10:21 AM

Prized Faculty Excellence Awards at UST Honor Horwitz and Mellis

The University of St. Thomas-Houston annual opening day celebration included the recognition of this year’s recipients of UST’s prized Faculty Excellence Awards. One at a time, Dr. Sujin Horwitz and Dr. Birgit Mellis ascended onto the stage to receive their awards from VP for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Chris Evans. The large audience of colleagues and staff exploded in heartfelt applause each time.

Dr. Sujin Horwitz

VP for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Chris Evans presents Dr. Sujin Horwitz with the St. Thomas Aquinas Excellence in Teaching AwardProfessor of Management and Marketing Dr. Sujin Horwitz received the St. Thomas Aquinas Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Evans described her as “a passionate educator whose dedication to the discipline and to her students inspire them to succeed in the classroom and beyond.”

Evans went on to say, “A student nominator describes her as ‘an extraordinary professor who is passionate about teaching. Her intelligence is astounding, and she always has the most interesting answers to mine and my fellow classmates’ questions. She is very kind and an excellent example of what kind of professors UST offers.’”

Horwitz was also recognized for her excellence as an educator-mentor and her broad scope of expertise. Courses taught by Professor Horwitz encompass Business and Management, Organization development, human resources, and international development.

The dedicated professor for the Cameron School of Business boldly tackles tough business questions and issues, models ethical leadership, and fosters collaborative learning. 

Dr. Birgit Mellis

Dr. Chris Evans presents the Joseph M. McFadden Excellence in Service Award to Dr. Birgit MellisThis year’s Joseph M. McFadden Excellence in Service Award recognizes Dr. Birgit Mellis. Dr. Evans termed her service “extraordinary.”

“Dr. Mellis’ extraordinary service is manifested by her active and visionary role as the founding chair of the Department of Physics and Engineering,” he explained. “She has spearheaded the creation of five majors in Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Physics, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Physics.”

Remarkably, she also developed 45 new courses for a 3:2 pre-engineering program she created.

Evans added, “The number of department majors has increased from 12 in 2019 to 110 enrolled majors in 2022.”

Dr. Mellis is constantly seeking to support UST students. She has established three endowed scholarships and secures student internships and job opportunities with prestigious corporate partners.

Her service achievements continue to amaze. Dr. Mellis founded the Physics and Engineering “Fall Speaker Series.” And just last year, she established the Engineering Advisory Board, represented by members from industry and government organizations (such as NASA) to advise on the direction of the department.

Onward and Upward

With the academic bench strength of its entire outstanding faculty, the University of St. Thomas begins the 2023-2024 chapter of its excellence in Catholic higher education.