McCrady Prize Continues to Support Student Research
For the past several years, excellent research by Sewanee students has been recognized through the McCrady Prize, established in 2007 by Mayna and Walter Nance, C'54. At this year's Scholarship Sewanee, student participation was at an all time high, and the undergraduate research committee selected prize winner. In early May, Nancy Berner, associate provost, announced the winners of the 2012 McCrady Prizes:
The Dating of a 19th Century Tennessee Cabin Using Dendrochronology
Patrick Vestal, Forestry & Geology
Second place (4-way tie):
Gaze-Augmented Think-Aloud as an Aid to Learning
John E. Ingram, Mathematics & Computer Science
Seasonal expression of cytochrome c oxidase and citrate synthase genes in the Eastern red spotted newt (Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens)
Trevor Marquand, Biology
Natural Attenuation of a Hydrocarbon Plume in the Shallow Aquifer of the Cumberland Plateau, Sewanee, TN
Denton L. O’Neal, Marshall D. Williams, & Julia B. Wood, Forestry & Geology, Chemistry and Environmental Studies
Human Alteration of Soils at the Cook Historic Site in Compartment 20 in Sewanee, TN
Patrick Vestal & Deanna Wolford Forestry & Geology and Environmental Studies
McCrady Prize for Best Presentation in the Arts & Humanities
Gender and Ordination in the Episcopal Church: Women’s Perspectives on the Influence of Gender on Ordained Ministry
Kristin Hanson, Religion
“For to maken and devvse”: The Issue of Patronage in Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale
Margaret Day, English
Race, Politics, and Pomotion in the New South: The Telling Impact of Ida B. Well’s English Anti-lynching Tours (1893 – 1894) in 1890s Atlanta
Brian Easley, History
Background on the Prize
The McCrady Prize was established by the couple in 2007. Their generous commitment is part of a multi-pronged effort to build resources for an exciting educational initiative--undergraduate research.
The Nance's agreed to an interview at the time of their establishing their gift, which follows here:
Why did you choose the University of the South and, specifically, the Sewanee Summer Music Festival and Scholarship Sewanee as the recipient of your gift?
"I am an alumnus of the University of the South and have enjoyed the SSMF for many years along with my wife Mayna and especially her sister Jaqueline Avent. Someone in our family has attended virtually every performance during the first 50 years of the Festival. We have especially enjoyed the Concerto Competition and decided a couple of years ago that the contest needed prizes for the winners. We tried to do this in a way that would honor the memory of Mayna's sister, and benefit the SSMF as well as the winners, who receive a named prize award, as well as a cash supplement to any other scholarship funds they may receive if they return for the Festival the next summer.
"Our endowment also provides for the recruitment each year of at least one external judge for the Competition, which will spread the word about the Festival. We were thrilled to learn at the reception we gave after the event last summer that most of the winners do plan to return. Last summer's first place winner, Andrew Hudson, told us about the piece he played. It was a clarinet concerto that Aaron Copeland wrote for his close friend Benny Goodman. To Andrew's delight and that of the audience, he was able to hit a high note that Goodman usually omitted in public performances of the Concerto."
Can you tell me how you came to name your endowment supporting undergraduate research for former Vice Chancellor Edward McCrady?
“Dr. McCrady was a scientist at Oak Ridge and was influential in my decision to come to Sewanee, and he returned as a new Vice Chancellor while I was here as a student. Although I was a good student, I lost my gown after spending the night on his front lawn one night after a party, and I always believed he took particular pleasure in hooding me when I graduated the next year, Optime merens.
“I have attended several of the annual science poster sessions (formerly called Scientific Sewanee) which provide excellent experience in what has become an important method of scientific communication.”
What do you enjoy about retirement? How are you spending your time?
“I am an avid gardener and have also found that with the Internet, I can still stay in close touch with my colleagues who value my collaboration in writing grants and papers. We have also enjoyed traveling. Last year my wife and I returned to Shanghai where we were guests of the Shanghai American School, where we were classmates in the second grade 70 years ago. Last fall, I decided that the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and 150th anniversary of the publication of his "Origin of Species" were a good excuse to visit the Galapagos. We had never visited Ecuador before and had a wonderful time taking pictures there, which my daughter published for me in a lovely book. Who knows, maybe the next volume will be on Abbo's Alley; or Fiery Gizzard.”
Dr. Nance was born in the Philippines in 1933, and lived in Shanghai China until 1940. His paternal grandfather was an educational missionary and President of Souchow University, who went to China on a Clipper Ship at the end of the 19th century. His three sons all became physicians who returned to Shanghai to practice medicine. When families were ordered out of China by the State Department his mother returned to her home in New Orleans with her little daughter and two sons and was trying to rejoin her husband in the Philippines when the war broke out. His father was interned in prison camps, first at Baggio, the summer capital, and then in Los Banos, where he was rescued in 1944. Dr. Nance competed his high school education at the Philips Exeter Academy in 1950, and graduated optime merens from the University of the South in 1954 with a degree in Mathematics. He received his MD from Harvard University in 1958, and then completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Vanderbilt University from 1958-1961. As an intern, Dr. Nance published a review article on the biology of twinning, and soon developed a reputation of being more interested in genetics, i.e., the "family history" than the "present illness". Once, after giving a Grand Rounds presentation on two patients who developed acute hemoytic anemia from brown spider bites, he speculated that the patients may have had a genetically determined sensitivity to the venom. That was the last straw for his Department Chairman, Dr. David Rogers, who told him "Walter, anybody who can find something genetic in a spider bite had better go study genetics before he hurts somebody." From 1961-1963, he was a National Science Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he began his thesis research on the genetics of serum and red cell protein, and completed his Ph.D. in human genetics in 1968. At Wisconsin Nance had the good fortune to become the first graduate student and postdoctoral fellow of Oliver Smithies, who won the Nobel Prize in 2006.
During his career, Dr. Nance conducted research, taught students and evaluated and counseled patients with genetic diseases first at Vanderbilt University, then at Indiana University Medical School at Indianapolis where he was Principal Investigator of the Indiana University Human Genetics Center, and then from 1975 at the Medical College of Virginia (now the Medical School of Virginia Commonwealth University). During the 50 year span beginning in 1959, he published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles on a wide variety of topics, which included the description of more than seven newly recognized genetic diseases. Several career-long areas of research interest included the detection and analysis of genetic polymorphisms, twin studies and the genetic causes of deafness.
Dr Nance served on three NIH Study Sections and was a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute of Deafness and Communicative Diseases. At Harvard Medical School he won the Boyleston Society Award, and was a Markel Scholar at Vanderbilt University Medical School, and the recipient of the University Prize for Excellence in Teaching, Service and Research at Virginia Commonwealth University. He was a founding member and later Vice President and then President of the International Society for Twin Studies. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and served as a Member of the Board, and as Secretary, Vice President and then President of the American Society of Human Genetics, and was the recipient of the Leadership Award from the Society in 2007.
In 2002, Dr Nance stepped down as Chairman of the Department of Human Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University, and in 2006, he became an Emeritus Professor at that Institution. During his career, he competed successfully for more than $19 million in research grant support and supervised the thesis work of 20 graduate students, served on the thesis committees of 35 additional students, and directed 11 postdoctoral fellows.
The University is fortunate to have the Nances as a member of the Sewanee community. Their commitment to the life of the community and the University’s mission is exemplary.
If you would like to explore how you might make a gift to the University through an estate commitment, please contact Eileeen Sims, associate vice president. Gifts in amounts smaller than the University minimums for named endowments could go to bolster either the Scholarship Sewanee or the music festival scholarship fund.