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Education Professor And Former Associate Dean Annette Gibbs Receives Thomas Jefferson Award, U.Va.’s Highest Honor

October 21, 2005 -- The University of Virginia presented its highest honor, the Thomas Jefferson Award, to Annette Gibbs, professor of education and former associate dean of students, during Fall Convocation on Oct. 21.

Gibbs joined the faculty in 1970 when President Edgar F. Shannon appointed her to help the University open its doors to women as undergraduates in all its schools and departments. She was instrumental in making new accommodations for them and creating an environment where women students would soon thrive.

When she stepped down 15 years later, Gibbs became director of the Curry School of Education’s Center for the Study of Higher Education and has continued a distinguished research career in higher education administration.

The Thomas Jefferson Award presentation was part of convocation ceremonies in University Hall that included recognizing third-year U.Va. students who had earned intermediate honors and a keynote address by Mark W. Edmundson, the Daniels Family-NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor of English.

The Thomas Jefferson Award, given annually since 1955, is the highest honor given to a member of the University community who has exemplified in character, work and influence the principles and ideals of Jefferson, and thus advanced the objectives for which he founded the University.

Those who know her — from former U.Va. students to former U.Va. presidents — attest to her trustworthy counsel and unwavering dedication to the University and to higher education.

In 1970, Gibbs focused on getting the 450 new female undergraduates integrated into academic life with almost 10,000 males, and she also oversaw orientation and University Union programs for all students. There were no women to serve as resident advisers, not to mention role models, and no organizations for women on Grounds. It is generally accepted that Gibbs’ capable leadership made it possible for women not only to be included and excel in the classroom, but also for the University to progress and take the huge steps forward that have made the institution an academic contender.

During her outstanding 35-year career, from which she will retire next year, Gibbs has combined teaching, research and service, as well as administration. Her research has covered legal and social issues on college campuses. She has published more than 50 journal articles, book chapters and papers, including the book, “Reconciling Rights and Responsibilities of Colleges and Students.”

Gibbs’ commitment to students has been called legendary. In 1989, alumni who had worked with her established a research award for graduate students in Gibbs’ name. She has supervised more than 40 doctoral students and mentored hundreds more students, many of whom have gone on to assume important leadership positions at colleges and universities. Curry graduates include12 college or university presidents and 35 deans and college vice presidents.  

Honored with many awards, Gibbs received the Raven Society Award in 2004 and the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in 2000, both of which recognize excellence of character and service to humanity and to U.Va.

Her leadership in the classroom and the office also has garnered her the Curry School of Education Memorial Award to Faculty, the Curry School of Education Outstanding Professor Award, the Woman of Achievement Award and the Arthur F. Stocker Faculty Award. The American College of Personnel Association in 1996 named her to its top advisory group of Senior Scholars. The Commonwealth of Virginia Women Educators gave her the “Breaking the Glass Ceiling” Award in 1998.    

Gibbs earned a B.S. in business and sociology from the University of North Alabama in 1960, a master’s in human relations and psychology from the Ohio University in Athens in 1962 and a Ph.D. in higher education administration and management from Florida State University in 1970.

Contact: Anne Bromley, (434) 924-6861

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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