University of Evansville

AceNotes Today

Thursday, May 12, 2016

* Kevin Gray named Outstanding Teacher of the Year at UE Commencement

Kevin Gray, associate professor of sociology in the Department of Law, Politics, and Society at the University of Evansville, was named the 2016 Outstanding Teacher at the University during UE’s 158th Commencement Exercises.

UE alumni value the exceptional education they received here. To encourage continued excellence, the Alumni Association sponsors this award honoring distinguished service in teaching.

Gray came to UE in 2005. He earned his undergraduate degree from Spring Hill College in sociology, his MS in criminal justice from the University of Alabama, and his PhD in criminal justice from Michigan State University.

He maintains academically rigorous classes and continually updates his courses. Gray serves as advisor to all criminal justice majors and supervises internships for criminal justice and sociology majors. As a member of the campus community, Gray serves as chair of the University’s admissions and standards committee. 

Gray was nominated for the Outstanding Teacher of the Year award not only by students but also alumni, faculty members and administrators. Those nominating him described him as a brilliant and witty teacher who has a genuine interest in his students. His teaching style was described as both entertaining and challenging.

Gray is a dedicated professor and a collegial department member,” said Robert Dion, chair of UE’s Department of Law, Politics, and Society. “He is a strong representative to the broader Evansville community.”

* UE announces Outstanding Senior Awards at Commencement

Emily R. Denne, a psychology major from Zionsville, Indiana, and Alex Schmidt, a physics and Spanish major from Jasper, Indiana, were named the University of Evansville’s Outstanding Seniors during UE's Commencement at the Ford Center.

The Mabel Dillingham Nenneker and Guthrie May Outstanding Senior Service Awards are the highest honors the University presents to one female and one male senior. They are named for two of the University’s most respected alumni, Mabel Dillingham Nenneker and Guthrie May.

Denne was the recipient of the Mabel Dillingham Nenneker Outstanding Senior Service Award. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology with a minor in studio art.

Denne is a member of the American Psychology-Law Society, the Association for Psychological Science, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and the Indiana Academy of Social Sciences. She was president of her sorority during her senior year and received the Chi Omega Senior Academic Excellence Award for the highest GPA and the Ethel Switzer Howard Award for high character. In addition she was the first place presenter at the UE Humanities Night Internship Showcase.

Denne received grants from UE to support her undergraduate research, including the UExplore Undergraduate Fall Research; Arts, Research and Teaching Grant; the Alumni Research and Scholarly Activity Fellowship Grant; and an Undergraduate Spring Research Grant. 

While a student at UE, she has attended many professional conferences and presented research, and has published articles and contributed to chapters in psychology books. Denne has been involved with volunteering at Morning Dove Therapeutic Horse Riding Barn and College Mentors for Kids. 

Next year, Denne plans to attend Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and earn a doctorate in child development and social policy. 

The Guthrie May Award was presented to Schmidt. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degrees in Spanish and physics with a minor in mathematics.

While at UE, Schmidt has been involved in the UE Community Garden and served as vice president of outreach and community service for the Honors Activities Board. He was a co-founder of Honors Ace Mentors, vice president of the Spanish Club, president of the Venturing Crew, and academic committee chair of the Student Government Association. Schmidt was president of the Powell Hall Council when it was recognized as the Hall Council of the Year, and was recognized as Hall Council President of the Year. 

In addition to his UE academic aid, Schmidt received financial support from the Indiana Space Grant Consortium, the National Society for Collegiate Scholars, and the Society of Physics Students.

After graduation, he hopes to work with alternative energy programs in Southwestern Indiana before pursuing graduate school.


Upcoming Events

* Farewell reception for Michael Cullen planned for today

Please join the Office of Academic Affairs in wishing Michael Cullen, senior vice president for academic affairs, farewell today from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Please join us in thanking him for his 20 years of service to the University. The reception will be held in the conference room between Rooms 204 and 205 in Olmsted Administration Hall. Hope to see you there!

* Summer health screenings

Employee health screenings will be held June 7-9 from 7:00–11:00 a.m. in UE Medical Clinic. Employees who are enrolled in the HRA Insurance Plan are eligible to attend and receive HRA credits.

Employees can only schedule their appointments for the health screenings on AceLink. An employee can schedule up to two appointments (employee and spouse) when they sign in to AceLink.

An 8-hour fast is required, and a 12-hour fast is recommended because triglycerides are included with the blood fat/cholesterol testing. Hydration is important when fasting. Water and black coffee are allowed prior to testing.


Info You Should Know

* Sign up for Dragon Boat Race

The eleventh annual Midwest Dragon Boat Race will be held on Saturday, June 4, at Deaconess Sports Park Lake. Join the UE team! No skills necessary and anyone can participate. Lunch and a team shirt will be provided. Contact for more information or to sign up. 

* Copies of the 2015 LinC still available

Extra copies of the 2015 LinC are still available to those who would like a copy. Just stop by Student Publications on the second floor of Ridgway University Center and pick up a copy from the box located outside the door. 

* Thursday afternoon golf outings

The employees of the University of Evansville are again invited to play golf with other UE employees on Thursday afternoons during the summer months. The UE golf outings will start on Thursday, May 12 at 3:00 p.m. The first two weeks will be played at Thunderbolt Pass, and the following weeks will be played at Fendrich and McDonald's golf courses. You can reserve your tee time by contacting Debbie Kassenbrock in the Center for Academic Advising at by noon on the Wednesday prior to the outing.



* ARSAF Grant recipients

The Alumni Research and Scholarly Activity Fellowship awards, sponsored by the UE Alumni Association, have been determined for the upcoming fiscal year. Over $12,000 was awarded. Congratulations to the following faculty members and all best with their projects:

Mari Plikuhn, assistant professor of sociology – Alpha Scholars Abroad: First-generation College Students and Access to Study Abroad
Mark Valenzuela, associate professor of civil engineering – The Iconography of the Long Gallery at Harlaxton Manor
Todd Matteson, assistant professor of art – Reduction Firing Results in an Oxidation Kiln
Lesley Pleasant, associate professor of German – Road Films
Margaret Stevenson, associate professor of psychology, and Sveta Greer – Implications for Civil Court Judgments in Accident Cases
Richard Maass, assistant professor of political science - Annexation: Domestic Constraints on International Ambition and the U.S. Rise to Power, Book Conferences
Davies Bellamy, association professor of education – Cultural Immersion Project Cuba
Michael Slade, assistant professor of chemistry – Improving the Lightboard Enhance its IMPACT and Optimize its Flexibility

The deadline to submit ARSAF proposals in April 1 of each year for funding for the following fiscal year.

Questions? Contact



* Softball picks up numerous MVC awards

A big night saw the University of Evansville Softball team earn several Missouri Valley Conference awards at the pre-championship banquet on Wednesday night.

Headlining that were two specialty awards. Head coach Mat Mundell and assistants Ashley Balazs and Aubrey Watson were named the MVC Coaching Staff of the Year while Morgan Florey garnered Freshman of the Year honors.

"We are truly touched and honored to receive this recognition from our peers. The real credit goes to our players for buying in and helping us get Aces softball moving in the right direction,” Mundell said. "We can't thank our players enough for a great season.”

"Morgan had an unbelievable freshman year,” Mundell continued. “She has made a tremendous impact for us in the circle and at the plate."

The coaching staff turned around a team that went 10-45 and 2-23 in conference play in 2015 into a true league contender as the squad was 24-25 overall and 12-14 in conference play in 2016. The primary improvements have come on defense as the staff ERA went from 6.61 last year to 2.92 in 2016, which was third in the MVC. It is the first Coach of the Year honor for the program since Rita Schulz and Dee Stevens were honored by the North Star Conference in 1985.

Florey was named the 2016 MVC Freshman of the Year. In her first season with the Purple Aces, Florey was one of the top pitchers in the conference and also one of the top freshmen hurlers in the nation. Florey finished second in the MVC with 209 strikeouts, a tally that is just eight away from breaking the UE single-season mark of 216.

Her ERA of 1.95 was third in the league while the four saves she earned tied the single-season mark for the Aces. On offense, Florey batted .301 with 8 home runs and 26 RBI. Her 23 RBIs in league play was 4th overall while her tally of seven conference homers also tied her for 4th place.

Three Purple Aces players also made their way onto the All-Conference Teams. Florey along with junior Chandra Parr earned a spot on the All-MVC First Team while Susan Norris was named to the All-Defensive squad.

"It is great to see Chandra, Morgan, and Susan get recognition for the season they have had,” Mundell said. "Chandra really blossomed this season at second base for us. Her offense has always been there but she took her defense to the next level this year. Susan played the conference season at an elite level defensively. She has been a game changer for our defense especially down the stretch."

For Parr, it marks her second such honor. As a freshman, she made the squad in 2014. She finished the regular season hitting .306 with six homers and 23 runs batted in. It is also the first honor for Florey, who was one of the top overall players in the nation, contributing in the circle and at the plate. It is the first time UE has had two 1st-team players since 2009 when Jen Stahlhut and Kylie Wagner were recognized.

A steady glove at third base saw Susan Norris finish the year with a .977 fielding percentage. That helped her earn a spot on the MVC All-Defensive Team. She made just three errors in 80 attempts while notching 49 put-outs.

UE looks forward to its opening-round matchup against Illinois State today at 1:34 p.m.

* Softball heads to Carbondale for MVC Championship

The quest for the 2016 Missouri Valley Conference Championship begins on Thursday as the University of Evansville Softball team will take on Illinois State in the opening round of the tournament in Carbondale, Illinois.

First-round action begins for the sixth-seeded Purple Aces at 1:34 p.m. on Thursday as they face the number seven seed Redbirds. All games will be televised live on ESPN3. With a win in the opening round, UE would advance to face the three seed – UNI – at 6:34 p.m. tomorrow. The winner of that game faces second-seeded Drake on Friday at 2:34 p.m. while the championship game of the single elimination tournament will be on Saturday at 1:04 p.m.

Evansville finished the regular season with a 24-25 mark while going 12-14 in the MVC. The league mark tied the Aces for fifth place in the conference; Bradley clinched the Number five seed with the tiebreaker. The record and seed this year mark the best for the program in the last nine years. It is also the first MVC Championship appearance for the team since 2013 when the squad advanced to the championship game against UNI.

A late surge in the regular season saw shortstop Michal Luckett lead the squad with a .312 batting average. The junior recorded a hit in nine of her last 22 at-bats including a 2-2 effort with three RBIs and three steals in the second game of the series at Loyola.

Also making an impact in the series road win was Morgan Florey. The freshman tossed a complete game in the opener on Saturday and matched that success at the plate. She notched four hits in six plate appearances in Chicago, hitting two home runs and knocking in three runs. Florey also drew four walks in the three games.

Illinois State completed the season with an 18-32 mark and posted a 10-14 MVC record. Riley Strandgard led the way for ISU, hitting .361 on the season and an impressive .405 in Valley play. Freshman Allison Spencer had a solid weekend for the Redbirds as they faced UNI on the road. She recorded a hit in four of her 10 at-bats in the series.

In April, the Aces and Redbirds squared off in a series in Normal as UE took two out of three games. Chandra Parr led the way, notching six hits in 10 at-bats while scoring five times. She also finished with two home runs that weekend. Morgan Lambert also finished the series above .500, notching six hits, including a double and a home run.

* Dalen Traore signs with UE Men's Basketball

University of Evansville Men’s Basketball head coach Marty Simmons has announced the signing of Dalen Traore to join the Purple Aces next season.

Traore, a 6-9 forward, joins the program after spending the last two seasons at Miami Dade College where he starred for the Sharks over the last two seasons. He will have two seasons of eligibility with the Aces.

“We are very excited to welcome Dalen to our program. He is a hard worker who will bring a great attitude to our team,” Simmons commented. “He is a warrior on the boards who will add some nice depth inside for us. Dalen also brings a nice touch for someone his size.”

Originally from the Ivory Coast, Traore finished his high school career at Northwood Temple Academy in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

“Aside from his work in school, we are also very excited about Dalen’s international experience. That kind of experience is priceless and has helped him become a better player,” Simmons added.

That international experience came in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship where he finished as one of the top players in the tournament. Playing for his native Ivory Coast, he was the number two scorer and rebounder in the tournament. He posted 12.7 points per game throughout the event while hauling in 10.5 rebounds. The tournament, which was played in the Czech Republic, also saw Mislav Brzoja play for Croatia.


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