2009 University Awards

Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award

This award, BYU’s most prestigious faculty award, is provided through the generosity of the Karl G. Maeser Scholarship Society. The recipient must ave demonstrated clear superiority in both scholarship and teaching.

Thomas W. Sederberg

Computer Science

Thomas W. Sederberg is a professor of computer science and associate dean of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. His research has made significant contributions in the areas of geometric modeling and algebraic geometry. His first major contribution made from his doctoral research, which served as the catalyst for additional breakthroughs that have given him international recognition.

Tom developed the concept of free-form deformation, now an essential technique in every major geometric modeling system, animation package, and production company. He recently developed a T-line technique that eliminates gaps inherent in other surface types, causing researchers and practitioners to rethink the way the perform geometric modeling.

He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including the ACM SIGGRPAH Computer Graphics Achievement Award (given annually to the top computer graphics researcher), the John Gregory Award, and the Purdue Distinguished Alumnus Award. He is also an outstanding teacher who consistently receives high student ratings in his courses.

Thomas Sederberg has mentored numerous undergraduate, master’s, and PhD students and has hosted several international researchers and postdoctoral scholars. Loved by his colleagues, he is truly an ambassador for BYU and the Church.


Karl G. Maeser Research and Creative Arts Award

This award honors faculty for outstanding research and creative accomplishments and is made possible by the generosity of the Karl G. Maeser Scholarship Society.

Paul B. Farnsworth

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Creativity, insight, tenacity, and integrity describe Paul B. Farnsworth. He carries out elegant experiments and fins solutions to challenges that others fail to see. His work on complex chemical processes has elucidated fundamental issues and led to substantial improvements in widely used instruments for chemical analysis. His publications are frequently cited as critical studies, and he has received several national awards for exceptional work. An excellent mentor of students, he brings them patiently along in sophisticated work and helps them become independent scientists. He has been as innovative in developing teaching materials as he has been in research. A national officer in the Society for Applied Spectroscopy, he has served at BYU as chair and associate chair of his department.


Young Scholar Award

This award encourages and acknowledges outstanding promise and contributions by faculty in the early stages of their academic careers.

Jeffrey C. Humpherys



Technology Transfer Award

This award recognizes faculty who have made significant research contributions that have led to the development of useful commercial products.

Matthew R. Linford

Chemistry and Biochemistry


President’s Appreciation Awards

This award recognizes staff and administrative personnel for exceptional service, creativity, and competence.

Earl Daniel Johnson

Physical and Mathematical Sciences

Contribution to the University:
Since coming to our dean’s office in 2002, Dan has contributed significantly in transforming our efficiency and effectiveness. Financial and other records are now readily available to help in planning and making decisions that affect the college. This support has been invaluable in helping both the former and current Dean to make decisions to bring greater financial stability to the college and to strive to maximize the effectiveness of the resources available to us. The information provided by Dan has brought more accountability from the departments in the college and Dan has also been effective in supporting the departments to help them properly manage their resources.

Performance Characteristics:
Realistically, 500 words could be written about Dan regarding each of the CRITERIA values. He is simply outstanding in each of these areas. Nonetheless, we will focus on a couple of these values. At least for Dan, “Respect for Sacred Resources” and “Accountability” go hand in hand. In our Dean’s Office staff meetings, Dan will often frame issues we are discussing in the context of existing university policies and proper/improper use of resources. He regularly provides input on how we may be able to maximize the effectiveness of the resources we have available to us, but always remains within the bounds of what is proper. When questions regarding university policy arise, Dan usually knows the answer. When he doesn’t know the answer, he does know where to go to quickly find the answer. This CRITERIA value carries over into our college council meetings, as well. Dan often has the assignment of covering items having to do with financial matters and use of resources. He is clear and unequivocal in outlining expectations and proper use of resources. On more than one occasion, he has identified areas where our departments may not be in full compliance with university policies and he has worked with our office and the departments to move towards full compliance.

We would also like to mention Dan’s ability in the area of “Competency.” Dan is very competent in what he does. He has had many years of experience at BYU working with financial records and in managing the resources of his department or college. Dan keeps very good financial records and, on occasion, has been able to help individuals at levels above him recognize mistakes in the financial records and correct them. Our college is rather stable now in terms of our financial resources, which we credit to both the former Dean and Dan. The information that Dan has readily available, or which he can quickly get when requested, has been key in allowing effective planning for both the current year and for future years. Furthermore, Dan is keenly aware of the various financial accounts available to us and the purpose of those various accounts. Thus, in planning current and future directions, he knows which accounts can be properly used and what resources would be available to implement those plans.


President’s Appreciation Awards

This award recognizes staff and administrative personnel for exceptional service, creativity, and competence.

Janet J. Fonoimoana

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Contribution to the University:
Janet Fonoimoana is an efficient, caring and very valuable member of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She more than oversees the graduate students in the department; she is an integral part of their whole BYU experience from beginning to end. Besides all she does for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Janet is also on the Graduate Recruiting Council for Graduate Studies. She comes to these meetings prepared with ideas that may help other departments and is open to their ideas as well. She is forward thinking and is willing to help other graduate student coordinators across campus. Janet is engaged and committed to helping graduate students be successful in their academic career.

Performance Characteristics:
Janet is very organized and efficient. This is evidenced by her organization of the site visit last March. She arranged travel, motel rooms, meals, a poster session, faculty sessions, etc. for 25 prospective graduate students. She was able to be frugal with expenses yet make the site visit a great success for students and faculty.

Janet carefully checks each student’s tuition and insurance needs. She checks on their academic progress and makes recommendations. Since Janet started work, she has exceeded service expectations. She works with faculty on graduate recruiting, admissions, records and progress. Faculty members she works with say her assistance to them is invaluable. She is a tremendous help to graduate students, both new and old. One student couldn’t find housing for a little while when they arrived in the U.S. and Janet let the student stay at her home. This is just one example of her caring ways. I have often seen students in her office who just need someone to talk to about school or personal problems. Janet is a good listener and students feel comfortable talking to her. She genuinely cares. As you can tell by my comments above, Janet is a lady of great integrity. She exhibits qualities in every value. I highly recommend Janet for this award. She is definitely a valuable asset to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and to BYU.