Educator of the Year

Regular readers know I spent most of the past week at the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education conference in Jacksonville, Florida.  I’ve been a  member since 1989, spent several years on the  Board of Directors, and served as President in 2000.  It’s a great group of which I am proud to be a member.

Yesterday at the awards luncheon, I received the Mary Ellen Edmondson Educator of the Year Award.  I thought those of you who know me as a writer, dieter, and exerciser might enjoy learning a bit more about my day job. For your reading enjoyment, here is the write-up that appeared in the program for the awards luncheon.

As major professor and mentor at the University of Kentucky, Mary Ellen Edmondson inspired Michael Rupured to dedicate his career to educating students and enhancing the financial literacy of consumers. More than twenty years later, as senior faculty at the University of Georgia and because of the prominent role she played early in his career, in addition to educating students and consumers, Mr. Rupured actively mentors students, county Extension educators, and young professionals with an interest in financial literacy.

He has made a significant impact at the national level and is credited for single handedly establishing financial education as a major program area for UGA Cooperative Extension. As a result of his nurturing efforts, now Family and Consumer Sciences county Extension educators routinely provide a variety of financial management programs that reach thousands of Georgians every year. To assist them in moving up the promotion ladder, Mr. Rupured mentors educators with a particular interest in financial literacy education. These collaborations have resulted in the creation of several cutting-edge programs.

Mary Ellen Edmondson was an associate professor in the Department of Family Studies at the University of Kentucky. If you’ve read Glass Houses, she’s the woman I met with after discovering that either English or Family Resource Management were my options for the fastest path to a degree.  She took me under her wing at that meeting and guided me through both my undergraduate and graduate programs.

A couple of years after I started my career in Cooperative Extension, Dr. Edmondson was diagnosed with cancer.  At the time, I chaired the awards committee. By the time she passed away, I had been elected to the Board. The Board unanimously approved my motion to name the Educator of the Year Award in her honor.

Receiving a national award is quite an honor. Recognition by my peers for a job well done is extremely gratifying.  I know that somewhere, Mary Ellen–my mentor, my colleague, and my friend–is bursting with pride.  Thanks, Mary Ellen, for everything.  Without you, I wouldn’t be here today in…

My Glass House

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