A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Where Are They Now? Catching up with Faculty of the Year Award Winners

By Cathy Cruise, MFA '93 on March 1, 2018

Each year Mason honors a dedicated professor whose commitment to students and the university is exemplary. Few people, other than those attending the Alumni Association’s annual Celebration of Distinction, get to see the full list of Faculty Member of the Year Award winners, so we thought the 50th anniversary of Mason alumni was a good time to share it. We also caught up with a few winners to find out what they’re up to now.

Warren Decker, 1984 award, is still a Mason professor and debate team director. “I can’t imagine anywhere that I would have been happier and more fulfilled,” says the man who started Mason’s communication degree, built its top-ranked debate team, and helped expand the Communication Department and its offerings. Off campus, Decker spends lots of time babysitting his granddaughters.

Doris Bitler Davis, 2003 award, continues as an associate psychology professor at Mason. An early adopter of classroom technology, she is now the Psychology Department’s online program coordinator. Her research has moved in the direction of understanding animal behavior by studying creatures like ducks, chickens, and dogs. In her spare time, she enjoys making soap and bath products.

The 2005 award winner, Cindy Lont, started teaching in Mason’s Communication Department in 1984, thinking she would stay a year. Thirty-one years later, she retired and now stays busy renovating a 140-year-old home her parents bought in the Finger Lakes in the 1960s. Referring to the structure that originally had no heat, six bedrooms, and only one bath, Lont says, “When friends say, ‘Aren’t you bored?’ I say, ‘Have you seen my house?’”

And the 2014 award winner, math professor Padmanabhan Seshaiyer, says he admires how Mason “supports educators like me to become change agents to help students become better collaborators, communicators, critical thinkers, and creative problem solvers.” A global educator, Seshaiyer loves to travel and has enjoyed adventures from wildlife safaris in the Serengeti to ziplining in the Amazon.


2017 Richard Rubenstein

2016 Michael W. Nickens

2015 William B. Miller

2014 Padmanabhan Seshaiyer

2013 Marion F. Deshmukh

2012 Linda Apple Monson

2011 Don M. Boileau

2010 Todd B. Kashdan

2009 Peter J. Boettke

2008 Harold A. Geller

2007 Roger W. Wilkins

2006 Rick S. Davis

2005 Cynthia M. Lont

2004 James B. Young

2003 Doris A. Bitler

2002 Lloyd E. Duck

2001 Don E. Kash

2000 Stuart S. Malawer

1999 Karen K. Oates

1998 Toni-Michelle Travis

1997 Anthony J. Maiello

1996 Robert T. Hawkes

1995 Kenneth A. Kovach

1994 Roberta M. Conti

1993 Bruce B. Manchester

1992 Kevin A. Avruch

1991 Henry J. Bindel Jr.

1990 Mary C. Silva

1989 Sheryl A. Friedley

1988 Peter Klappert

1987 Brack Brown and Lloyd de Boer

1986 Hale N. Tongren

1985 Walter E. Williams

1984 Warren D. Decker

1983 Michael R. Kelley

1982 Carol J. Sears

1981 Kenneth A. Kovach

1980 Kitty P. Smith

1979 Michael G. Emsley and Bruce B. Manchester

1978 John A. Oppelt

1977 Hyman I. Feinstein

1976 John R. Linn

1975 Stephen T. Early Jr.

1974 Margaret C. Duffner

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