The University of Dubuque Inducts Three into its Faculty Hall of Fame

Apr 23, 2021 | University Relations staff

DUBUQUE, Iowa – The University of Dubuque inducted three individuals into its Faculty Hall of Fame for Excellence in Teaching and Advising on Thursday, April 22, 2021, during a livestream event.

Franklin Yartey, head of the Department of Communication and associate professor of communication, received the John Knox Coit Prize. Kelly Grussendorf, associate professor of biology, was awarded the William L. Lomax Award. Phyllis Garfield (MAC’11), director of International Student Services and Study Abroad and adjunct faculty member, received the Alumni Distinguished Teaching and Service Award.

“It’s an honor to induct Franklin Yartey, Kelly Grussendorf, and Phyllis Garfield into the University of Dubuque’s Faculty Hall of Fame for Excellence in Teaching and Advising,” said University President Jeffrey F. Bullock. “I am grateful for their commitment to students. Franklin and Kelly are inspirational teachers and mentors. Phyllis has helped guide countless international students through their time at the University. I am also grateful to have trustees like Richard Svrluga who annually recognize exceptional teaching and advising.”

Yartey joined UD in fall 2012. He received an undergraduate degree from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, a master’s degree in communication with a focus on health communication from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana, and a doctor of philosophy in communication from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. Yartey’s research focuses on digital media and globalization/social media with a secondary focus on intercultural communication. His other research interests include online microfinance and its impact on women in Sub-Saharan Africa, health communication, and media ethics. Yartey received the Iowa Communication Association Outstanding New Teacher Award for 2014.

Grussendorf joined UD in fall 2015. She received an undergraduate degree in biology from Minnesota State University Moorhead in Moorhead, Minnesota, and a doctor of philosophy in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. During her doctor of philosophy, Grussendorf continued her studies of genetics and biology and found the other half of her true passion – teaching. In addition to teaching, she is also active in research projects at UD. With students, Grussendorf works to address the presence and prevalence of the Lyme disease causative agent along with other tick-borne pathogens in the area, the toxicology of microplastics, and the genetics of Parkinson’s disease. 

Garfield joined UD in 2000. She received her bachelor of arts in history and philosophy at Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Nebraska, and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for study at Philipps University in Marburg, Germany. She received a master of arts in communication at UD and completed one of the early NAFSA Academy cohorts in international education in 2005-2006. In 2015, she delivered the commencement address at UD’s first December Commencement. During her time at UD, Garfield has helped hundreds of students travel abroad with UD faculty-led programs and hundreds more who have come to UD to earn degrees as international students. Garfield has presented at regional and national NAFSA conferences on short-term study abroad as well as international student advising. 

Also formally honored during the livestream were Ken Turner Jr., associate professor of education, who received the 2020 John Knox Coit Prize, and the Rev. Beth McCaw, associate professor of ministry, who received the 2020 William L. Lomax Award. Although their awards were announced last year, the formal Faculty Hall of Fame for Excellence in Teaching and Advising event was postponed.

Thanks to the generosity of UD Board of Trustees member Richard “Dick” (C’71) and the late Donna Svrluga, the Faculty Hall of Fame for Excellence in Teaching and Advising was established in 1996 to recognize faculty for their outstanding teaching and advising as well as their commitment to the Mission of the University of Dubuque. Two of the awards are named in honor of former distinguished faculty.

John Knox Coit Prize
An integral member of the philosophy department from 1955-96, Coit was more than a teacher. He became a mentor and friend to his students. Known as a “man of wit,” he made a lasting impression on his students. Coit died in 1995 at the age of 79.

William L. Lomax Award
Fondly remembered by his students who studied business, Lomax was smart, tough, fair, and fun. As a member of the business department from 1953-69, he influenced the lives of many students. Lomax died in 1986 at the age of 83.