40 Year Recipients
Reid Ferring – Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Geography and the Environment
Though passionate about his work, Reid Ferring didn’t always expect to study archaeology or geology, much less teach it.
Ferring began his lengthy collegiate career as a pre-med student at Southern Methodist University. There he was swayed by the prominent civil rights movement and an interesting elective course to pursue a degree in Anthropology. Ferring credits these same curious tendencies, and an endless drive to learn, with pushing him to complete not one, but two doctoral degrees.
After a few years as the head archaeologist of a research site in Oklahoma, Ferring returned to Texas to be closer to his alma mater and pursue a career in teaching at UNT. He recalls at the time the university was home to a mere 16,000 students. Since becoming a part of our community, he has seen remarkable improvements in research, teaching and opportunities for students.
Ferring speaks proudly of the growth that he has witnessed at our university and it is clear that he has cherished his 40 years at UNT.
Allen Jackson – Regents Professor, Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation
Author of more than 100 publications, Allen Jackson is not only a prolific writer but also a dedicated member of the Mean Green family.
Throughout the course of his 40-year career in the College of Education, Jackson has displayed an unrelenting commitment to improving UNT. He has been a part of several committees, served as the chair of his department and has completed impressive, groundbreaking research.
Considered an “excellent researcher and scholar” by his colleagues, Jackson cares deeply about his students and their success. He played a fundamental role in establishing interdisciplinary doctoral programs in the College of Education, as well as in creating the applied physiology laboratory.
“UNT and Dr. Jackson have mutually benefited from this successful relationship,” according to Jean Keller, Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation chair, who thanks him for giving 40 years to UNT.
Lynn Johnson – Professor, Department of Management
Lynn Johnson’s ties to UNT go far beyond his 40 years as a professor. Having earned his Master of Business Management degree from North Texas State University in 1968, Johnson returned to Denton 11 years later out of his admiration for the university and the opportunities it offers to both students and faculty.
Since rejoining the Mean Green family, Johnson has played an important role in the recently-named G. Brint Ryan College of Business. He has been a fundamental part of developing the management study abroad program and contributed greatly to the extraordinary growth in the College of Business at UNT Dallas.
His colleagues attribute Johnson’s accomplishments in their department to his “Ability to foster consensus and maintain a conflict-free setting for faculty to get work done.”
Johnson said his dedication to and longevity at the university comes from his strong belief in higher education.
Philip Lewis – Professor of Violin
Described as a violinist of “Rare excellence—combining sensitivity, virtuosity, warmth and vitality” by the Baltimore Sun, Philip Lewis’ talents are sought out around the world by students of music and music lovers alike.
Having taught master classes throughout Asia and North America, Lewis came to UNT in 1978 to teach gifted students the art of violin and chamber music, the latter of which has always been a large part of Lewis’s life. A performer in numerous festivals, including Park City Chamber Music and Sitka Chamber Music Festival, Lewis founded the nonprofit Chamber Music International in 1986 and has continued to offer exceptional classical music through performances and musical education programs in Richardson and the Dallas Metroplex to this day.
Music is not Lewis’ only talent. His colleagues describe him as a “Wonderful listener and very patient,” as well as a “dedicated teacher who cares deeply for each one of his students.”
45 Year Recipients
Joseph Banowetz – Professor of Piano Joseph
Banowetz has been heard around the world. The critically-acclaimed pianist has performed in more than 35 countries, recorded nearly 40 commercial recordings and received two Grammy nominations, among a number of other prestigious awards.
The Fanfare Record Review declared Banowetz “a giant among keyboard artists of our time,” and it is clear that musicians everywhere agree.
His books, colleagues say, are used as a “standard reference” for all pianists and his expertise has drawn students from far and wide to study under him.
Steven Harlos, the Division of Keyboard Studies chair, credits Banowetz with being a well-known and highly respected master teacher, scholar and pianist.
“It has been an honor to have served with [Banowetz] for many years building the reputation of our area,” says Harlos.
Jean Schaake – Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
Though Jean Schaake’s role today is leading the CLASS curriculum development team and overseeing advising for the college, she was originally drawn to teaching. She earned three degrees from universities across the country and settled in Denton 45 years ago to teach chemistry at UNT. But her career took a unique path, allowing her to grow into curriculum development for undergraduate and graduate-level courses and working with faculty to create new degrees and programs.
Eventually, she also began overseeing and developing the growing area of student advising within the college.
“Thousands of students wouldn’t have graduated without Jean,” CLASS Dean David Holdeman says. “Her ability to be a team leader is at the top of her skill set. She is often the most knowledgeable and wise person in the room, and is gifted at bringing people together.”
While at UNT, Schaake has witnessed tremendous progress as UNT has become an integral in the DFW area as a provider of educational opportunities. She is proud of UNT’s growth in its national prominence with nationally and internationally recognized programs and its role in economic development in the region.
50 Year Recipients
Martin Yaffe – Professor, Philosophy and Religion
Martin Yaffe might be 50 years into his work at UNT, but he has no plans to end his career as a professor of philosophy and religion any time soon.
“There is something invigorating about being with young people at a point when they’re making decisions,” Yaffe says.
Yaffe’s colleagues are grateful that he is a fan of UNT and its students, as they credit him considerably with the development of their department.
In addition to the role he played in the creation of his department, Yaffe has also served on a number of committees within UNT, given numerous presentations around the world and authored several books on the subjects of religion and philosophy. It is a testimony to his knowledge on the subject that these books are used by teachers throughout the department and around the country.
His clear passion for the subjects he teaches, as well as his positive and encouraging nature, make Yaffe a wonderful addition to the Mean Green community.