May 12, 2005
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
MUW to award five Medals of Excellence Friday
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- Mississippi University for Women will
award the Medal of Excellence to five individuals as
part of commencement weekend Friday.
Awarded since 1979, the Medal of Excellence is the
university’s highest non-degree honor.
This year’s recipients are Dr. Barbara Garrett,
Elizabeth Gwin, Bobby Harper, Dr. Bridget Pieschel and
Rep. Jeff Smith.
MUW President Claudia A. Limbert said, “Every so often
special people enter others’ lives and leave a trail of
blessings behind them. This year's five Medal of
Excellence award winners have done exactly that for MUW.
They are role models of excellence for us as an
institution and for us as individuals.”
Garrett, professor emeritus of health and kinesiology,
retired from MUW in 1991 where she taught for 24 years
and served as tennis coach for 13 years. She has
received numerous awards from MUW and is author of the
book, “ Nonverbal Interaction with Adult Clients:
Strategies for Caregivers.” MUW recently announced the
current tennis facility would be named after Garrett,
who received her undergraduate degree from MUW in 1956.
She earned both her master’s and doctorate from
Mississippi State University and physical therapy
certificate from Duke University.
A resident of Starkville, Gwin was honored by Blue Cross
and Blue Shield as one of Mississippi’s Ageless Heroes.
She won a regional vitality award for her efforts to
help others in the Starkville community. Gwin serves as
a Girl Scout leader and as a volunteer for Meals on
Wheels, delivering food to people in need. She earned
her degree from MUW in 1930 and has served as the
national president of the MUW Alumnae Association.
Harper serves as National Bank of Commerce’s regional
bank president and chairman of the executive committee.
He is president of Columbus Air Force Base’s Community
Council and a board member of the Frank Phillips YMCA,
Columbus-Lowndes Development Link, Golden Triangle
Regional Airport Authority, MUW Foundation, Baptist
Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle, Main Street Columbus,
Inc., and Happy Christmas Fund. Harper also is a member
of the Rotary Club and Town & Tower Club. He earned
degrees from Delta State College and the Banking School
of the South LSU.
Dr. Pieschel currently heads the Division of Humanities
at MUW. She has been an instructor of English since
1981. Pieschel also chairs the annual Eudora Welty
Writers’ Symposium. She and her husband, Steve, a
retired MUW English instructor, co-authored “Loyal
Daughters: A Centennial History of Mississippi
University for Women.” A 1979 summa cum laude graduate
of MUW, Pieschel received a master’s from MUW and
doctorate from the University of Alabama.
Mississippi Rep. Jeff Smith represents North Lowndes
County and is an attorney. He is chairman of the
Judiciary B committee and also serves on the
Apportionment & Elections, Ethics, Fees & Salaries of
Public Officers, Select Committee on Accessible &
Affordable Medical Malpractice Insurance, Public Health
& Human Services and Ways & Means committees. He served
as Lowndes County prosecutor from 1980-1989. Rep. Smith
has an undergraduate degree from MSU and a law degree
from the University of Mississippi.
A dinner in celebration of the Medal of Excellence and
honorary doctorate recipients, Nancy Fancher Yates ’63
and Eugenia Summer‘45, will be held Friday, May 13 in
Pope Banquet Room at 7 p.m.