Honoring the Best

 Mary Beth Kurz receives Class of ’39 Award for Excellence

Clements and KurzCLEMSON FACULTY have recognized associate professor of industrial engineering Mary Beth Kurz as one of the very best among them by awarding her the Class of ’39 Award for Excellence.

The award, endowed by the class of 1939 to commemorate its 50th anniversary in 1989, is presented annually to a faculty member whose outstanding contributions for a five-year period have been judged by fellow faculty to represent the highest achievement of service to the student body, University, and community, state or nation. The recipient also becomes an honorary member of the class of 1939.

Calling Kurz a “complete professor” with a heart for service in nominating her for the award, William Ferrell, Fluor International Supply Chain Professor and associate dean of the Graduate School, wrote Kurz is “an excellent faculty member who has balanced success across teaching, research and securing funding.”

Kurz said she was humbled to learn she would receive the award: “Many of my campus heroes are in the class of 1939, and I am honored that my colleagues have elected to have me join this class. I feel the weight of the deeds of the original members of the class of 1939 and hope to live up to their reputation.”

Kurz, who came to Clemson in 2001, said she believes that being a faculty member is a long-term commitment between her and the University. “Being a faculty member who stays at an institution and grows with the institution requires engagement on both sides,” she said. “Some people are very happy and successful having a career focused on their labs, their students, their research. I like to engage with people in lots of ways, and so I have developed relationships with people through various activities, like college-level computing or curriculum committees, or University-level activities, like curriculum committees or Faculty Senate.”

“Students — both undergraduates and graduates — indicate she is an excellent classroom teacher,” Ferrell wrote. “Her approach is always to lead by example where the students know that she is working alongside them, not telling them what to do.”

Kurz’s research, for which she has garnered more than $4.8 million in funding, focuses on tactical decision-making in assembly systems.

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