Former Provost Receives The 2019 Spirit Of Democracy Award
Nov. 8, 2019
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti
On Nov. 5, former Sam Houston State University Provost, David Payne, was awarded the 2019 Spirit of Democracy Award by the American Democracy Project (ADP) - a division of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
The award recognizes individuals whom embody ADP’s commitment to prepare the next generation of informed, engaged citizens.
Representing the American Association of State Colleges, George Mehaffy serves as vice president for Academic Leadership and Change. He says Payne set an example for others as provost; embodying the Sam Houston State motto, “The measure of a Life is its Service.”
“He and I over the years have talked in a number of conversations about higher education, the work of the provost and the role of leadership,” Mehaffy said. “David understood the most powerful and energizing dimension of the work – that all of us in higher education have the privilege of undertaking our work is meaningful, indeed sacred, because our work changes lives.”
Payne served as provost at SHSU for 14 years and retired in 2011, leaving behind a legacy of cooperation and development. His dedication made a lasting impact on the university, with his establishment of the Office of Student Success Initiatives, the Office of International Programs, and the Professional and Academic Center for Excellence. These are only a few of Payne’s accomplishments, as he spearheaded many programs and developments during his time at SHSU.
One such development was his role in establishing Sam Houston’s involvement in the American Democracy Project, which is a network of 250 state colleges that equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to be engaged members of their communities.
According to Joyce McCauley, executive director of SHSU’s Center for Community Engagement, another testament to Payne’s work is the university award bearing his name and presented each year to select SHSU faculty members.
“Dr. Payne’s style of leadership grew our democratic campus environment. He was sincerely interested in connecting the strengths of the university community with the strengths of the local community for the mutual benefit of both,” McCauley said. “To that end, President Hoyt recognized his valuable work and established the fourth University Award for Excellence in his honor - the David Payne Award for Academic Community Engagement.”
In front of a crowd in SHSU’s Austin Hall, Mehaffy presented Payne with the Spirit of Democracy Award.
“David’s contributions have been a shining beacon of one of the best examples of our work in preserving, protecting and strengthening our democracy,” Mehaffy said. “He has made a difference in the lives of so many and his contributions will be felt for years to come.”
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