Professor awarded endowed chair for biomedical sciences

Kevin Stewart-1Aug. 30, 2016 | Sciences |

The University’s College of Sciences selected Associate Professor Kevin Stewart as the Coons-Farrar Endowed Chair for the Biomedical Sciences — a position with five-year tenure and a $2,000 annual scholarly budget.

The endowment was established in 1981 by Dr. Callie Mae Coons in memory of her mother Catherine Farrar Williams. Coons and her husband taught at Harding in the early 1930s. She was chairperson of the home economics department and began doing nutritional research for the U.S. Department of Agriculture where she later went on to work. When she retired in 1971, Coons was the highest ranking woman in the Department of Agriculture.

“It was a complete surprise,” Stewart said of his appointment. “I am honored to be selected. Dr. Coons was a pioneer for women in research in the sciences and to hold the chair that she established is humbling.”

The funds accompanying the position of endowed chair have previously been used to support research activities involving students and faculty, to purchase scientific equipment, and to attend conferences.

“I hope to use this opportunity to continue to grow as a professor and become a better instructor for my students,” Stewart said. “As an organic chemistry professor at Harding, most of my students plan to enter the biomedical field. The additional funding will help me to do more for those students than otherwise would have been possible.”

Stewart began his tenure this month and will step down as chair in July 2021.

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