2016 Emeritus Recognitions

Congratulations to the outstanding recipients of the honorary title, Emeritus for their many years of distinguished services to the University of North Texas.



Ms. Gayla Byerly - Librarian Emerita

UNT Libraries

Ms. Gayla Byerly joined the University of North Texas as a librarian in the fall of 2000.  Ms. Byerly is a noted leader and promoter of information literacy programs for UNT students and the surrounding Denton community.  Ms. Byerly has led many efforts to instruct students in the use of information resources, including leading the Denton Inquiry for Lifelong Learning project, a project dedicated to developing lifelong learners through improved P20 information literacy. This effort serves a wide range of institutions in the greater Denton literacy community, including the Denton Independent School District, the Denton Public Library, TWU’s Blagg-Huey Library, TWU’s Department of Library and Information Studies, UNT’s College of Information, and the UNT Libraries.  Ms. Byerly has also served as a liaison to the UNT English department, developing close working relationships with



Mr. Jerry Dickenson - Chair Emeritus

Hospitality and Tourism Management

Mr. Jerry Dickenson joined the University of North Texas as the Robert Dedman Chair in Club Management for the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the spring of 1996. Mr. Dickenson held this position from 1996 to 2016 and made significant contributions to the growth and reputation of hospitality management at UNT.  Committed to student success and a pioneer of distributed learning, Jerry built extensive industry contacts for internships and development, mentored students, and established a hospitality scholarship. Jerry’s UNT service includes serving as a University Trustee since 1988 and selection as a UNT Centennial Year Distinguished Alumnus.



Dr. Eugene Hargrove - Professor Emeritus

Philosophy and Religion

Dr. Eugene Hargrove joined the University of North Texas as an Associate Professor and Chair for the Department of the Philosophy and Religion Studies in the fall of 1990. He was promoted to Professor in 1997.  Dr. Hargrove is considered to be one of the founding fathers of the field of Environmental Philosophy.  When Dr. Hargrove joined UNT, he brought with him the Environmental Ethics Journal and helped transform the Philosophy program into one of the best programs in the world.  Dr. Hargrove led this transformation by developing a vision whereby departmental faculty contributed to their becoming world leaders in the field of Environmental Ethics. As a mentor, Gene has worked with 33 graduate students; four of which completed the relatively new PhD program. Gene uses an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and is a strong advocate for the interaction between philosophy and the environmental sciences.



Cathy Nelson Hartman - Associate Dean Emerita

UNT Libraries

Ms. Cathy Nelson Hartman joined the University of North Texas in the spring of 1995 and served in several leadership roles until her retirement as Associate Dean of Libraries in 2015. Ms. Hartman led several influential and innovative digital library projects, including founding the Cyber Cemetery web preservation service, an archive of government websites that have ceased operation. This project between the University of North Texas Libraries and the U.S. Government Printing Office, Federal Depository Library Program, provides permanent public access to the websites and publications of defunct U.S. government agencies and commissions. In addition, Cathy led the creation of the Portal to Texas History, a statewide digital gateway to rare, historical, and primary source materials from or about Texas. The Portal leveraged relationships with hundreds of content partners across the state by providing a vibrant, growing collection of resources that are viewed by scholars everywhere. In 2012-13, Cathy was elected for a one-year appointment as Chair of the International Internet Preservation Consortium, a worldwide group that leads the development of web preservation efforts among internationally active digital libraries.



Dr. Jane Huffman - Professor Emerita

Teacher Education and Administration

Dr. Jane Huffman joined the University of North Texas in the spring of 1996 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Professor in 2011. During her 20-year tenure, Dr. Huffman taught graduate courses in the Educational Administration/Leadership program within the Department of Teacher Education and Administration.  Dr. Huffman is internationally known for her scholarship in the area of Professional Learning Communities, with 3 books, 12 book chapters, 17 national/international refereed journal articles, and 57 national/international conference presentations to her credit.  In 2014, Jane was appointed the Mike Moses Endowed Chair in Educational Administration. Jane’s noteworthy awards include the Research Leadership Award sponsored by the UNT Office of Research and Economic Development in 2014, the UNT Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentorship in 2009, two Charn Uswachocke International Grants in 2010 and 2012, and several departmental and university teaching awards and award nominations.



Dr. Michel Sirvent - Professor Emeritus

World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Dr. Michel Sirvent joined the University of North Texas in the fall of 1994 as an Assistant Professor of French in the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and was promoted to Professor in 2008. Dr. Sirvent is widely known for his research in 20th century and contemporary French literature.  His publications include 4 books and more than 25 peer-reviewed journal articles.  In addition to being well-known in the U.S. and France, Michel has published in Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and Brazil.  His international reputation led to his participation in the International Cultural Center of Cerisy-la-Salle Textics Seminar fifteen times.  Michel has been a major contributor to the development of the curriculum and scholarly reputation of the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, including teaching all French literature beyond the 18th century courses. 



Dr. Richard Tas - Professor Emeritus

Hospitality and Tourism Management

Dr. Richard Tas, joined the University of North Texas in the fall of 1985 as an Assistant Professor of Hotel and Restaurant Management and was promoted to Professor in 2002.  Dr. Tas founded the Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management in 1985 and has been instrumental in its success for over 30 years. Richard’s research in hospitality management has garnered an international reputation.  With a strong passion for teaching and student development, Richard has received numerous awards including the UNT Student Association Honor Professor Award, UNT Pioneer Award for Distributed Learning, UNT President’s Council Teaching Award, Kappa Alpha Professor of the Year Award, Honors Professor Award, ’Fessor Graham Award, and the University Distinguished Teaching Professor Award.



Dr. Jerry Thomas - Dean Emeritus

Kinesiology, Health Promotions, and Recreation

Dr. Jerry Thomas, joined the University of North Texas as Dean of the College of Education in the spring of 2008. Dr. Thomas came to UNT from Iowa State University, where he was a Professor and Chair of the Department of Kinesiology.  Dr. Thomas has authored over 230 research and professional publications, books, and book chapters. His best-selling graduate textbook, Research Methods in Physical Activity, is currently in its 7th edition and is widely used throughout the country. Jerry has presented over 300 papers to conferences and universities and has been a visiting scholar at institutions in Australia, Korea, China, Thailand, and Hong Kong.  In 2010, Jerry was appointed faculty representative to UNT Athletics.  During his tenure, the College of Education received more than $2 million in private donations every year through 2014, with a high of $3.3 million in 2013. Total grant and contract funding for the College of Education increased to more than $12 million in 2014-15.



Dr. Ruthanne Thomas - Professor Emerita


Dr. Ruthanne Thomas, joined the University of North Texas in the fall of 1981 as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and was promoted to Professor in 2001. Dr. Thomas retired from UNT in May 2016 after a 35-year career.  Dr. Thomas was a leader at all levels of the university.  As a faculty member, she had numerous peer-reviewed publications in top quality journals and she mentored over 25 graduate students to completion of their MS or PhD.  Ruthanne served as Department Chair in Chemistry and more recently as the Associate Vice President for Research.  Under Ruthanne’s leadership, $1 million was raised to establish the Welch Research Professorship in Chemistry. 



Dr. Richard White - Professor Emeritus


Dr. Richard White joined the University of North Texas in the fall of 1990 as an Assistant Professor in the College of Business and was promoted to Professor in 2001. During his tenure, Dr. White modernized the Operations and Supply Chain Management program and sponsored the student Integrated Supply Management organization. Dr. White was appointed Associate Dean for the College of Business and led the effort to downsize the doctoral program in order to increase national program recognition.  Dr. White has published over 46 research publications, including 18 Class A journal manuscripts and 28 research proceedings papers. Dr. White secured a $2.1 million donation from the Oracle Corporation in software and technology for the Department of Management to train future business entrepreneurs. Richard’s awards include the first Distinguished Teaching Professor in the College of Business, multiple Outstanding Educator and Outstanding Teacher awards, and the UNT President’s Council Teaching Award.




Dr. Jon Young - Dean Emeritus

Educational Psychology

Dr. Jon Young, joined the University of North Texas in the fall of 1977 as an Associate Professor in the College of Education and was promoted to Professor in 1985. Dr. Young has served five different departments in the College of Education, including serving as Chair of the Department of Technology and Cognition for 14 years.  In each of these departments, Dr. Young taught undergraduate and graduate classes and served on various committees. As a mentor, he has worked with several graduate students to the completion of their degrees, including 8 doctoral students. He has consulted with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Education, Army, Corps of Engineers; the National Science Foundation; and the National Science Center. Jon has published 38 refereed articles, 7 books, and presented 19 papers to national or international conferences. Dr. Young has been instrumental in the receipt of over $1 million in grants awarded to the College of Education.