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Keane, Keebler named Alice Smith award winners

MORROW — Pat Keane, soon to become Clayton State University’s longest-tenured staff member, and College of Business professor Dr. James Keebler, have won the university’s 2013 Alice Smith Awards.

The awards were presented at Clayton State’s Faculty/Staff Awards Ceremony April 23. An annual event since 1995, the Smith Awards are presented to the faculty member and staff member ranked most outstanding as determined by committees of their peers. The two $1,000 awards were established by local philanthropist Joseph Smith in honor of his wife, Alice.

Keane was named a finalist for the Alice Smith Award thrice before.

“It’s a great feeling,” she said. “There are so many great people here, I hope you all get to experience it some day.”

Keane has been with Clayton State for 29 years. She is the administrative assistant in the university’s athletic department. She has also worked as a part-time switchboard operator and full time in the Continuing Education Division and Media and Printing Services.

“I don’t believe there is a better environment than a college campus to work,” she said. “Helping students and coaches make their dreams come true is so rewarding. I look forward to coming to work every day… of course working with awesome colleagues helps too.”

Keane is married with three children and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and staying active outdoors. A native of Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood, she has lived in Morrow for 39 years.

The Smith Award capped a big day for Keebler. The U.S. Army veteran was also awarded tenure and a Five-Year Service Award by the Clayton State.

Keebler is professor of supply chain management and serves as chair of the Faculty Senate and the Charles S. Conklin Endowed Chair. He said he has enjoyed being able to help build the supply chain management program at the university.

“I have never applied for a teaching award,” he said. “I enjoy the classroom experience and my sincere concern for student learning, job placement and career advancement is apparent. [But] student engagement is a reward in itself.”

Keebler lives in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., and has commuted to Clayton State since 2008.

A long-time corporate executive in the food, pharmaceutical, health care and electronics industries, he made the decision to complete his doctoral program at 53. He earned his doctorate in business administration, marketing and logistics from the University of Tennessee. He has since taught courses at St. Cloud State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of South Florida and Clayton State.

Keebler is married with seven children, two of whom are still in college, and he has 13 grandchildren. He enjoys golfing, camping, exploring and canoeing.  

Other Alice Smith Faculty Awards nominees included Dr. Susan Copeland, Dr. Erica Gannon, Dr. Kelli Nipper and Dina Swearngin. Finalists for the Alice Smith Staff Award were Patricia Barton, Marcia Jones, Jivaro Lovett and Dan Newcombe.