<< back to the May 2006 North Texas Insider


The answer is b. In 1958, the Student Association created an award to recognize Professor Floyd Graham, who had taught music at North Texas for almost 50 years by the end of his career in 1974.

Beginning in 1959, the Student Association established the 'Fessor Graham Award as a permanent, university-wide annual recognition of one faculty member chosen solely by the students for his or her extraordinary service to the students and the school. It is the final award presented each year at Honors Day.

A native of Roanoke, Texas, Floyd Freeman Graham held degrees from the Chicago Musical College and the American Conservatory of Music with advanced studies at Juilliard School of Music and private study with some of the great musicians of the era.
Graham taught music at North Texas from 1927 to 1974. For 35 of those years, he conducted the immensely popular Saturday night Stage shows (variety shows with big bands and pit orchestras). He organized the first jazz band on campus in 1927. During his tenure, he also conducted the symphony orchestra, the marching band and the concert bands, and he found time to teach a variety of music courses. He also directed the annual homecoming celebrations between 1927 and 1970.

His reputation was not confined to north Texas or even to the entire state. His students fanned out across the country and wherever they went each took a story, a personal remembrance of how one person, 'Fessor Graham (as he was affectionately known by all), had made a difference.

Floyd Graham became the first faculty member to be formally recognized by the Student Association. The award, the highest faculty honor presented by students, became a UNT tradition, whereby students recognize annually a single faculty member and present what has become known as the 'Fessor Graham Award.

The award comes in the form of an engraved, commemorative Silver Tray, reminiscent of the original tray that was presented to 'Fessor Graham in 1958. The tray presented to 'Fessor Graham bore the inscription: "To 'Fessor Graham Who Holds a Place in the Hearts of Thousands of North Texans." The annual award was provided until 1970 by the Student Association and from 1972 forward by the Graham family. Today, the tray is a gift from 'Fessor Graham's daughter, Pati Graham Haworth. The inscription, unchanged since 1959, states "'Fessor Graham Award to (name) for Unselfish Service and Total Dedication to the Students and the University."

Kimi KingThe 2006 award went to Kimi King, a member of the faculty of the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. King is an outstanding professor and mentor to many students on the North Texas campus. During her 13 years of service at UNT, she has demonstrated teaching excellence, produced scholarly works and shown unselfish service to her students. She serves as the pre-law adviser for UNT, the sponsor for the nationally ranked UNT Moot Court teams and as the adviser to Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity and Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance.

I am certain that some of you will recognize the names of many of our past award winners. Here's a look at some of our other past 'Fessor Graham Award recipients:

1958 Floyd Graham, Music
1959 Beulah Harriss, Physical Education
1960 Sam B. McAlister, Government
1961 Arthur M. Sampley, Library Service
1962 William B. DeMougeot, Speech and Drama
1963 A. Witt Blair, Education
1964 Chester A. Newland, Government
1965 Leon Breeden, Music
1966 William R. Garner, Government
1967 Clovis Morrisson, Political Science
1968 Kendall P. Cochran, Economics
1969 Don E. Beck, Speech and Drama
1970-1971: The Student Government Association was in some disarray in 1970 and 1971 and no recipient was selected for these years.
1972 James Riddlesperger, Political Science
1973 Charles Foster, Business
1974 Leo Bardo Estrada, Sociology
1975 Ben Arlen Chappell, Speech Communications
1976 Milan J. Reban, Political Science
1977 T. Bullock Hyder, Economics
1978 Anshel Brusilow, Music
1979 Umesh C. Banerjee, Biology
1980 Tommie Collins Lawhon, Education
1981 Douglas P. Starr, Journalism
1982 David R. Fitch, Business
1983 Jerry Lee Yeric, Political Science
1984 John James Haynie, Music
1985 Lee Knox, Geography
1986 J.B. Spalding, Business
1987 John S. Gossett, Communication and Public Address
1988 Richard H. Wells, Journalism
1989 Ernest F. Crystle, Foreign Languages and Literatures
1990 Dan Haerle, Music
1991 Valerie D. Martinez, Political Science
1992 Fred Hamilton, Music
1993 Kenneth Godwin, Political Science
1994 Robert S. LaForte, History
1995 Norris D. Fox, Education
1996 Ann S. Windle, Education
1997 Donald E. Chipman, History
1998 P.R. Chandy, Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Law
1999 Juliet Getty, Merchandising and Hospitality Management
2000 William T. Waller, Biological Sciences
2001 Gladys H. Crawford, Biological Sciences
2002 Thomas P. Sovik, Music
2003 Richard Tas, Merchandising and Hospitality Management
2004 Brian Bowman, Music
2005 David W. Hill, Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation
2006 Kimi King, Political Science