Press Release for Monday, April 12, 2010
UNF Physics Professor Awarded Terry Presidential Professorship
Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
Dr. Thomas Pekarek, a professor in the Department of Chemistry
and Physics at the University
of North Florida, has
been selected as the recipient of the Terry Presidential Professorship.
This professorship was designed in honor of UNF
President John Delaney to recognize faculty achievements through the support of
outstanding scholars. Pekarek is the second faculty member to be awarded the
Terry Presidential Professorship. Dr. Gary Smart, a UNF music professor, was
the first recipient and is the current Terry Professor.
Terry Professorship quickly has achieved the status of one of the most
significant honors conferred upon a UNF faculty member. As a result of his
sustained record of first-rate research, Tom has demonstrated that, even among
a group of accomplished colleagues, he is distinguished indeed and thus most
worthy of this award,” said Dr. Mark Workman, UNF provost and vice president
for Academic Affairs. “I fully expect that the Terry Professorship, in
conjunction with the substantial external funding that he has received, will
enable Tom to advance his research agenda in a manner that will continue to
bring further recognition both to him and to UNF.”
Pekarek, an Intracoastal resident,
will receive $7,500 for the professorship, which carries a full-term
appointment of three years and will be effective the 2010 fall semester. Financial
support for this award was established through the generosity of Mary Virginia
Terry, a former UNF Foundation Board member and leading local philanthropist.
A UNF faculty member since 1997,
Pekarek has been engaged in numerous academic research studies in the area of
physics, particularly with magnetic semiconductors. He has received external
research grant awards as the sole primary investigator totaling just under $1
million during the course of a decade.
Pekarek has had 38 scholarly
articles published and has received several awards, including the Mark Workman
Fellow, Outstanding Faculty Scholarship Award, Outstanding Undergraduate
Teaching Award and the award for 10 years of consecutive sponsored programs
funding to name a few.
He has also mentored a number of
graduate and undergraduate research students in the course of his UNF career,
with several of them receiving honors for outstanding research in physics. As a
member of the American Physical Society, Pekarek earned his doctorate and
master’s degrees in physics from Purdue
University. He also
received a bachelor’s degree in physics as well as mathematics from the University of Wyoming.