Each day, University of Mississippi students are affected by the words and actions of faculty and staff members who extend their work beyond classrooms, labs and office space.
Two of them – Denis C. Goulet, lecturer and coordinator of laboratory programs in the Department of Biology; and Carol Forsythe, senior secretary in the Department of Legal Studies – have been selected as this year's Frist Student Service Award honorees in recognition of their exceptional service to students.
They were chosen from among dozens of nominees, submitted by students, alumni, faculty and staff. A chancellor's committee weighed all the nominations and made the picks.
"It is always a pleasure to present the Frist Awards because they recognize service to students," Chancellor Dan Jones said. "Students are our reason for being and service is at the core of our culture. I am grateful for this year's recipients and their commitment to serving our students."
The awards, one for faculty and one for staff, were established with a gift from the late Dr. Thomas F. Frist Sr. of Nashville, a 1930 UM graduate. This is the 20th year for the awards.
Goulet and Forsythe each receive $1,000 and a plaque, and are to be recognized May 10 at UM's main Commencement ceremony. Both recipients expressed surprise upon learning that they had been chosen for the recognition.
"I was totally surprised and tremendously honored," Goulet said. "This was totally unexpected. It shows there are people that appreciate the things that I do. It's nice to know there are people whose lives I'm having an impact upon. It's wonderful to know that I'm helping people."
Likewise, Forsythe said, "I was very shocked, very surprised and very, very honored. I feel like our students are like my own children. To have been nominated by them made me feel like I really do make a difference."
Goulet joined the biology department faculty in 2001, coming from Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Ft. Pierce, Fla. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Alberta in Canada; a master's from Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada and a doctorate from the University of Puerto Rico. Goulet was honored in 2010 with an ACCESS Award from the Office of Student Disability Services. He was recently elected to the national executive committee of the Gamma Beta Phi honor society.
One nomination for Goulet, from a graduate student, stated in part: "Dr. Goulet has gone above and beyond expectations as a professor. … He spends day and night organizing, elaborating, delivering donations, making phone calls, arranging and setting up service projects that benefit the local community, along with several communities in the Delta."
In another nomination, a former student wrote: "I have heard great things about him as a professor, but experienced him first and foremost as a great adviser for … one of the largest organizations on campus. I know he takes out a lot of his time and effort to make this club the best and most enjoyable I have ever come to see."
Forsythe has been employed at the university since 1997. She worked as a secretary in the Department of Communicative Disorders and then in the School of Applied Sciences dean's office before moving to her current post in 2002. She is an Oxford High School graduate.
One nomination for Forsythe, from an alumnus, stated: "I have not worked with anyone that has the heart and the genuine love of people that Mrs. Carol Forsythe has. She is a counselor, adviser, event-coordinator, problem-solver and, most importantly, a best friend."
An international student wrote, "I have struggled with being in a different country and adapting to things here. Miss Carol has been the very backbone that has held me up. She so deserves recognition for all the extra things that she does in the office day to day, and her 17 years of dedication to the faculty, students and University of Mississippi."
Individuals or organizations interested in establishing funds to honor outstanding Ole Miss faculty and staff can contact the Office of University Development at 662-915-3937.