History and Highlights

The Celebration of Scholarship was a vision of retired physics professor, Gary Gemmer. In the spring of 2004, Professor Gemmer gathered a group of faculty together to propose an undergraduate conference for 2005. Under his leadership as Conference Director, a Coordinating Committee composed of Eugene Burns, Roberta Milliken, and Tracey Leo organized a day-long event held on May 26, 2005. The day was called "A Celebration of Scholarship," a name that has stayed with the event for the last six years. The day included reports on the scholarly, creative, and research activities of undergraduates presented both orally and as poster sessions. Two invited distinguished scholars spoke at the event: William Galston, from the University of Maryland, "Value Pluralism and Contemporary Politics" and Barbara Metz, a senior scientist at Battelle Memorial Institute, "From College to Career: Helpful Hints for Making a Successful Transition."

In spite of his retirement, Professor Gemmer returned as Conference Director in 2006. The pattern of undergraduate oral and poster presentations and invited scholarly lectures continued. In addition a boost to the Conference was provided when the proceeds from the President's Gala established and Undergraduate Research Fund. A requirement of receiving a grant from the Research Fund is to present the research findings at the Celebration of Scholarship. With the start of Shawnee's first Master's degree program in Occupational Therapy in 2006, the Celebration of Scholarship included presentations from graduate students in 2007. Professor Shannon Lawson from the Department of English/Humanities became the Conference Director in 2007 and led the planning for the event through 2009. In 2010, Professor Pat Spradlin, also from the English/Humanities Department, assumed the Director duties. Faculty leadership and involvement in each year's planning committee has been crucial to the success of the Celebration of Scholarship.

The Celebration of Scholarship has fostered an academic culture of discovery and inquiry on campus. The presenters have the rewarding and valuable experience of presenting their scholarship or creative endeavors to student peers and faculty. The keynote addresses of invited scholars give the entire campus the opportunity to hear from nationally recognized experts on the latest work in their field.

In 2008, the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) began partially funding the Celebration of Scholarship. The Shawnee Development Foundation has also provided support for the undergraduate research event. The Deans of the Colleges of Arts & Sciences and Professional Studies began providing "The Deans' Awards for Undergraduate Research" for the top projects presented at the Conference. Support is also provided by the Office of the Provost each year.


Keynote Presenter

Institutional Affiliation

Title of Presentation


William Galston

University of Maryland

Value Pluralism and Contemporary Politics


Barbara Metz

Battelle Memorial Inst.

From College to Career: Helpful Hints for Making a Successful Transition


Alan Wolfe

Boston College

Reflections on a Faith-Based Presidency


Hazel Barton

Northern Kentucky University

From Cave Dwellers to Astrobiology: How Life Underground Can Paint to Life in the Stars


Jennifer Pauley-Gose

Ohio University (now at Shawnee State)

How do I get there from here? Graduate Writing Groups, Authority, and the Process of Creating Scholarship


Kendra McSweeney

The Ohio State University

Last Stands in the Rainforest: Conservationists, Native Peoples, and the Fate of Biodiversity in Latin America


Jacqueline Jones Royster

The Ohio State University

Research:  Projects of the Heart, Mind, and Spirit


Shawn Sweeney

Jane Goodall Institute

The Emerging Field of Conservation Psychology: Studying Human Behavior to Inform Conservation Policy and Practice-a student's perspective


Zakes Mda

Ohio University

Write What You Don't Know


Lynn Harter

Ohio University

Aesthetic Sensibilities: Storytelling Resources for Renewing and Reconstructing Community Life


Helaine Daniels

Harvard University

"Home" Is What I Carry with Me Around the World


Patrick Drumm

Ohio University

The Wild Child of Albion, Indiana

Figure 1. Invited scholars at Shawnee State's Celebration of Scholarship.

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