Dr. David Kesler Receives Jameson M. Jones Award for Outstanding Faculty Service


Publication Date: 8/28/2009

(left) Dr. David Kesler and presenter Dr. Michael Drompp

Dr. David Kesler, professor of biology at Rhodes College, is the 2009 recipient of the Jameson M. Jones Award for Outstanding Faculty Service. The award, which honors a current faculty member who has rendered exemplary service and provided leadership to the Rhodes community, was presented during Opening Convocation August 26 which marked the opening of the college’s 161st academic year.

The award is presented in memory of Dr. Jameson M. Jones ’36 who served as professor of moral philosophy and dean of the college from 1955 to 1971.

Nomination letters for Kesler refer to him as a creative teacher and productive scholar as well as speak of his service as “a faculty trustee, as a member of just about every faculty committee that has existed in his thirty years at the college, and most recently, as a guiding force in helping to establish interdisciplinary programs in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies at Rhodes.” 

That service extends far beyond the gates of Rhodes, and one of his colleagues likened him to a “tree with roots connected to many, many parts of Rhodes and the community beyond.”
Others wrote, “From his service as the college’s liaison in its partnership with the Memphis Zoo, to his Presidency of the Tennessee Academy of Science, to his work on the board of directors of Park Friends, Inc. and his kudzu eradication efforts, to his tireless advocacy of ecological stewardship through his famous – and educational – canoe trips on the Wolf River, Professor Kesler’s community engagement has benefited many Rhodes students and faculty as well as the broader community.”

In addition to sharing his love of science with students, Kesler has taught many of them PaSaRyu style karate. A fifth-degree black belt under the instruction of Sarah Hatgas, Kesler has shared his “powerful yet always controlled style” with anyone willing to learn.

Kesler holds a B.S. degree from Denison University, an M.S. degree from the University of Rhode Island, and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

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