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The Caine College of the Arts Honors Students, Faculty, Staff and Donors

Thursday, Apr. 25, 2013

graphic illustration for USU Caine College of the Arts' Awards program
Caine College of the Arts Dean Craig Jessop

Craig Jessop, dean of Utah State University's Caine College of the Arts, hosted an award ceremony that toasted the college’s top student and faculty accomplishments. Donors were honored and thanked for their support.

USU professor Michael Christiansen

Guitar professor Michael Christiansen was named the college's 'Teacher of the Year’ in addition to being named Utah’s 2012 Carnegie Professor of the Year in a national recognition ceremony.

USU art professor John Neely

Ceramics professor John Neely is the recipient of the D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award, the university's top research honor, awarded by the office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies.

Utah State University’s Caine College of the Arts recently honored students, faculty, staff and the college’s donors for their hard work, outstanding performance and generosity throughout the 2012-2013 academic year at the annual awards ceremony.

“In three short years our college is prospering on both the national and international levels,” said Craig Jessop, dean of the CCA. “This is only possible with the hard work, dedication and perseverance of our great students, faculty, staff and the donors who have been so instrumental in making all of the successes recognized this evening possible.”

Mike Christiansen, professor of guitar in the Department of Music, was awarded Teacher of the Year. Christiansen was also chosen as Utah’s 2012 Carnegie Professor of the Year, a prestigious award to honor outstanding undergraduate educators across the nation.

“Mike is one of the most highly respected music educators in America,” said USU President Stan L. Albrecht. “His caring for his students has made him one of Utah State University’s most beloved faculty members.”

Christiansen has taught guitar at USU for 40 years, instructing more than 8,000 students. He has also published many works on guitar technique and developed a guitar program from the ground up for the university.

“It’s been an amazing year,” said Christiansen. “Receiving those awards was great, but the real reward was reading the letters that came in from colleagues and students nominating me for Teacher of the Year and Carnegie Professor of the Year.”

John Neely, professor of ceramics in the Department of Art and Design was awarded the D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. This is the first time this award has been given to a fine artist in the history of the university.

“I am both pleased and honored,” said Neely. “In an era when research productivity is often measured in dollars secured in external grants and contracts, it is particularly gratifying to have had my efforts assessed on a different kind of scale and as a consequence, to have been named the first recipient from the arts.”

Widely recognized as an expert in the technology of clay, glaze and kiln firing, Neely is considered both an artist and a scientist. His innovative research and published results have changed the way hundreds of potters on four continents create their work.

“Throughout his career, John has contributed a body of physical work and knowledge that has made a significant impact on the world of ceramic art,” said Albrecht. “As he’s poured history, chemistry and engineering into his art, he’s put USU on the map as a place of innovation and exploration.”

Eight students received the A-Pin, one of the oldest awards at Utah State University, for earning straight A’s through two consecutive semesters. The Legacy of Utah State Award was given to Kaitlyn McDonald, a student in the Department of Theatre Arts. McDonald has 18 credits of upper-division classes, has two part-time jobs and also finds time to do volunteer work.

Machaela Burt, a student in the Department of Theatre Arts, was awarded Scholar of the Year. She has consistently excellent both in academic achievement and research, and has developed projects that benefit the department, university and community. Burt also finds time to mentor incoming students among her other commitments.

The Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year was awarded to Kathy Puzey, assistant professor of printmaking in the Department of Art and Design. Because of her dedication to students and their research, new methods of printmaking are learned through self-driven research and experiments.

This year’s ceremony included a new award, called the Champion of the Arts, and was presented to Provost Raymond T. and Andrea Coward. The Provost and his wife, together with USU President Stan Albrecht, provided the support for the college’s creation and development.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to work for a true leader and mentor,” said Jessop. “I have never met a more effective, intelligent and talented administrator and it has been a joy to know someone who ensures change, enabling others to fulfill their dreams in higher education.”

A complete list of awards:

A-Pin Recipients

Alysse Bailey, Stevie LaDawn Dutson, Lauren Ashley Henrie, Krista Jackson, Sara Mason, Ellyn Thornton, Trevor Dane Vincent, Christy Ivie

Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Fellow

Kyle McKenna

Undergraduate Researcher of the Year

Millie Struve

Legacy of Utah State Award

Kaitlyn McDonald


Andrea Decker Moreno

Scholar of the Year

Machaela Burt

Outstanding Employee of the Year (Professional)

Joyce Albrecht

Outstanding Employee of the Year (Classified)

Janet Hancock

Graduate Instructor of the Year

Louis Reilly

Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year

Kathy Puzey

Scholar/Creative Artist of the Year

Jason Nicholson

Teacher of the Year

Michael Christiansen

International Professor of the Year

Sylvia Munsen

D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award

John Neely

Carnegie Professor of the Year

Michael Christiansen

Related link:

Writer: Kara Rindlisbacher, 435-797-9203,

Contact: Denise Albiston, 435-797-1500,


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