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Jeffrey Becker, department head of microbiology and a Chancellor’s Professor, is the first recipient of the newly established David and Sandra White Faculty Award in Microbiology. The award is designated for the head of the Department of Microbiology, and Becker will hold the award for the duration of his administrative appointment.

“Jeff Becker is a worthy recipient of this inaugural award,” said Theresa Lee, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “His distinguished record as a teacher-scholar, his commendable research program which has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for forty-one years, as well as his successful leadership of the microbiology department since 2003 establish Jeff as a standardbearer for this award.”

The David and Sandra White Faculty Award in Microbiology was established through a generous philanthropic commitment by Sandra S. White of River Forest, Illinois, who currently serves on the Department of Microbiology Advisory Board. She made the commitment in honor of her late husband, David C. White, who held a joint UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory appointment as Distinguished Scientist and professor of microbiology and of ecology and environmental toxicology. He was founder and director of the UT-ORNL Institute of Applied Microbiology from 1986 to 1991 and executive director of UT’s Center for Environmental Biotechnology from 1991 to 1999.

White was an accomplished scientist who was highly regarded among his peers. In 2006 an issue of Environmental Microbiology  was dedicated to his memory.

“We are very grateful to Sandra White for this strong gesture of support for the Department of Microbiology,” said Lee. “It represents an enduring investment in the future of the department. This award which is attached to a faculty and departmental leadership position will ensure that we have the resources to recruit and retain not only an outstanding microbiologist but also a strong academic leader to head up our Department of Microbiology for years to come.”