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UT Tyler Chemistry Professor Named to System’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers

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April 24, 2014

Media Contact:  Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769 or 903.539.7196 (cell)

April 24, 2014

Dr. Neil Gray has been named to The University of Texas System 2014 Academy of Distinguished Teachers, Dr. Alisa White, provost and senior vice president at The University of Texas at Tyler, announced.

A UT Tyler alumnus, Gray serves as professor and chair of the UT Tyler Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He also is a 2009 recipient of the UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.

“Dr. Gray is joining a prestigious group of teachers/scholars in the UT System, and I am delighted his outstanding work is being recognized,” White said. “He promotes a standard of excellence among his students, and they perform at the highest levels of excellence in national field tests. Last year’s chemistry graduates scored in the top six percent in the nation.”

The Academy of Distinguished Teachers was created last year to recognize outstanding educators at UT’s nine academic institutions, and all members must be past recipients of the Regents’ award. Members serve as a System-level advocacy group dedicated to enhancing teaching, fostering innovation in the classroom and promoting interdisciplinary perspectives on education.

“The Academy honors the best of the best,” said UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa. “It recognizes educators, not only those who are leaders in their field, but also those who are committed to improving teaching System-wide.”

Gray was among five System-wide educators nominated and recognized this year during a reception on April 22 in Austin.

“I am honored to be selected to join this prestigious academy. It is one of the biggest honors of my career,” Gray said.

Serving UT Tyler since 1996, Gray also is co-director of UT Tyler’s UTeach Program, which prepares high-quality Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teachers. In 2007, Gray received the university’s first Minnie Stevens Piper Award, which annually recognizes 15 in-state collegiate educators for superior teaching.

Among other honors, Gray has received the Chancellor’s Council Outstanding Teaching Award, President’s Scholarly Achievement Award, Texas Alpha Chi Chapter Outstanding Faculty Award and UT Tyler Jack and Dorothy Fay White Fellowship in Teaching Excellence. He also served as the 2005-06 UT Tyler faculty senate president.

Gray has co-authored multiple Welch Foundation Department grant proposals. These grants provide scholarships for UT Tyler undergraduate chemistry majors, allowing them the opportunity to study chemistry through participatory research.

The professor also is a long-standing and active member of the American Chemical Society and involved with UT Tyler’s ACS student affiliate chapter.

He holds a bachelor of science in chemistry from UT Tyler as well as a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Texas A&M University. Gray completed his post-doctoral fellowship at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Using a campus-based selection process, each institution identified its nominees and submitted them for consideration. Nominees must have tenure or equivalent rank for contingent faculty (senior lecturer and above).

For more information about the UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers, visit UT System Academic Affairs.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler features excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 7,500 high-ability students. UT Tyler offers courses at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine as well as a location in Houston.

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