HU recognizes professor, staff member of the year

Huntington University recognized three individuals at the annual Celebration of Service appreciation event on May 19.

Dr. Matthew Ruiz, associate professor of exercise science, was named the 2015 Professor of the Year.  He was honored earlier this month at Forester Night, a senior awards event.

“This is a very special place,” Ruiz said. “It’s been an amazing, life-transforming 9 years. I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to work here.”

Ruiz joined the faculty in the fall of 2006. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in athletic training and exercise science from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., a Master of Science degree in exercise science and sport studies with a concentration in sport and exercise psychology from Springfield College in Springfield, Mass., and a Ph.D. in kinesiology with an emphasis in sport and exercise psychology from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn.

Ruiz will be moving on from the university at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.

Jean Michelson, RichLyn Library circulation coordinator, was named the 2015 Staff Member of the Year.

The Staff Member of the Year award, like the Professor of the Year award, recognizes outstanding service to the university.

“She is a very dedicated, hardworking member of our community,” said President Sherilyn Emberton. I can’t think of anyone who has blended more with their spouses’ work. We know we can never replace you, but hope to find someone to bring the kind of excellence you did.”

Anita Gray, director of library services, revealed Jean Michelson to be like the “Energizer Bunny” because “Jean’s drive to serve others has no rival.”

Jean and her husband, Dr. Paul Michelson, were both honored for their years of service to the university. They will both retire at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. Together, they have provided 62 combined years of outstanding service.

Dr. Paul Michelson has been a member of the faculty since 1974. He was a three-time Fulbright fellow in Romania (1971-1973, 1982-1983, 1989-1990). His areas of interest and expertise include historiography, Romanian history and political development in the 19th-21st centuries, Totalitarianism and post-totalitarian societies, the history of Venice, and the work of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. In 1997, Dr. Michelson was the recipient of the Huntington College Centennial Medallion. He has also been Huntington University Faculty lecturer four times (1981, 1998, 2009, and 2013). 

“It’s go to school, go to school, work, work, work and die,” said Dr. Paul Michelson, distinguished professor of history. “Our interactions with students, faculty and our colleagues is why we do what we do. The institution is moving in good directions and the future is bright.”

Michelson is the author of over 150 articles and has served on multiple historical boards during his time at HU. He was awarded Professor of the Year in 1976. He has served as the advisor for Alpha Chi honors society, created multiple courses and is involved with College Park Church, Habitat for Humanity and Little League coaching.

Dr. Dwight Brautigam, professor of European history, spoke on behalf of Michelson’s achievements.

“There is no fiercer defender of faculty than Paul Michelson,” Brautigam said. “Paul has modeled the seriousness of holding to academic standards and the sheer joy of teaching, He combined rigorous scholarship and just plain fun.”