JSU honors top faculty and staff at One JSU: Excellence Awards Dinner

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University recognized its top faculty and staff during the “One JSU: Excellence Awards Dinner” on Tuesday, Aug. 14.

Nearly 50 employees, who were nominated by their unit leaders and peers, were honored for their outstanding contributions to Jackson State University.

“We applaud our honorees for their individual efforts and pursuits,” said JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers. “Through their innovative talents, our beloved ‘Jackson Fair, Jackson Dear’ has had many accomplishments.”

Dr. Ruben Gentry (center), professor of special education, poses for a photo with President Carolyn W. Meyers and Dr. Mark G. Hardy during the One JSU Excellence Awards Dinner held at the JSU Student Center on Aug. 14.

The night’s top awards went to Vera Banks Watson, Alumnus of the Year; Lori Jackson, Community Service; Dr. Ashton Hamme, Teacher of the Year; and Dr. Paresh Ray, Researcher of the Year.

Dr. Ashton Hamme (left), 2012 Teacher of the Year, Dr. Paresh Ray, Researcher of the Year and Lori Jackson, Community Service Award recipient, attend the One JSU Excellence Awards Dinner on Tuesday, Aug. 14.

Also honored were:

Dr. Bobbie Daniels, Accounting

Dr. Donald Causey, Entrepreneurship and Professional Development

Dr. Fidel Ezeala-Harrison, Economics, Finance and General Business

Dr. Samuel N. Perkins, Management and Marketing

Dr. Lakitta Johnson, School, Community and Rehab Counseling

Dr. Jeton McClinton, Educational Leadership

Dr. Lou Helen Sanders, Educational Technology

Dr. Evornia Kincaid, Elementary Education

Dr. Patricia Kennedy, Health, Physical Education and Recreation

Dr. Deidre L. Wheaton, Lifelong Learning

Dr. Ruben Gentry, Special Education

Dr. Patricia VanDecar, Social Sciences

Kenyetta Stewart, Art

Dr. Verna R. Jones, Criminal Justice and Sociology

Dr. Preselfannie McDaniels, English and Modern Foreign Languages

Dr. Alfonso W. Crump, History and Philosophy

Dr. Teresa Taylor, Mass Communications

Dr. David N. Ware, Music

Dr. Michelle D. Deardorff, Political Science

Dr. Taunjah P. Bell, Psychology

Dr. Nadia Bodie-Smith, Speech Communication and Theatre

Dr. Anna M. Marshall, Bachelor of Social Work Program

Dr. Mary Langford-Hall, Communicative Disorders

Dr. Jung H. Lee, Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Dr. Russell L. Bennett, Health Policy and Management

Dr. Julie A. Schroeder, Master of Social Work Program

Dr. Gloria Billingsley, Public Policy and Administration

Dr. Olga N. Osby, Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work Program

Capt. LaTracia Price, Aerospace Science

Dr. Raphael Isokpehi, Biology

Dr. John D. Watts, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dr. Himangshu Das, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr. Shuangzhang Tu, Computer Engineering

Dr. April Tanner, Computer Science

Dr. Zhenbu Zhang, Mathematics

Dr. Abu Khan, Physics, Atmospheric Sciences and Geoscience

Dr. Francis Tuluri, Technology

Evette J. Stewart, Computer Science

Georgia Sims, Auxiliary Services

Linda Wilson, Human Resources

Carolyn Palmer Johnson, Institutional Advancement

Tamka S. Jenkins, Sponsored Programs

Timothy Abram, Veterans Center

To read more about the awardees’ accomplishments, visit:



  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Rhonda, for your kind words… -Preselfannie

  2. Congratulations to all of the faculty honorees, but most especially to my doctoral classmate, Dr. Mary Langford Hall, and my other friend, Dr. Preselfannie McDaniels. Way to go, Mary and Preselfannie, and best wishes for much continued success.

  3. Congratulations Dr. Ruben Gentry for being honored to receive the “One JSU: Excellence Award.” Thanks for being that role model who inspires my generation to do our very best and be the best .

  4. Carmen Gentry Wall says:

    Congratulations Dr. Ruben Gentry (my uncle)!!! You truly exemplify excellence in everything you do. You are a great example of what dedication and hard work really mean. It is nice to see Jackson State recognize what I have seen in you all of my life.

  5. Vonnie Gentry Sutton says:

    Congratulations Dr. Ruben Gentry! I am so proud of your accomplishments. May God continue to work through you to inspire others. JSU is blessed to have you aboard. I am truly blessed to have you in my family. Great job Uncle Ruben!!

  6. Charles L. Gentry says:

    Congratulations to Dr. Ruben Gentry! You are a shining role model for both your students and your family. You have always willingly shared your time, talents and treasures with others to make this a better world. You have certainly enriched and enhanced the lives of countless people through your wisdom, intellect, leadership, compassion, enthusiasm and integrity. Keep up the outstanding work.

  7. Ollie and Hazel Gentry says:

    Congratulations to Dr. Ruben Gentry on receiving the “JSU Excellence Award!” There are only two lasting gifts one can hope to give to students. One of these is roots and the other is wings. Because of your talents, abilities, uniqueness and dedication to the field of education your students are the recipients of both (roots and wings). Our family is blessed to have one who is willing to give service and not to be served. Love you!

  8. Kevin Gentry says:

    Congratulations to all the recipients, but a special congrats to Dr. Ruben Gentry. You make the family/friends, the community, and those you’ve impacted proud. Keep up the outstanding work, and job well done!

  9. Felicia Pulliam-Gentry says:

    Congratulations to Dr. Ruben Gentry an honor well deserved.

  10. Marcus Gentry says:

    Congratulations to Dr. Ruben Gentry! We’re proud of your long-term commitment to JSU and to influencing the lives of its many students. Keep up the good work.

  11. A special congratulation to Dr. Lou Hl Sander for being a recipient of the “One JSU Excellence Award”

  12. Merlene Walker says:

    Congratulations Dr Ruben Gentry i am 14 and would like to grow up and be just like the Educator you are.Proud to know you.God Bless you.

  13. Congratulation to Dr. Ruben Gentry, my uncle for being the recipient of the “One JSU Excellence Award” for 2012. I am very proud of your long-term commitment to JSU. The Gentry family is very excited for your achievement

  14. Hattie L. Frazier says:

    Congratulations Dr. Ruben Gentry!!! I am so proud of you for being the educator you are…dedicated, committed, loyal, upstanding, and brilliant. You are truly an asset to the JSU family and an inspiration to the community, family, and friends. Thanks again, for touching the lives of the faculty, staff, and student body at JSU. You are an astute individual, a supporter of good will and I am elated to be your sister-in-law. Congratulations to the other honorees, thank you so much for your accomplishments.

  15. Eugene M. Hicks, Jr. says:

    Congrats Dad (Dr. Ruben Gentry)!! Job well done on your achievements. Continue to be an inspiration to us all.

  16. Eugene and Makaila Hicks says:

    Congrats Pa Pa (Dr.Ruben Gentry)! We are so proud of you :-) Love the grand-kids

  17. Dr. Ressia Gentry Hicks says:

    Congratulations to all of the honorees on a job well done, but I would like to say a special congrats to my dad, Dr. Ruben Gentry!! Continue to be a great asset to a wonderful university. Love you Daddy!

  18. Gisele N. Gentry, Ph.D. says:

    Congrats to Dr. Ruben Gentry! Educator, Friend, Uncle, Man of God, Administrator, Publisher (The Gentry Gazette), Father, Husband, Grandpa, Mentor, etc. You wear so many hats and you wear them well. You have done so much for so many people over the years and now you get to smell the roses. Continued success!!!

  19. Eunette Gentry, Miss JSU 97-98 says:

    Dr. Gentry (Uncle Ruben) we are so proud of you!!! You are a shining example of excellence –professionally & personally– for our family, JSU, and the entire community. Thank you for all that you do. Congratulations also goes to my fellow former Miss Jackson State University, and soror, Lori Jackson!!!… & Dr. Lou Helen Sanders!!!

  20. Dr. Ruben Gentry, Congratulations for being selected to receive the “One JSU: Excellence Award.” We appreciate your dedication to excellence in all areas of your work. You are truly an outstanding educator who has touched the lives of numerous students. Your teaching techniques and procedures are supeerb. Job well done!!

  21. Luther W Williams says:

    Congratulations Dr. Ruben Gentry for your recognition as a receipient of the One JSU: Excellence Award. Your outstanding service to the JSU Community has been outstanding.
    May God continue to bless you and JSU.

    Luther W. Williams, RVP
    JSUNAA – Western Region
    August 16, 2012

  22. Merlene Walker says:

    Congratulations Dr. Ruben Gentry Hope you feel proud of all you’ve Achieved,and excited about everything the future holds for you.
    Merlene Walker

  23. Ruth Gentry Williams says:

    Congratulations Dr. Ruben Gentry on receiving the 2012 “One JSU: Excellence Award” Our family is proud of you and your accomplishment. You deserve nothing but the best.

    Your sister,

    Ruth Gentry Williams
    1st Vice President
    JSUNAA – Los Angeles Chapter

  24. Jacqueline Williams Thomas says:

    Dr. Ruben Gentry (my beloved uncle – the EIGHT sons of Grandpa Coy Gentry and Grandma Beatrice McCord Gentry – smile). Congratulations on your award. You deserve it. I am proud of you not only as my beloved uncle, but also as an alumnus of Jackson State University (Go Tigers) and we both graduated from the University of Florida (Go Gators). Love you dearly, your niece Jacqueline Williams Thomas Sent August 16, 2012 @ 6:48 p.m. from Largo, Maryland (metro Washington, DC)

  25. Velsie Gentry says:

    Congratulations to ALL the honorees, shoutouts to my teachers, Dr. Harrison and Perkins. Go LORI!!!! A special JOB WELL DONE to DRs. RUBEN GENTRY, you go above and beyond in everything that you do. I am proud to say, ” You are my Uncle and that I am related to you.” You deserve this and so much more. Chelsie and I are so proud of you. WE LOVE YOU!!!!

  26. Beth McInnis says:

    Congrats, Dr. Gentry on your dedication and devotion to your students and outstanding research at Jackson State University. You are a wonderful professor and great educator, job well done!

  27. Regina Gentry Blackman, Treasurer of JSU Atlanta Alumni Chapter says:

    Congratulations Dr. Ruben Genty on a job well done. Love you Dad.

  28. John A. Peoples, President Emeritus says:

    I take great pleasure in congratulating Dr. Rueben Gentry on being honored by Jackson State for his outstanding service. I am proud to claim him as one of my colleagues during my tenure as Presidsent of Jackson State University.

  29. Dr. Ruben Gentry, “CONGRATULATIONS” on receiving such an excellent award. I am very proud of you and your accomplishments.

  30. Edith Gentry says:

    Congratulations Dr. Gentry for being such an outsanding educator. Your passion, care, dedication, and concern for the future of our students is remarkable.I applaud all that you stand for. Keep up the excellant work.

  31. Gregory & Rosa Jones says:

    Congrats Dr. Reuben Gentry! Outstanding achievement. Wonderful mann of God! Many Blessings to you!

  32. Harvey Ellis says:

    Congratulations Dr. Ruben Gentry, I applaud you for being nominated by your peers and honored for making a difference in the lives of those you touched at JSU. Job well done!!!

  33. Jasmine Howard says:

    You all have done a remarkable job at challenging minds and changing lives.It is my pleaseure to compliment those who deserve credit and acknowlegdement for there undeniable efforts to educate the students of JSU. Dr. Lou Sanders and Dr. Ruben Gentry keep up the good work !!

  34. Mica says:

    Congratulations to my Father-In-Law. You are most deserving of this prestigious award and your amazing dedication continues to inspire us all to reach higher heights.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Congrat Dr Ray

  36. Congratulations Dr. Ruben Gentry, you are an outstanding role-model. I truly admire your success and the impact you have had on the students at JSU.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Dr. Gentry was my principle in middle school, Blackburn Jr. high he is an outstanding educator…

  38. Anonymous says:

    He is the best he taught me Chemistry a long time ago, and still doing good….

  39. Congratulations to Dr. Ruben Gentry and Dr. Lou Helen Sanders for your outstanding service and dedication to the students of Jackson State University.

  40. Reginald F. Gentry says:

    Congratulations to all of the honorees. But I would like to extend a special congrats to the debonaire gentleman in the top photo sporting the black bow-tie, Dr. Ruben Gentry, my pops. Over 30 years of service to JSU and still making a difference. Job well done!!

  41. Lenary Ellis says:

    Congratulations Dr. Ruben Gentry, I am so very proud of you, paving the way for future generations.

  42. Farah Christmas says:

    Congrats to Dr. Crump!! May God continue to bless you on your future endeavors!!

  43. Jeff Sloan says:

    Congratulations Dr. Ashton Hamme! Achievement to the fullest!

  44. Bessie Frazier says:

    Congratulations Dr. Ruben Gentry and other One JSU honorees. Drs. Myers and Hardy, these are very deserving faculty and staff.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Evette Stewart, we the Anderson United Methodist Women are so very proud of our President, leading on the job and at church, well done.

  46. Nicol Hemphill says:

    CONGRATULATIONS DR. LOU H. SANDERS!!!! You deserve to be congratulated for your hard work and dedication to Jackson State University!

  47. Montique Clark says:

    Congratulations to all honorees! Job well done!

  48. Meka says:

    Congrags to Dr. Samuel Perkins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  49. Nola Radford says:

    Congratulations to Dr. Hall on recognition of her work.

  50. Miss Ashley S. Simmons says:

    Congradulation to each of you for careers well proven in The Jackon State University Inc.

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