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Honors Bestowed on Memphis Zoo CEO and Rhodes Professor David Jilg

Publication Date: 8/22/2011

Dr. Chuck Brady, president and chief executive officer of the Memphis Zoo, received Rhodes College’s Distinguished Service Medal and David Jilg, associate professor of theatre and a 1979 Rhodes alumnus, was presented the 2011 Jameson M. Jones Award for Outstanding Faculty Service at the college’s Opening Convocation Aug. 19. The ceremony marked the opening of the college’s 163rd year.


Rhodes and the Memphis Zoo have been good neighbors for well over three-quarters of a century, and Dr. Brady has been there just over a quarter of a century, all the while enriching the lives of Rhodes students and faculty, the city, and the world in countless ways.

Under his leadership, the Memphis Zoo houses spectacular animal habitats including the China Exhibit and its two giant pandas, the Northwest Passage and the Teton Trek. When the pandas arrived in 2003, it was Brady and Rhodes Biology Professor Dr. Alan Jaslow, among many others, who helped bring them here.

Thanks to Dr. Brady, other Rhodes faculty and many students have come to consider the Zoo “an open classroom for teaching.” Each year, approximately 25 Rhodes students, as part of their classes, fellowships and internships, conduct research on topics such as reproductive physiology, wolf behavior and spatial patterns, and the diet ecology and behavior of the red panda. As a result of their work, Rhodes students have had the opportunity to present their research at conferences including the Society for Integrative Biology and the Tennessee Academy of Sciences.

For this dedication to excellence in education, Brady was presented the college’s Distinguished Service Medal.

(in the above photo, Dr. Brady and President Troutt)


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.

Professor David Jilg’s long and distinguished record of service includes serving on several faculty committees and assisting with campus initiatives, regularly representing Rhodes at admissions events, devoting long hours to the college’s many theatrical productions, and chairing not one, but two, academic departments.

As several of his colleagues noted, chairing the Department of Theatre and the Department of Music at the same time presented extraordinary logistical hurdles, not only because of the number of faculty and students involved, but also because of a complex calendar of rehearsals, performances, and work with visiting artists—all while leading a national search for a new choral director and department chair. Jilg handled these challenges with efficiency, thoughtfulness, and good humor, according to those who nominated him for the award.

An accomplished teacher and talented specialist in the area of theatre and costume design, Jilg works closely with students in a number of ways, not only through his courses and his work for productions at the McCoy Theatre, but also as a conscientious academic advisor. In addition, he has mentored students in the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies, helped coach the Rhodes Mock Trial Team, and served on the advisory board for the college’s Center for Outreach in the Development of the Arts.

Jilg now joins a group of faculty who demonstrate through their outstanding records of service that they embody the kind of intellectual and artistic leadership and commitment to service that were so important to Dr. Jameson Jones.

(in the photo, Professor Jilg and President Troutt)

Tags: Campus Life, Faculty, Honors, President, Service


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