Clemson associate professor Mary Beth Kurz receives Class of ’39 Award for Excellence


Class of 39 recipients pose for photograph in the President's Box at Memorial Stadium
Past Class of ’39 award recipients were on hand to congratulate Kurz.
Back Row (L to R): Alfred “Hap” Wheeler, Terry Tritt, Chip Egan, Donald M. McKale, Catherine Mobley, John Ballato, June Pilcher, Larry LaForge, Antonis Katsiyannis and Ben Sill
Front Row (L to R); Ray Turner, Windsor Westbrook Sherrill, Mary Beth Kurz, Lisa Benson and Cecil Huey

CLEMSON – Clemson University faculty recognized associate professor of industrial engineering Mary Beth Kurz with the Class of ’39 Award for Excellence during an event held in the President’s Box at Memorial Stadium Feb. 11.

Presented annually to a distinguished faculty member by fellow faculty members, the award recognizes outstanding service to the student body, university and community, state or nation.

Many past recipients attended the ceremony to congratulate Kurz, including Windsor Sherrill, who received the award in 2012.

Two Class of '39 Award for Excellence winners at the podium in the President's Box at Memorial Stadium
Windsor Sherrill, a past Class of ’39 Award for Excellence recipient, offering remarks during ceremony honoring the newest award recipient, Mary Beth Kurz.

“People say that universities are always changing – that nothing is really set in stone,” said Sherrill while welcoming Kurz to the group. “Thanks to the great Class of ‘39, there is something at Clemson that is quite literally set in stone. The names of the original Class of ‘39 are engraved on the Carillon bell tower in the Carillon Gardens, and the names of recipients of the Faculty Award for Excellence are also set in stone.”

Memorializing the Class of ’39 for their exceptional helpfulness and friendship to each other and Clemson, Kurz shared how she is motivated by what she discovered during her study of the Class of ’39.

“They had a duty and loyalty to friends,” said Kurz. “I know we can all get busy. But, I do look at my community, both on campus and off, as being made up of my friends. And I do want to help, because that’s what friends do.”

Sherrill added, “Perhaps it was the Great Depression or Clemson College cadet life; perhaps it was World War II. Something about the Class of ‘39’s experiences influenced them to give of themselves in so many remarkable ways. They gave student scholarships (25 Clemson students each year receive Class of ‘39 scholarships), they supported the Botanical Gardens and they promoted excellence in teaching with awards like the one we celebrate today with Mary Beth.”

The Kurz Family celebrating Mary Beth Kurz's award Ceremony
A family celebration.
From left to right: Shelbi Kurz, Cady Kurz, Mary Beth Kurz, Curt Edsall, Laura Edsall and Calvin Edsall
Awards ceremony
President Clements sits with Mary Beth Kurz during remarks detailing her outstanding service to Clemson, including driving changes that led to an updated Faculty Manual.

Previously, Kurz received the Esin Gulari Leadership and Service Award, the Alan Schaffer Faculty Senate Service Award and the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Excellence in Service.

Visit here for more information about Mary Beth Kurz’s leadership at Clemson and in the community.

Kurz joins an esteemed list of 30 faculty, including:

  • Lisa C. Benson, 2018
  • Terry M. Tritt, 2017
  • Antonis Katsiyannis, 2016
  • June J. Pilcher, 2015
  • Catherine Mobley, 2014
  • John Ballato, 2013
  • Windsor Westbrook Sherrill, 2012
  • Richard Figliola, 2011
  • Melanie M. Cooper, 2010
  • Webb M. Smathers, 2009
  • William (Bill) Pennington, 2008
  • Alma Bennet, 2007
  • Donald M. McKale, 2006
  • Ben Sill, 2005
  • Art Young, 2004
  • Kinly Sturkie, 2003
  • P (Hap) Wheeler, 2002
  • Jerry Waldvogel, 2001
  • Chip Egan, 2000
  • Judy Melton, 1999
  • Larry Bauer, 1998
  • Chalmers Butler, 1997
  • Larry LaForge, 1996
  • Fran McGuire, 1995
  • Cecil Huey, 1994
  • Budd Bodine, 1993
  • Ray Turner, 1992
  • John Idol, 1991
  • Joel Brawley, 1990
  • Dixie Goswami, 1989


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