Molly Miller receives Chancellor's Cup
Molly Miller, a professor of earth and environmental sciences at Vanderbilt for 30 years, was surprised in her classroom Wednesday morning by Interim Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos and given the Chancellor’s Cup.
“I am absolutely floored,” said the astonished Miller to her room full of beaming students, who were in on the surprise.
The Chancellor's Cup is given annually for the greatest recent contribution outside the classroom to undergraduate student-faculty relationships. The faculty member's contribution must be of educational importance and relevant to the central purpose of the university. The awards are $2,500 contributed by the Nashville Alumni Club, an engraved pewter cup as a permanent trophy and one year's custody of a silver bowl by Tiffany bearing the names of all recipients since 1963.
“Molly is a very, very special scholar and person,” said Zeppos at a gathering of colleagues, friends and students. “She is the best of what Vanderbilt University is all about. At the core, Vanderbilt is a College of Arts and Science with faculty who are world-class scholars committed to undergraduate education.”
Miller’s work focuses on studying the origin of mammals in Antarctica. One of her most intriguing and surprising finds has been the discovery of very large burrows in the 245 million-year-old sandstone deposited in an ancient floodplain beside a river. She has determined that the largest of the burrows, some of which are over 2.5 meters long, were almost certainly produced by mammal-like reptiles.
Now one of the oldest women doing fieldwork in Antarctica, she was there as recently as last year, and frequently keeps a blog for her students to report about her work on the frozen continent.
Miller is a previous winner of a chair in teaching excellence as well as an award for advising students. “She brings her research right into the classroom,” said Zeppos. “And she has been able to partner with undergraduates and involve them in her work.”
Contact: Missy Pankake, (615) 322-NEWS