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USM Honors Three from SU with Regents' Faculty Award for Excellence

Drs. Celine Carayon, Ani Mathers and Kristen Walton
From left: Drs. Céline Carayon, Ani Mathers and Kristen Walton

SALISBURY, MD---The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents recently recognized three Salisbury University faculty members with one of its highest honors: the Regents’ Faculty Award for Excellence.

Dr. Céline Carayon, associate professor of history and director of SU’s graduate program in history, earned the award for Scholarship, Research or Creative Activity. Drs. Ani Mathers, associate professor of finance and associate dean of SU’s Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, and Kristen Walton, professor of history and director of SU’s Nationally Competitive Fellowships Office, were honored for Excellence in Mentoring.

Carayon is a colonial American scholar whose research focuses on interactions between European explorers and Indigenous peoples. Her 2019 book, Eloquence Embodied: Nonverbal Communication Among French and Indigenous Peoples in the Americas, won several prestigious national awards, including the Society for French Historical Studies’ Chinard Prize and the Forum on Early-Modern Empires and Global Interactions (FEEGI) Book Prize.

“Her scholarship is very highly regarded, described by a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins University as ‘landmark’ and filling an ‘astonishing gap in the literature,” said SU President Charles Wight. “A scholar at Dartmouth noted that her research is ‘truly pathbreaking’ and ‘is literally redefining the way scholars think about intercultural encounters between Europeans and Indigenous nations across the hemisphere.”

“It is also important to frame her scholarly accomplishments within the wider context of her service as a USM faculty member,” said Dr. Maarten Pereboom, dean of SU’s Charles R. and Martha N. Fulton School of Liberal Arts. “She is an outstanding teacher. In addition to an impressive command of the material she teaches, she brings energy and creativity into the classroom, modeling and inspiring intellectual curiosity in her students.”

Carayon earned her Ph.D. in history from the College of William and Mary.

In addition to her work in the classroom, Mathers has supported the professional development of many students as the faculty advisor for SU’s chapters of the Financial Management Association and Student United Way, and through her leadership as founding director of the Business Honors Program in the University’s Glenda Chatham and Robert G. Clarke Honors College.

“Dr. Mathers’ mentorship … is not limited to supporting the development of students’ professional and leadership skills, but also their career network,” said Wight. “For example, she facilitates an annual New York City trip [for students] with visits to industry giants like J.P. Morgan, PIMCO, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the New York Stock Exchange, and an intensive networking experience with New York-based SU alumni.”

Dr. Christy Weer, dean of the Perdue School, noted Mathers’ commitment to the Business Honors Program: “As director, Ani worked with Perdue School of Business faculty to develop pathways for students to complete the honors curriculum while simultaneously fulfilling their business degree requirements,” she said. “Ani grew the program to over 100 students in three short years. Her focus was on professional development, and she connected students with the Perdue School of Business Advisory Council and Career Advisory Board through events such as a networking night where students could hone their networking skills in a low-pressure environment.”

Mathers earned her Ph.D. in finance from the University of Florida.

Through SU’s Nationally Competitive Fellowships Office (SNCFO), Walton has mentored dozens of SU students who have won more than 60 prestigious national and international scholarships and fellowships, including the Gates Cambridge, Goldwater and Boren awards. SU has been named among the nation’s top producers of Fulbright Students for the past four years.

“Dr. Walton’s approach with her students is exemplified by the SNCFO’s motto — ‘Dream Big,’” said Wight. “It is clear that she instills a sense of possibility in her students that they may not have seen in themselves. Student comments include, ‘She believed in me before I believed in myself’ and ‘saw potential in me I did not see in myself.’”

One student noted: “Had it not been for her, I wouldn’t have the Fulbright scholarship that I have. I wouldn’t be chasing a Ph.D. at the top-tier universities that I am, nor would I believe in myself as much as I do. She has always been there for me and my fellow students.”

“Since joining the faculty at SU in 2001, Dr. Walton has tirelessly championed student success, combining scholarly depth with energy and enthusiasm as an outstanding scholar-teacher,” said Pereboom. “Mentoring sits at the nexus of scholarship and teaching, and Dr. Walton has an impressive record with respect to both undergraduate research and nationally competitive fellowships.”

Walton earned her Ph.D. in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

This year’s winners will be honored during the USM Board of Regents’ virtual meeting in April.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU website.