Example Image

Heather Huckins

Distinguished PAT (Professional, Administrative, and Technical Staff) Award

Example Image

Patricia Cantor

Award for Excellence in Faculty Service

Example Image

Bonnie Bechard

Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award

Example Image

Mary Campbell

Patricia Storer PAT (Professional, Administrative, and Technical Staff) Award

Example Image

Jennifer Frank

Distinguished Operating Staff Award

Example Image

Janis Bass

Distinguished Adjunct Teaching Award

Example Image

Warren Tomkiewicz

Distinguished Teaching Award

Example Image

Naomi Kline

Award for Distinguished Scholarship

Example Image

Terri Johnson

Sara Jayne Steen Operating Staff Service Award

Naomi Kline

Jon Gilbert Fox photo.

Award for Distinguished Scholarship

Professor of Art History

While living in rural France as a U.S. Army wife and mother of two young children, Naomi Kline developed an appreciation for all things medieval. Living on the grounds of a château that was surrounded by beautiful old stone buildings, Kline says, “was like living in medieval times.”

It was her fascination with the nearby Romanesque abbey church of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire that inspired Kline to enroll in graduate school at Boston University to pursue her master’s and her doctorate in art history upon her return to the states.

While in graduate school, Kline served as curator of Hammond Castle Museum, a medieval-style castle built in Gloucester, MA in the late 1920s by the prolific inventor John Hays Hammond Jr. “My responsibilities were to poke around the castle, research its artifacts, give lectures, and develop exhibitions,” Kline recalls, noting that her work culminated in the well-received exhibition, “Castles: An Enduring Fantasy,” and the completion of her PhD.

Kline was now ready for a new opportunity. When her friend and former BU classmate Dick Hunnewell, an art history professor at Plymouth State, told her Plymouth State needed a gallery director and art historian, Kline applied. For the next seven years, she balanced gallery directing duties with teaching, then made the move to teaching full time.

Kline’s love of teaching is rivaled only by her passion for scholarly research—a passion she discovered while working on her doctoral dissertation on medieval stained glass, which “required me gain access to monuments, climb up on scaffolds, and spend hours with arcane documents in arcane libraries,” she says.

After years of researching and writing about medieval stained glass, Kline began to research the Hereford Mappamundi, a medieval world map that until then had received little attention from art historians. The only large-scale medieval world map of its kind in existence, the Hereford Mappamundi provides a paradigm for understanding the medieval worldview and the intellectual and conceptual framework of the Middle Ages.

Kline’s research yielded numerous journal articles, a book, and a collaboration with two of her students on an instructional CD-ROM. “We received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create the CD-ROM,” she says. It was a tremendously complex project that was years in the making, but the result is something that, nearly a decade later, Kline still takes great pride in.

In recent years, Kline’s research has focused on misericords, wooden sculptures on choir stalls that typically feature carved images derived from religion, fables, proverbs, popular culture—“anything you can imagine,” she says. Kline is particularly interested in the secular images and their social context, an area she says is rich in research possibilities.

While her teaching and research focus on the past and have taken her to museums, libraries, and monuments all over the world, Kline finds there’s much to celebrate in the here and now. Recently, she and Hunnewell launched the art history degree at PSU.

And now, with her latest award, Kline—who has published scores of journal articles and books on her scholarly interests, and has gained respect as an expert in each—is recognized as a distinguished scholar. “I’m very happy to have this award,” she says. “I feel strongly that professors should contribute to their fields, and I’m grateful that my work has been recognized.”

Barbra Alan

David Starbuck

"I like connecting with students. They are engaged, inquisitive, and want to be part of the research process.”

"I like connecting with students. They are engaged, inquisitive, and want to be part of the research process.”

Award for Distinguished Scholarship

Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology

David Starbuck has learned that when you are an archaeologist and a professor, sooner or later people will compare you to Indiana Jones. And while he doesn’t often find himself trotting the globe in search of treasure while being pursued by nefarious rivals, his work has its share of thrills.

For more than three decades, Starbuck has been leading excavations throughout the northeastern United States, training hundreds of students in the techniques of archaeology. These excavations have shed light on the lives of the Canterbury Shakers as well as on late 18th century soldiers and officers of the battlefields of north­ern New York.

Working under a hot sun and moving heavy shovelfuls of dirt can be grueling, but Starbuck loves what he does.“I enjoy being outdoors, the thrill of discovery, and the opportunity to share it with people,” Starbuck explains. And share he does: Starbuck’s work has been featured on The History Channel, The Learning Channel, National Public Radio, and in National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, and Discover. He has also authored more than a dozen monographs and more than a hundred journal articles and papers.

Perhaps his greatest satisfaction comes from sharing his passion for archaeology with his students.“I wouldn’t want to do research all the time. I like connecting with students,” says Starbuck, who has taught at Plymouth State since 1993. “They are engaged, inquisitive, and want to be part of the research process.”

In addition to the excavations in New York and New Hampshire, Starbuck and his students have conducted archaeological and historical research on Loch Lomond, Scotland, where his mother’s ancestors lived. “That’s another kind of thrill, digging up your own ancestors’ artifacts,” Starbuck notes. “To be on my ancestors’ land with my students, and to try and understand what their lives were like, is very gratifying.”

Most recently, Starbuck has been digging closer to home: his family’s farm in the Adiron­dacks, which has been in the Starbuck family since the 1790s. “For years, I’ve wondered if there would ever be something worth digging up at the farm,” he says. A recent renovation project revealed a large dump containing numerous pairs of shoes, scraps of leather, glass bottles, and other artifacts, many of which are currently in the archaeology lab in Rounds Hall. With more renovations planned, Starbuck is excited to see what else he’ll dig up. It may not be the stuff of a blockbuster movie franchise, but that’s okay with him. “A lot of research can seem so distant from our own lives,” says Starbuck.

“But this is relevant to my own life, and that’s a cool thing.”