May 01, 2013 12:00AM
A Pittsburg State University faculty member will be honored this month with an award in honor of the man who inspired him to go into education.
Barry Wilson, chairman of the PSU Graphics and Imaging Technologies Department, has been named the 2013 recipient of the Jerry Watson Educator of the Year Award by the Printing and Imaging Association of MidAmerica. He will be recognized on May 9 at the PIA MidAmerica Graphex Awards Gala in Kansas City.
The award is named for Jerry Watson, an award-winning graphics professor at College of the Ozarks, where Wilson received his undergraduate degree. In 1999, during Wilson’s senior year, Watson and five others died in a plane crash in southwest Missouri.
Following his death, two awards were named in Watson’s honor: an award for graphics students and one for educators. Wilson, a former recipient of the student award, is the first person to receive both honors.
“Jerry Watson was an important mentor for me,” Wilson said, “and I never got a chance to say ‘thank you.’ So, when I learned that I was receiving his award, I was dumbfounded.”
Wilson, who received his master’s degree from and taught at the University of Central Missouri before coming to PSU, credits Watson with inspiring him to go into education.
“He was the reason I went into teaching,” Wilson said. “I knew that if I could influence just one student in the way he influenced me, my entire career would be worth it.”
Joe Polanco, PIA MidAmerica president, praised Wilson for his devotion to education.
“We are really pleased that Barry is this year’s recipient,” Polanco said. “I’ve been fortunate to know Barry for the past five years and have been pleased with his commitment to students and our industry. He is thought of highly by his peers and well deserving of this recognition.”