Dr. Ray Hamel, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science, will be receiving the 2005 Trustees’ Medal Award during the June 11 commencement ceremony at Woodward Stadium.
The recipient receives a bronze medallion and a $1,500 cash prize from the EWU Foundation. The honor is given for teaching excellence, significant contributions to scholarship and research and accomplishments in the development of academic programs and curricula.
Before arriving in Eastern’s Department of Mathematics in 1970, Hamel earned his doctorate in Mathematics from the University of Oregon and had worked briefly as a faculty member at Northwestern University in Illinois.
Over Hamel’s 35 years at Eastern, he has spent 16 of them as the chair of his department. Raymond Soltero, dean of Eastern’s College of Science, Mathematics and Technology, said that serving as chair for that long is “highly unusual,” if not a record.
“He acts; he doesn’t just talk. He can follow through, and he’s not afraid to roll up his sleeves and get to work,” Soltero said.
To Hamel’s colleagues he is a source of encouragement and someone they know will challenge them to develop professionally. Along with the consistent high scores he receives in peer reviews, he also receives excellent scores from student evaluations. Motored by Hamel’s enthusiasm, determination and vision, the computer science program has grown to nearly 400 students from less than 100 in 1984.
With the overwhelming success of the Department of Computer Science, Hamel was able to spearhead the introduction and development of the new school of Computing and Engineering Sciences which will incorporate the fields of engineering, physics, computer science and technology. With an impressive new building that is set to open in the fall of 2005, the school will be able to train students for future jobs in the world’s high-tech industries.
Hamel has also been busy over the years making the surrounding community of Cheney a better place to live. He served on the Cheney City Council for six years and contributed to Spokane Transit’s eventual service to Cheney.
However, according to Hamel, the single greatest motivating factor has always been the education of Eastern’s students and preparing them for the future.
“My real satisfaction is the success of the graduates in their professional lives,” Hamel said.