GW Distinguished Faculty Honored at 13th Annual Faculty Honors Ceremony

Awardees were recognized for excellence in teaching, scholarship, research and service.

May 7, 2023

Faculty Honors 2023

President Wrighton (l), Tractenberg Prize winners Paul Duff, Kim Roddis, David DeGrazia and Ekundayo Shittu; and Provost Bracey. (William Atkins/GW Today)

The George Washington University celebrated awardees at its 13th Annual Faculty Honors Ceremony Thursday afternoon, recognizing excellence in teaching, scholarship, research and service during the ceremony at the Jack Morton Auditorium.

The event recognizes the contributions of faculty and graduate teaching assistants whom GW President Mark S. Wrighton said “are critical to GW’s teaching, research, patient care and service to our community, to the nation and to the world.”

“We would not be able to fulfill our mission without the people in this room,” Wrighton said.

University-wide awards were conferred on a diverse group of talented faculty and graduate teaching assistants in various disciplines who were nominated by GW students, faculty and colleagues.

“We are recognizing gifted faculty members and graduate teaching assistants, their continued excellence, and their contributions to the university, in particular to the hundreds of students who have benefited from their instruction,” GW Provost and Executive Vice President for Faculty Affairs Christopher Alan Bracey said. “Many of these students will be walking across the stage at their school Commencement celebrations in just a few weeks’ time. They are able to reach that milestone in large part because of your efforts.”

The ceremony also honored faculty who have given 25 years to the university with a Silver Anniversary Award and inducted into the Society of the Emeriti faculty who are concluding their tenure as active faculty.

The Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Faculty Prizes were endowed by President Emeritus Stephen Joel Trachtenberg as a tribute to his parents. The winner of the Trachtenberg Prize for Teaching Excellence was Ekundayo Shittu, professor of engineering management and systems engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS).

“It is gratifying. It is heartwarming,” he said, adding that he tries in his classes “to create a community of active learners” using “games and simulations and learning the names of students the first week of the semester—first name, last name.”

Faculty honors 2023
A diverse group of talented faculty and graduate teaching assistants received awards after being nominated by GW students and colleagues. (William Atkins/GW Today)

GW undergraduate and teaching assistant James Ferguson, a junior, who announced the Trachtenberg Prize winners and identified himself as one of Shittu’s nominators, said he “was deeply inspired by [Shittu’s] boundless enthusiasm and passion for teaching.”

Kim Roddis, professor of civil and environmental engineering in SEAS who is retiring in June after 35 years at GW, was awarded the Trachtenberg Prize for Service.

“I had a fantastic career here at George Washington as a professor,” Roddis said, “and I cannot imagine a better capstone than to have been honored with this award that was selected by my peers.”

Other faculty awarded the Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg prizes were Paul B. Duff, professor of religion in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS) for service; and David DeGrazia, Elton Professor of Philosophy in CCAS, for scholarship.

This year marked the inaugural Inventor of the Year Award, which recognizes a faculty member’s impact on society through transferring technology from academia to the commercial sector. The recipient was Michael Keidar, the A. James Clark Professor of Engineering. Keidar is a world-renowned scholar in the field of plasma engineering whose inventions in spacecraft propulsion utilize low temperature plasma to propel and control satellites in space and have also been applied to cancer therapies. He has filed 40 U.S. patent applications and holds 20 patents.

“It’s really an honor for my lab, my team to be recognized,” Keidar said. “It goes a long way to illustrate the commitment of GW to promoting translational research. We are mentors. We are teachers. On the other hand, we are researchers, and we are trying to push science to the new frontiers.”

A partial list of award winners is below. To see the full list of faculty award winners, finalists and distinguished external awardees, including new faculty emeriti and the Silver Anniversary Faculty Awards, please go the 13th Annual Faculty Honors Ceremony page here.

Trachtenberg Prize Winners

David DeGrazia, philosophy, CCAS
Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Scholarship (Research)

Paul B. Duff, religion, CCAS
Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Service 

Kim Roddis, civil and environmental engineering, SEAS
Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Service

Ekundayo Shittu, engineering management and systems engineering, SEAS
Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Teaching Excellence