College News
College News

Coyne receives UK Graduate School's Sturgill Award

Coyne receives UK Graduate School's Sturgill Award

Coyne receives UK Graduate School's Sturgill Award

Coyne received the award for his outstanding contributions to graduate education. The college's Arthur Hunt and Jason Unrine also received Graduate School award nominations.


Two University of Kentucky faculty members are recipients of The Graduate School’s distinguished annual awards for exemplary research in the last four years and outstanding contributions to graduate student mentoring and graduate education.

Sherali Zeadally, associate professor of information communication technology (ICT) in the School of Information Science in the College of Communication and Information, was presented the 2020 Albert D. and Elizabeth H. Kirwan Memorial Prize. The prize is bestowed each year to a faculty member in recognition of their outstanding contributions to original research or scholarship, with an emphasis on work produced four years prior to the award.

Mark Coyne, a professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, was presented the William B. Sturgill Award, an honor given each year to a graduate faculty member who has provided outstanding contributions to graduate education at UK.

Sherali Zeadally

Zeadally’s expertise is in the areas of cybersecurity, privacy, Internet of Things and computer networks. His research accomplishments have been recognized worldwide, and he has received several research awards nationally and internationally. He has also earned several highly prestigious fellowships and visiting professorship awards from various universities around the world.

In 2016, he became the first University Research Professor in the College of Communication and Information. In the past four years, he has published 160 peer-reviewed publications which include 145 peer-reviewed journal/magazine papers and nine book chapters. He has also co-authored one book and edited another in the past four years.

Zeadally is appreciative of his faculty colleagues and research students for their research collaborations.

“I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my nominators Professor Bobi Ivanov and Professor D. Manivannan who have always supported and encouraged me in my research over the years,” Zeadally said. “Finally, I would also like to thank my colleagues Zixue Tai, Nancy Harrington, Derek Lane, Anthony Limperos, and Namjoo Choi in the College of Communication and Information for their continuous support.”

The Kirwan Memorial Prize was established in 1995 and recognizes its namesakes' collaborative research efforts, as well as Albert Kirwan's endeavors in creating an environment at UK that promotes high quality research and scholarship.

Serving as head football coach from 1938 to 1944 and later dean of men, "Ab" Kirwan was a distinguished faculty member and scholar in the field of Southern history, dean of The Graduate School and served as university president from 1968 to 1970.

Elizabeth Kirwan was awarded the Sullivan Medallion in 1973 for her service to UK and the Lexington community. She held executive roles across more than 10 organizations, including president of the UK Woman’s Club and chairwoman of the Lexington Parks and Recreation Board.

Mark Coyne

During his time at UK, Coyne has integrated three separate graduate programs — Crop Science, Soil Science and Plant Physiology — into one single program, Integrated Plant and Soil Sciences (IPSS). His research focuses on nitrogen cycling, soil ecology, soil structure and management, and waste management.

Coyne serves on the Applied Soil Ecology editorial board and formerly served as editor of the Journal of Environmental Quality.

“I have been blessed throughout my career with understanding colleagues, great students, and the opportunity to help make UK a better place than when I arrived,” Coyne said.

In addition to teaching, Coyne has mentored more than 30 master’s and doctoral students across almost 30 years at the university and has served on more than 50 graduate student committees. 

“Mark has done such good work, from the time he served as DGS for the Soil Science program, through the development and implementation of the IPSS program, putting graduate students and their education first,” shared nominator David Van Sanford.

Established in 1975, the Sturgill Award is named in honor of alumnus William B. Sturgill, who contributed to higher education through organizing and serving as president of the Hazard Independent College Foundation, in addition to working with legislators to develop the community college system across the Commonwealth.

Sturgill, who died in 2014, was born in Lackey, Kentucky, and graduated from UK in 1946. He was involved in a variety of businesses, including executive and owner of several coal operations, East Kentucky Investment Company, Fourth Street and Gentry Tobacco Warehouses and the Hartland Development Project. Sturgill served as both secretary of energy and secretary of agriculture under Gov. John Y. Brown Jr.  He served 18 years on UK's Board of Trustees, including serving as chair for 10 years. The Sturgill Development Building is named in his honor.

Additional distinguished nominees for the 2020 Albert D. and Elizabeth H. Kirwan Memorial Prize:

  • Tae Hyun Baek, associate professor in the Department of Integrated Strategic Communication, College of Communication and Information;
  • Haley C. Bergstrom, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, College of Education;
  • Brian A. Bottge, the William T. Bryan Endowed Chair in Special Education Technology in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Counselor Education, College of Education;
  • Sumit R. Das, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Andrew N. Pilny, assistant professor in the Department of Communication, College of Communication and Information;
  • W. Brent Seales, professor and chair in the Department of Computer Science Department, College of Engineering; and
  • Jason Unrine, associate professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Additional distinguished nominees for the 2020 William B. Sturgill Award:

  • Arthur G. Hunt, professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment; and
  • Ann E. Kingsolver, professor in the Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences.

More details about the awards and a list of all previous winners are available here.

Awards Crops Research

Contact Information

Scovell Hall Lexington, KY 40546-0064