One of the most rewarding tasks that a HAPS president performs is selecting the President's medal recipient. This individual demonstrates exceptional service to HAPS and its mission of promoting excellence in the teaching of anatomy and physiology. The award is traditionally given during the annual conference, which coincides with the end of a president's term. I announced my selection at the 2009 conference in Baltimore. The intent of this column is to share this selection with the rest of the Society.
Selecting this individual is a responsibility that is taken seriously by a president and could be considered a difficult endeavor. in my case, however, I found the choice to be clear. My selection is perhaps the greatest ambassador that HAPS has ever had. He has served HAPS in innumerable capacities, volunteering both both his time and talents. Perhaps most importantly, he is both a gentleman and a scholar. My choice for the 2009 President's Medal is Richard Faircloth.
Outlining Richard's contributions to HAPS tells only half the story, yet could still fill an entire issue of the EDucator. These contributions include serving on the Grants and Scholarships Committee, the HAPS Educator Editorial Board, and the Board of Directors as Eastern Regional Director (two terms). His leadership while in these roles resulted in significant gains in variety of areas. Applications for grants and scholarships climbed dramatically, donations to the Robert Anthony Scholarship Fund increased, and his co-authorship of the EDU-Snippets was welcomed by the membership.
Richard has been generous with HAPS not only in leadership roles, but as a general member of the Society as well. He made numerous presentations at annual and regional conferences, coordinated a conference photograph collage that was displayed at many of our meetings, and could always be counted on to be a central figure on the dance floor during the annual banquet! It should also be noted that Richard and his mother donated a substantial amount of their own money to cosponsor the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum event that was held in 2007 during the San Diego Conference.
But Richard is so much more than his substantial leadership contributions. it is his commanding social presence and welcoming personality that truly defines him. I believe that it is this trait that most represents what it is that distinguishes HAPS from other professional societies. I firmly believe that it is his unique combination of volunteerism and personality that makes Richard an obvious choice for the President's Medal.
Although Richard has just retired from full-time teaching at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland, he continues to serve in various leadership roles. It is my hope that his warm and welcoming presence will be felt for many HAPS conferences to come. And it is my great pleasure to share with the general membership this announcement that 15-year member Richard Faircloth is the recipient of the 2009 President's Medal. Congratulations Richard!