Distinguished Service Awards recognizes MSU faculty and staff

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MOREHEAD, Ky. (WTVQ/MSU Public Relations) – Morehead State faculty has announced the recipients of the 2021 Distinguished Service Awards. These awards recognize faculty and staff for their service to the campus community and their fields of study.  

Mindy Highley (Class of 1991, 1993), assistant vice president for alumni relations and development, was awarded the Distinguished Staff Service Award. Jeffrey Hill, professor of mass communications, received the Distinguished Creative Productions Award. Dr. Nilesh Joshi, professor of engineering and technology management, was given the Distinguished Teacher Award. Dr. Ronald Morrison, professor of English, received the Distinguished Researcher Award. Gregory H. Wing (Class of 1976), professor of music, was honored with the Distinguished Faculty Service Award.   

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Mindy Highley
(Source: Morehead State University)

Highley earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Public Relations and Advertising Option, in 1991 and a Master of Arts in Communication, Speech Option, in 1993. Within a year of earning her master’s degree, she began her now more than 27-year career with MSU. She started as the telegiving coordinator in 1994 before serving as the director of annual giving from 1995 to 1999. Beginning in January 2000, she spent nearly 14 years as director of development before taking on her current role as assistant vice president for alumni relations and development in 2015. 

Highley also served as an instructor, teaching orientation classes and First Year Seminar since 2016. In addition to serving on multiple committees during her time at MSU, she is a member of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Association of Advancement Services Professionals and the Morehead Rowan County Chamber of Commerce. 

Highley plays an important role in successful scholarship and fundraising campaigns like “Much More Opportunity: The Campaign for Morehead State” and the current “Soar to New Heights Campaign,” which raised tens of millions of dollars for campus facilities, scholarships, research and other University priorities. Her proudest accomplishment is her role in creating and implementing the Herron Leadership Program, a student leadership, enrollment and retention initiative launched in 2016 through a partnership with the Office of Enrollment Services, the Office of Student Success and the MSU Foundation.  

Jeffrey Hill
(Source: Morehead State University)

A previous recipient of the Distinguished Creative Productions Award in 2009, Hill graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Oakland University in 1993. He went on to earn two master’s degrees: A Master of Arts in Communication from Wayne State University in 1995 and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Filmmaking in Southern Illinois University (SIU) in 2002. He taught film classes at SIU while earning his MFA.

Hill teaches media production classes for undergraduate students at introductory through advanced levels. He believes students must engage in practical applications of production theory and concepts while encouraging students in advanced courses to take their work to the next level, frequently assisting in getting their projects broadcast on public television.

Hill has had his film work frequently showcased. His short documentaries have been featured in film festivals globally and on Kentucky Educational Television (KET). He later moved toward creating episodic television shows, starting with a series of nine two-hour programs called “The Video Vault” in 2011 that led to “Video Vault Kentucky Edition,” which ran from 2014 to 2020. His most recent project, a collaboration with MSU Associate Professor of Music Ryan McGillicuddy called “The Ryan McGillicuddy Big Band,” aired on KET in December 2020.  

Dr. Nilesh Joshi
(Source: Morehead State University)

Joshi earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology in Nagpur, India, in 2000. He later earned Master of Engineering and Master in Business Administration degrees from the University of New Mexico in 2004. Joshi earned a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2007. He worked as an associate advisor at KPMG International in their information risk advisory group in Richmond, Virginia, and as a manufacturing engineer in Bajaj Auto Ltd. in India.

Joshi began teaching at MSU in January 2009 and has been a professor since 2020. Over the years, he developed several new program/course proposals, including the new Bachelor of Science in Systems Integration Engineering program launched in Fall 2020 after seeking approval from the Council on Postsecondary Education.

Dr. Joshi’s research activities enhance his teaching for student success. To provide MSU students hands-on learning opportunities in cutting-edge technologies, he established MSU’s 21st Century Center for Manufacturing Systems with the help of a significant grant from the James Graham Brown Foundation of Louisville.

In the past, Joshi conducted technical training workshops for various companies in MSU’s service region, including Mitsubishi Electric, Kyosan Denso Manufacturing Kentucky (KDMK), Boyd Fabrication, the 3M Company, Summit Polymers, Morehead Utility Plant Board and SRG Global, among others.  

Dr. Ronald Morrison
(Source: Morehead State University)

Morrison earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Marymount College of Kansas in 1981. He went on to earn a Master of Arts in English in 1984, a Master of Philosophy in English in 1986 and a Ph.D. in English in 1988, all from the University of Kansas. He has been with MSU since 1988. He has served as an assistant professor, associate professor and as a professor of English since 1998. 

Both Morrison’s courses and research specialize in Victorian Literature, the British novel and literary theory. He has published widely on various 19th- and 20th-century writers, including Charles Dickens, Richard Jefferies, and William Wordsworth, among others.

Since last receiving the MSU Distinguished Researcher Award in 2004, Morrison has published three co-edited collections of scholarly essays from major international academic presses and six peer-reviewed essays in national and international journals or scholarly books. In 2021, he published a new book “Thomas Hardy: A Companion to the Novels.” The volume appears in the McFarland Companions to 19th Century Literature series, published by McFarland & Company.  

Gregory Wing
(Source: Morehead State University)

Wing, professor of music, trumpet, earned a Bachelor of Music Education from MSU in 1976 and a Master of Music in Trumpet Performance from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University (Bloomington) in 1981. He performs with the Horizon Brass Quintet and is in high demand as a clinician/guest artist.

Wing has performed with symphony orchestras across the country, has served as lead trumpet for orchestras at multiple Las Vegas casinos/venues and has shared the stage with legendary performers ranging from Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis to Natalie Cole and Luciano Pavarotti.

In addition, Wing has served as an assistant instructor of trumpet at Indiana University and an instructor of trumpet for the Nevada School of the Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Wing was the recipient of the 2010-11 Morehead State University Distinguished Teacher of the Year award.

In 2013, Professor Wing was inducted into the Morehead State University Alumni Hall of Fame. Since coming to MSU in August 2002, he has served the University by being involved in numerous committees and service initiatives for the Caudill College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance.

As a member of the University Gala Planning Committee, Wing has helped produce and directed the show for the MSU Spring Gala, the University’s largest fundraising event, since 2010. He has also served as the director of the Summer Arts Academy for the past 12 years.