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Drs. Trentham and Clark receive prestigious Carson-Newman honors

Dr. Paul Percy (left), interim provost, congratulates Drs. Bob Trentham and Maria Clark following the University’s Honors Convocation. Trentham was named the 2015 Distinguished Faculty Award recipient while Clark received the Community Service Award.

(April 9, 2015) – Carson-Newman University celebrated two members of its faculty during its Honors Convocation on Thursday, April 9. Dr. Robert “Bob” Trentham was named recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award, the University’s highest honor given to a faculty member. Dr. Maria Clark was awarded Carson-Newman’s Community Service Award.

Trentham, a professor of biology, has taught numerous undergraduate courses that include general biology, ecology and botany courses. His reputation as a devoted educator has long followed him.

“He is an animated lecturer credited with “making biology fun” for non-majors as well as future biologists and teachers,” said Interim Provost Dr. Paul Percy, to those gathered at the event, “He has been praised as being “tough but good.”

Trentham joined Carson-Newman’s faculty in 1989 after one year as an adjunct professor. Throughout his tenure, he has been championed for his classroom education and laboratory instruction. He advises students and on several occasions has been honored by Alpha Chi Honor Society inductees as their “most influential professor.”

His gift for teaching is bolstered by his professional wildlife management and resource experience with the U.S. Forestry Department, The Tennessee Valley Authority and several state and federal agencies. His work has included hydro-acoustic fishery sampling on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville, aerial waterfowl and Bald Eagle assessment on Cherokee Douglas and Norris Lakes, as well as tagging trout prior to stocking East Tennessee streams.

His vast expertise is vital to Carson-Newman. He is the lead botanist and the expert behind the campus certification as a Certified Level II Arboretum. As the University’s Faculty Athletics Representative, he is the administrative liaison between the institution and the Athletics Department, and also as Carson-Newman’s representative for NCAA matters.

A graduate of Jefferson County High School, Trentham graduated from Carson-Newman in 1984. He earned his master’s degree from Tennessee Tech University and his doctorate from the University of Tennessee. A member of Jefferson City’s First Baptist Church, he and his wife Kim are the parents of son Heath and daughter Shannon.

Dr. Maria Clark, who serves as an associate professor of foreign languages, has been called a Carson-Newman pioneer in the field of service learning, evident in the fact she took part in a workshop on the subject some 20 years ago.

A volunteer translator, she’s particularly active in issues dealing with migrant laborers, and on behalf of Spanish speaking children in area schools. Clark was important in the establishment of migrant Head Start summer programs in East Tennessee.

She granted Carson-Newman a reputation of developing long-standing Hispanic community partnerships with local agencies. Her efforts proved vital to the University’s Bonner Center in its transition to a service learning and community outreach paradigm. She is credited with connecting students with international service opportunities, promoting Spanish Immersion Day and consistently building bridges between cultures.

Known for participating in Hispanic organizations and cultural events, Clark serves as a board member for HoLa, a grassroots nonprofit in Knoxville, helping the organization develop its annual Latino festival. She also works with the Jefferson City public library on a bilingual reading project.

Clark earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Tennessee. She also received an education in German and English translation in her native Germany. She is married to Ashley Capps.

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