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Honors Bestowed on Author Charlaine Harris and Professor Stephen Ceccoli

Publication Date: 8/26/2010

Best-selling author Charlaine Harris received an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Rhodes College and Professor Stephen Ceccoli was presented the 2010 Jameson M. Jones Award for Outstanding Faculty Service at the college’s Opening Convocation August 25. The ceremony marked the opening of the college’s 162nd year.

When Charlaine Harris graduated from Rhodes in 1973, she dreamed of having a career in writing, and write she did. She has more than 40 best-selling books to her credit, and currently, the “True Blood” television series based on her work. 

Seven out of eight of her Southern Vampire series of books were simultaneously listed on the October 3, 2008, New York Times Best Seller list.  One even made its debut in the Number One spot. 

Harris has not forgotten her alma mater and when she visits campus, she shares her career experiences. It is for “her kindness of spirit, her unbounded creativity, and the honor she brings to her alma mater” that she was presented the doctor of humanities degree.

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The Jameson M. Jones Award for Outstanding Faculty Service honors a current faculty member who has rendered exemplary service and provided leadership to the Rhodes community. It 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.

Ceccoli has been chair of the Department of International Studies at Rhodes since 2006.  He also has served as a faculty representative to the Rhodes Board of Trustees and has been a member of a large number of standing committees of the faculty.

The award nomination letters for Ceccoli speak eloquently of his long and distinguished service record. As one of his colleagues wrote, “Steve is exemplary in working hard for Rhodes College, its students and its various programs. His willingness to spend time and his devotion are extraordinary.” 

Ceccoli’s areas of involvement span a wide range of activities, from his leadership in the Department of International Studies to his work with Open Rhodes, Model U.N., and Career Services, to his oversight of the Mertie W. Buckman International Internship Program, to his development of a successful summer study-abroad program in China, to his work on various selection committees for prestigious post-graduate fellowships, to his indefatigable work as an academic advisor.

Said Dr. Michael Drompp, dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs, who presented Ceccoli the award, “As if he did not have enough on his plate, it is common knowledge that when task forces or ad hoc committees seek an even-headed, thoughtful, and committed member to join their ranks, they often look in Professor Ceccoli’s direction. He rarely disappoints them. Professor Ceccoli embodies the kind of intellectual leadership and faculty commitment to service that were so important to Dr. Jameson Jones.”

Ceccoli holds a B.A. from Heidelberg College and M.A. and Ph.D. from Washington University. 

Tags: Alumni, Events, Faculty, Honors, President, Service, Students

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