Four longtime professors and a veteran administrator were awarded emeritus status at the University of Mary Washington’s undergraduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11.
Meta R. Braymer was named Vice President for Economic Development and Regional Engagement Emeritus; Roy F. Gratz was named Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemistry; Margaret A. Mi was named Professor Emerita of Marketing; Denis Nissim-Sabat was named Professor Emeritus of Psychology; and Larry W. Penwell was named Professor Emeritus of Management and Psychology.
The title of emeritus is bestowed on faculty members who have served the university for at least 15 years and who have attained the rank of professor or associate professor.
Meta Braymer joined UMW in 1990 as associate vice president for academic affairs and director of graduate and continuing education. As dean of graduate and professional studies, she directed and planned all academic programs for the James Monroe Center, now the Stafford campus, which opened in 1999. In 2003, she was the second person to whom the university awarded its highest honor, the Washington Medallion for Service to the University of Mary Washington.
From 2000 through 2010, Braymer served as vice president of graduate and professional studies and dean of faculty. In 2011, she was named vice president for economic development and regional engagement and was responsible for the Center for Economic Development. She chaired the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, the UMW Economic Development Conference, and the Strategic Planning Committee on Regional Engagement and Leadership. She was co-chair of the Executive-in Residence Program and served on the Executive Management Committee for the Dahlgren Education and Research Center.
Braymer served on Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine’s Advisory Transition Policy Committee for Higher Education, was a founding and board member of the Virginia Foundation for Women, and was a member of the Virginia Executive Committee to the American Council on Education for the Office of Women in Education. She was a founder of the Annual Leadership Colloquium for Professional Women and has been director since 1994.
Braymer earned a bachelor’s degree from Maryville College, a master’s degree from The Ohio State University and a doctorate in English from the University of Tennessee.
Chemist Roy Gratz joined the Mary Washington Department of Chemistry in 1975 after having taught for four years at Salem College in North Carolina. He specializes in organic and polymer chemistry.
He has taught the sophomore organic chemistry courses at Mary Washington since 1977 and also has taught experimental methods in chemistry and polymer chemistry. He has sponsored many students in independent study and honors research. He served as department chair, as faculty senator for chemistry, and on numerous university committees.
Gratz did postdoctoral research at the Medical University of South Carolina and spent eight summers at NASA and Navy labs. His research has been published in several professional journals, and he holds seven patents from his work at NASA. He has held several leadership roles in the Virginia Section of the American Chemical Society, including section chair in 2000.
In the community, he has lectured Advanced Placement students at Fredericksburg’s James Monroe High School and served on its parent-teacher advisory council. He is chair of the Fredericksburg Planning Commission and has served on the city Board of Zoning Appeals.
Gratz earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in organic chemistry from Duke University and a bachelor of science in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh.
Margaret Mi joined the Department of Business in 1989. Along with numerous other service roles at UMW, she served as president of the College of Business Faculty Senate. She has served as president of the Virginia Consortium of Asian Studies and vice-president of the Hai Hung Foundation.
Her publications, presentations, lectures, professional associations and honor societies are numerous. Mi was recommended by Del. William J. Howell to be a member of Gov. George Allen’s Task Force on Telework in 1995, and she served with Shirley J. Ybarra, former Virginia Secretary of Transportation. She edited a white paper for “Telecommuting for the Commonwealth” for Gov. Jim Gilmore. The Harvard Business Review invited her to comment on the case study “How Do You Manage an Off-Site Team?” She served as vice president of the International Telework Association and Council and was founder and editor of its TeleTrends newsletter.
Mi has spoken on telecommuting and marketing in classrooms and conferences in Bulgaria, China, Japan, England and Canada. She was awarded the annual direct marketing award from the Direct Marketing Association of Washington, D.C.
She holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in business from Eastern New Mexico University and a doctorate in business administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Denis Nissim-Sabat joined the Department of Psychology in 1976, and he practiced clinical psychology in the Fredericksburg area as he rose to full professor. His areas of interest are broad: In teaching they include clinical psychology and the theoretical and philosophical foundations of the discipline; in research they include third-party reimbursements in public mental health and the stigma of mental illness.
Nissim-Sabat was awarded a congressional science fellowship by the American Psychological Association (APA) and served as legislative assistant for health care policy in the office of Illinois Sen. Paul Simon in 1989-1990. He has published widely in psychological journals and has presented dozens of papers at professional conferences, including reporting his findings on Soviet psychology. He also has had numerous articles published in the popular press.
Nissim-Sabat has served on many UMW committees and was faculty representative to the Board of Visitors and president of the Faculty Senate. His leadership roles with the APA include senior policy analyst and chair of its Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest. He served the community as member and chair of the board of directors of the Rappahannock Community Services Board.
Nissim-Sabat holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Case Western Reserve and a doctorate in clinical psychology from Temple University.
Larry Penwell came to Mary Washington in 1989 to teach and pursue research in the disciplines of psychology and business. With a doctorate in social psychology from the University of Cincinnati, he had been an organizational change consultant for GE Aircraft Engines.
Penwell has published extensively and his work has been referenced in articles, books and dissertations in eight languages and in studies sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the European Space Agency and NASA. His work on human performance in extreme environments has been applied to trauma surgery teams, Mars mission design, polar research bases, crisis management, offshore oil rigs, and for fire, rescue and military officer training.
His extensive group-relations work with the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems led to his directing the first group-relations conference in Fredericksburg and his subsequently serving on the board of the A.K. Rice Institute. His work in conflict management led to his involvement as a trainer, board member and president the Rappahannock Mediation Center.
As co-director of the 2000-2003 Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaccreditation study, Penwell facilitated Mary Washington’s transition to a university. From 2009 to 2011, he helped launch the UMW College of Business, first serving as executive director and then as acting dean.