Professors Mark Brush and John Hoenig of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science have been selected as recipients of 2016 Plumeri Awards for Faculty Excellence at the College of William & Mary.
The award was established in 2009 with a generous gift from Joseph J. Plumeri II ’66, D.P.S. ’11. It provides $10,000 for honored faculty members to use for research, summer salaries, or other stipends associated with scholarly endeavor.
“As a student at William & Mary, I was inspired by professors who fostered creativity, encouraged me to think big, and taught me to embrace challenges as opportunities,” says Plumeri. “Supporting professors today is my way of recognizing the important role they play in helping young people to set their sights high and pursue their goals with great honor and integrity.”
“The ultimate goal of the Plumeri Awards is to promote and reward the innovation and creativity of our faculty, who serve as the foundation for the university’s excellence,” says W&M Provost Michael R. Halleran. “Invariably, recipients of Plumeri Awards express what a significant difference their awards make in their teaching and research. That difference can be felt across campus and beyond.”
At VIMS, Plumeri selectees have used their award to engage students in seagrass monitoring and restoration, international management of Bluefin tuna, field studies of polar climate change and food-webs, and modeling of storm-surge flooding and sediment dynamics, among several other projects.
VIMS Dean and Director John Wells says the Plumeri Awards “are a wonderful catalyst that gives our faculty flexibility to involve students in innovative new field and classroom activities. We greatly appreciate Mr. Plumeri’s generosity and foresight in supporting Mark and John this year and our award winners in previous years as well.”
Brush’s research combines field studies with computer modeling to better understand and manage coastal ecosystems, while Hoenig develops methods for studying population dynamics and assessing fisheries including determining appropriate management options.
When asked about his selection, Brush said, “I’m truly honored to receive this recognition, particularly given the spirit in which Mr. Plumeri created the awards—to honor W&M faculty and the role they play in inspiring our students. It is at once humbling and affirming, and I cannot think of a higher honor.”
Brush, who says his greatest academic passion “has always been to put the students first, engage and inspire them as they embark on their careers in marine science, and include them in my research,” plans to use the award to support research travel and develop a field-based experience for students.
Hoenig says “Mr. Plumeri’s generous award will allow me to provide more opportunities for my students to gain a wider variety of experience in the field and provide my staff with more training opportunities so they develop their professional skills.” He says he will use the award stipend “to send students to professional fishery assessment meetings where they’ll participate in technical deliberations over the status of important fish stocks.”
A total of 134 W&M faculty members have been honored with the Plumeri Award since its inception. Eighteen of these professors have hailed from W&M’s School of Marine Science at VIMS. The Awards will continue to be granted annually to 20 faculty members at the College and Institute until 2019.
Editor's note: A brief citation was prepared for each of the 2016 winners of the Plumeri Awards. Those for Drs. Brush and Hoenig appear below. Read about the other winners.
Mark J. Brush
Brush’s classroom leadership, mentorship, service as chair of the Academic Status and Degrees Committee and Quantitative Skills Committee, and significant research record make him a vital resource to VIMS’ mission. The recipient of VIMS’ 2013 Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award, Brush has developed 6 graduate-level courses, mentored 10 graduate students, and served on 40 thesis/dissertation committees. Having authored numerous publications and scientific presentations, research by Brush and his students continues to add to the field of ecosystem modeling and estuarine ecology, with work in systems from Narragansett Bay to the Florida Panhandle, and a recent focus on serving ecosystem models online for direct use by stakeholders. Brush is also dedicated to professional service, having served as President of the Atlantic Estuarine Research Society, on the editorial boards of three leading journals, on two model review panels, and currently as a Member-at-Large on the governing board of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation. He holds a doctorate in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island.
John M. Hoenig
Hoenig is highly regarded as a quantitative fisheries ecologist and statistician, and has made substantive contributions to VIMS’ educational, research and advisory service missions. A gifted teacher and inspiring mentor, Hoenig continues to make a real contribution to the academic program at VIMS through his innovative and engaging classroom teaching style, as well as his supportive mentality as a mentor. He equips his students with professional experience around the world that has them in high demand even before they complete their degrees. Hoenig has developed an internationally recognized research program and provides advice to governments and commissions around the world on fisheries management including in the Chesapeake region, the Caribbean, Europe and Australia. He holds a master’s degree and doctorate in oceanography and a master’s degree in statistics from the University of Rhode Island.