James E. “Jack” Bales, reference and humanities librarian for Simpson Library, is the first recipient of the Richard V. and Rosemary A. Hurley Presidential Commendation Award at the University of Mary Washington. Acting President Hurley made the announcement in a recent address to faculty and staff.
“I am extremely honored to be the inaugural recipient of the Hurley Presidential Commendation,” Bales said. “After 30 years at Mary Washington, I still look forward to coming to work every day, and I still relish helping students, faculty, staff and others with research questions. Having a student come up to me and say, ‘My roommate told me you could help me’ sends blood rushing through every vein.”
Since joining the Mary Washington staff in 1980, Bales has shared his knowledge of research techniques with countless students. He has published hundreds of articles, essays, and reviews for numerous books and periodicals, including the Journal of Academic Librarianship, the Journal of Popular Culture and the Encyclopedia of American Literature. He is the author of several literary studies on American authors, including Horatio Alger, Willie Morris and Esther Forbes.
Bales also has provided valuable support for the university’s annual Great Lives lecture series and William Crawley’s “University of Mary Washington A Centennial History, 1908-2008.”
The Hurley Presidential Commendation will be presented annually to a UMW employee who has performed exceptionally meritorious service to the university while demonstrating strength of character and steadfast dedication to the university mission. The award was endowed by Elmer R. Morris Jr. and Marceline Weatherly Morris of King George, both Mary Washington alumni of the class of 1950.
In accordance with the desire of the Morrises, the commendation honors Acting President Hurley and his wife for their desire to recognize the outstanding service of university employees. This year, nine employees were nominated for the award. Other nominees included: Meta R. Braymer, dean of graduate and professional studies; Leah K. Cox, assistant dean of academic services and director of the James Farmer Scholars program; William B. Crawley Jr., distinguished professor of history and American studies; Susan E. Knick, assistant vice president for public safety and community services; John T. Morello, associate provost; Cedric B. Rucker, dean of student life; Martin A. Wilder Jr., dean of enrollment and student services, and Melissa W. Yakabouski, senior assistant dean of admissions.