Iman Awards recognize K-State faculty for outstanding teaching and research 

K-State Alumni Communications 

John Blair (far right) is the 2015 Iman Award recipient for research. Also pictured are (from left) Brian Spooner, director of K-State’s Division of Biology and Blair’s nominator, and Ron ’62, ’70, ’73 and Rae Iman. (Photo: Tom Theis '13)

Kansas State University faculty members make an impact in the classroom and in the lab, participating in groundbreaking research and equipping students to make a difference in the world after they graduate. The Dr. Ron and Rae Iman Outstanding Faculty Awards, sponsored by the K-State Alumni Association, celebrate these faculty members and their exceptional teaching and research efforts. 

At a Nov. 4 ceremony at the K-State Alumni Center, the Imans presented the 2015 awards to John Blair, professor of biology, and Donald Saucier, associate professor of psychological sciences. Both professors have received numerous awards and recognition in their fields and at K-State.

“It’s great to see you all continue to do so well in your careers,” K-State President Kirk Schulz said. “We’re proud of you here at K-State. Congrats to both of you.”

Blair — university distinguished professor, Edwin G. and Lillian J. Brychta professor of biology, and associate director for faculty development, College of Arts and Sciences, Division of Biology — received the Iman Award for research. His research focuses on factors affecting nutrient cycling and plant productivity in grasslands and the ecological consequences of global change.  

“John has made significant contributions for many years,” said Brian Spooner, who serves as the director of the Division of Biology and nominated Blair for the award. “His achievements are both personal and team-related and along with that goes a high degree of leadership.”

Blair thanked the Imans and the Alumni Association for the award and said these awards mean a lot to the faculty “working in the trenches” in education.

“I’m overwhelmed and honored,” he said. “We really appreciate this kind of recognition. It really means a lot to the faculty.”

Donald Saucier (far right) is the 2015 Iman Award recipient for teaching. Also pictured are (from left) Michael Young, head of K-State’s Department of Psychological Sciences and Saucier’s nominator, and Ron and Rae Iman. (Photo: Tom Theis '13)
Saucier — associate professor and university distinguished teaching scholar, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychological Sciences — received the Iman Award for teaching. He has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and his teaching philosophy focuses on maximizing levels of student and teacher engagement in the classroom.

“He is someone who hones his craft,” said Michael Young, who serves as head of the Department of Psychological Sciences and nominated Saucier for the award. “He’s creative, he’s experimental. Through that, he is able to achieve remarkable things in the classroom.”

Saucier said he is grateful for all those who have supported him in the past — family, instructors, students and colleagues — and inspired him as a teacher.

“I’m here because people believed in me,” he said. “I’m trying to emulate the standards that the people who believed in me set.”

The Iman Awards are made possible by the generosity of Ron ’62, ’70, ’73 and Rae Iman, who are life members of the K-State Alumni Association and serve as Kansas State University Foundation trustees. Ron Iman is a previous member of the K-State Alumni Association board. 

“We really appreciate the Imans' vision,” said Amy Button Renz ’76, ’86, K-State Alumni Association president and CEO. “This award is one that is well-sought after. We’re just very blessed to have their leadership and their willingness to give back.”

The Imans said they are proud to support the university and its outstanding faculty. 

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