presented to Connolly on June 30th, 2014 at the closing banquet of the 2014 CUR Conference in Washington, DC. In addition to a plaque commemorating the award, the University of Notre Dame received a $5,000 award in support of the undergraduate research programs of Dr. Connolly and his colleagues in the Seminar for Undergraduate Mathematics Research (SUMR) program.
 
Inaugurated in recognition of the important roles that faculty mentors play in the success of Goldwater Scholars, the award is presented jointly by CUR and the Goldwater Foundation to acknowledge individual faculty who have made outstanding contributions to the success of undergraduate researchers who have gone on to be Goldwater Scholars. Drs. Elizabeth Ambos, CUR Executive Officer, and W. Franklin Gilmore, President of the Goldwater Foundation note that " Dr. Connolly’s achievements as a research leader, teacher, and personal mentor to thirteen of forty University of Notre Dame students who have achieved Goldwater Scholars’ awards are landmark successes."
 
Greg Crawford, dean of the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame, noted, "Frank Connolly is one of the most accomplished mathematicians who has devoted his life to developing undergraduates in mathematics. Under his direction, guidance and support, countless students achieved success and earned national fellowships, awards and scholarships such as the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. We are so pleased to see Frank receive this award."
 
"While we had many strong nominations for the CUR-Goldwater Scholars Faculty Mentor award, Frank Connolly’s nomination and work with undergraduates stood out among the 52 faculty who were nominated for the award," said Dr. John Mateja, Chair of the award selection committee.   "In a field where many faculty would have said it was not possible, Dr. Connolly transformed novices into research mathematicians, changing the Notre Dame math department’s entire program and way of thinking about undergraduates in the process," Mateja went on to say.    In addition to mentoring an impressive number of Goldwater winners, the SUMR program Connolly established has, since its inception in 1989, supported the work of 98 undergraduates, 46 of whom have won nationally competitive fellowships and 42 of whom have received PhDs in mathematically related sciences. At his retirement dinner last year, one of Frank’s former students paid him a tribute, the sense of which the committee found throughout his nomination materials.   He said, "Frank’s most valuable quality as a teacher was believing in his students, even more than they believed in themselves."