By Kim Corriher
When you are doing what you love, recognition is just an extra. Just ask Pete Mather, an assistant professor in Ohio University's College Student Personnel program.
The American College Personnel Association Commission for Graduate Studies and New Professionals recently honored Mather as the Outstanding Mentor to Graduate Students. The honor was one of only six commission awards bestowed at ACPA's annual convention in Atlanta.
"It's a tremendous honor to be recognized by your peers for doing something that you truly love," Mather said. "I am extremely fulfilled by the work that I do as an advisor; I find that my students are incredibly capable, engaged and passionate about their work. So to be honored for it is just above and beyond."
Mather was appointed to the College of Education's faculty in Counseling and Higher Education in September 2005. In addition to his teaching, research and role as a mentor, Mather annually leads a service learning trip to Honduras through the university's Study Abroad program, and serves as advisor to Ohio University's Student Personnel Association, a professional development organization for graduate students.
A former colleague and some of Mather's students nominated him for the honor.
"Through something such as the service learning trip, Dr. Mather has shown us that this program, this profession, is more than just 'student affairs,'" second-year graduate student Dean Pidcock said. "He's given us first-hand knowledge of the impact that making connections with students can have, both through our own experience and witnessing his approach."
Prior to his arrival in Athens, Mather worked in student affairs and student development offices at Duke, Emory and the University of Georgia, among others. It was as director of educational programs at The Carter Center, headquarters of Jimmy Carter's post-presidential humanitarian efforts, that Mather discovered a unique clarity about his work.
"I was humbled and honored to work at The Carter Center, and to work with President Carter – a personal hero of mine – on so many projects," Mather said. "But it was there I found out that the essential part of my work that made me happy and fulfilled was working with, advising and mentoring students."
Amanda Remnant, a first-year graduate student who also completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University, says that Mather demonstrates a keen understanding of the different needs of graduate students and undergraduates.
"He is willing to go above and beyond to help his students," Remnant said. "He's very aware of how powerful it can be to lead by example."
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