Shealy among six honored for 40 years of service to UAB

david shealy sizedWhen David Shealy, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Physics, accepted an assistant professor position at UAB in 1973, he had no idea he would one day be honored for more than 40 years of service to the university. He even came close to leaving on one occasion, before deciding he was more interested in teaching and research at UAB.

One of Shealy's professors at the University of Georgia, where he earned baccalaureate and doctoral degrees in physics, helped him get the job at UAB. Shealy said at that time the university, which was formally founded in 1969, was very modest.

"It was just a physical science building, a humanities building and an education building," Shealy said.

In the early years, Shealy was busy raising a family and setting down roots in the city.

"I earned tenure in three years, which was reassuring," Shealy said. "My wife and I had our first child in 1976 and another in 1978, so we raised our kids in Birmingham."

But he was nearly persuaded to leave the university for a job with Motorola in Phoenix in the early 1980s. He had taken a 24-month sabbatical and leave to work on optical and electronic packaging research in the Materials Technology Lab. Things were going well for the Shealys in Arizona.

"[Motorola] wanted me to move," Shealy said. "I was close to leaving, and the last summer I went back they wanted me to work on something that I didn't know anything about. I couldn't imagine what kind of company wanted to hire someone who doesn't know anything about what they're doing."

Instead the family moved back to Birmingham.

"I realized I would rather be a professor," said Shealy, who is credited with helping to build instructional and research programs that today are among the best in the Southeast.

Now Shealy is among the nearly 300 employees who will be honored during this year’s Service Awards Program. The luncheon, which recognizes employees with 20 or more years of service, will take place at noon Feb. 21 in The DoubleTree Hotel. Employees being honored for five or more years of service are invited to a drop-in reception later that afternoon.

Shealy has spent the majority of his career conducting research and mentoring graduate students in geometrical optics and applications in laser physics. His first graduate student P.W. Rhodes published an article in Applied Optics in 1980, which focused on ways in which optical components can significantly enhance the performance of lasers in widespread applications in industry, telecommunications, health care and research.

"The underlying physics that I worked on in my dissertation at the University of Georgia had the capacity to do what he did, but I hadn't applied it to a laser," Shealy said.

The article has become highly cited during the past 10 years. Shealy said the research was ahead of its time because lasers were not as widely used back then.

As a result of this and related work, Shealy received a Meritorious Achievement Award by the Laser Beam Shaping IX Conference at the International Society for Optics and Photonics Symposium in 2008.

Shealy, who directs the UAB IT Research Computing Services unit, was the founding director of the Laser and Photonics Research Center, now called the Center for Optical Sensors and Spectroscopies, and was a topical editor in Geometrical Optics for Applied Optics from 2003-09. He has published 153 journal and proceedings articles, book chapters and reports and has presented more than 154 invited and contributed papers.

He said he has thought about retirement, but can't imagine himself relaxing on a beach somewhere. When he does retire, probably in the next few years, he wants to continue his research in some capacity.

"Writing another book would be a good project," Shealy said. "There are problems I still want to solve."


The following are being honored for their years of service:

Honored 40-Year Recipients

William C. Bailey (Pulmonary/Allergy/Critical Care); John T. Carpenter (Hematology & Oncology); Richard O. Davis (Maternal & Fetal Medicine); Michael E. Manley (Student Housing Residential Life); David L. Shealy (Physics); Sally B. Whitley (Neonatology).

Honored 35-Year Recipients

James R. Alexander (Art and Art History); Donna Andrews (University Honors); Theodore M. Benditt (Philosophy); David E. Briles (Microbiology); Gloria C. Cahall (Mervyn H. Sterne Library); James B. Chenoweth (Controller's Office); Harriet Amos Doss (History); Andy Grabany (Materials Science & Engineering); James V. Jordan (Campus Maintenance); Beverly A. Layton (Neurology); Michael S. Loop (Vision Sciences); Kathy T. McDaniel (Building Services); Richard D. Meyer (Orthopaedic Surgery); Thomas Norton (Vision Sciences); Anthony J. Schimizzi (Mervyn H. Sterne Library); Johnny W. Scott (Radiology); John T. Siegwart (Vision Sciences); and Carolyn Walden (Mervyn H. Sterne Library).

Honored 30-Year Recipients

Cynthia I. Atkins (Neurosurgery); Phillip R. Borden (The University Computer Center); Isabell Boyd (Management, Info Sys, Quant Method); Charles A. Brown (Mervyn H. Sterne Library); Peter D. Burrows (Microbiology); Edward V. Colvin (Pediatric Cardiology); Doris J. Crittenden (Postdoctoral General Dentistry); James W. Elliott (Telecommunications); Robert P. Ellis (Telecommunications); Vivian K. Friedman (Child & Adolescent Psychology); Roderick J. Fullard (Vision Sciences); Peter M. Ginter (Health Care Organization & Policy); Adam Gordon (Optometry); Gary M. Gray (Chemistry); Donna J. Hester (Human Studies); M. Gail Hill (Nursing); Ann F. Johnson (Controller's Office); Ellen C. Johnson (Office of Sponsored Programs); Connie L. Kohler (Health Behavior); Dwight Lee (Central Utilities); Andrew J. Marsch (Student Life); David M. Morris (Physical Therapy); Rodger D. Nesmith (Equipment Accounting); Sara S. Patterson (Health Services Administration); Patricia E. Pippen (Orthopaedic Surgery); Midge N. Ray (B.S. in Health Information Management Program); John W. Rogers (Minority Business Training and Development); Bruce W. Seals (Mervyn H. Sterne Library); Mary E. Shepherd (Orthopaedic Surgery); Wanda F. Stevenson (Mervyn H. Sterne Library); Debra G. Talley (Student Financial Aid); and Barbara R. Williams (CORD).

Honored 25-Year Recipients

Mary Beth B. Adams (Ext Relations & Academic Planning); Jonathan H. Amsbary (Communication Studies); Carey Ballenger (Campus Maintenance); David M. Bedwell (Microbiology); William W. Belser (Preventive Medicine); William J. Benjamin (Optometry); Suman Bharara (Center for Biophysical Sciences/Engineering); Sharon R. Blount (Pediatric Infectious Disease); Elizabeth G. Bolton (Periodontology); Elaine E. Broussard (Office of Asst VP Occupational Health & Safety); Robin M. Burkett (Civitan International Research Center); Amy D. Burks-Jones (University Police); Danny E. Cash (Campus Services); Jeffrey M. Clair (Sociology); David L. Clowdus (Campus Maintenance); J. Allen D. Cooper (Pulmonary/Allergy/Critical Care); Anne M. Cusic (Biology); Sharon M. Dailey (Cardiovascular Disease); Helen R. Davenport (Accounts Payable); Louis J. Dell'Italia (Cardiovascular Disease); Georg Deutsch (Radiology); John D. Edwards (Central Utilities); Rita F. Elston (Controller's Office); Ann M. Eppley (Immunology/Rheumatology); Vicki L. Farris (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation); Tongia Franklin Feagins (OB/GYN); Douglas K. Gann (Central Utilities); Leathea M. Gray (Print Plant); Marcia L. Green (Gerontology/Geriatrics/Palliative Care); Thomas Hancock (Huntsville Clinic); Gregory J. Harber (Microbiology); Susan M. Harding Hawkins (Pulmonary/Allergy/Critical Care); Robert Bruce Herndon (Radio Paging); Bryan L. Higgins (Cardiovascular Disease); Jimmy Hollis (Campus Maintenance); Teresa D. Holly (Payroll Services); William L. Holman (Cardiovascular/Thoracic Surgery); Anne E. Hubbell (Preventive Medicine); Sean-Shong Hwang (Sociology); Robert M. Hyatt (Computer & Information Sciences); Beverly L. Jackson (Mervyn H. Sterne Library); Veronica A. Jackson (Hematology & Oncology); Wei-Fan Jia (Microbiology); Clisby S. Jones (Orthopaedic Surgery); Jannet Katz (Pediatric Dentistry); Demosthenes Y. Lalisan (Office of Asst VP Occupational Health & Safety); Alfreda Lewis (Comprehensive Cancer Center); Bridget Lewis (Family & Community Medicine); Helen Lewis (Building Services); Terrie J. Lippeatt (Payroll Services); Kathleen R. Little (Maternal & Fetal Medicine); Jane K. Lucas (Office of the President); Carrie D. McGlone (Budget & Payroll); Amie Brown Jackson McLain (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation); Timothy R. McMinn (Budget & Payroll); Judith M. Miller (Comprehensive Cancer Center); Nina P. Mims (Building Services); Paul W. Mosteller (Music); Joanne Murphy-Ullrich (Molecular & Cellular Pathology); Donna R. Myers (Department of Medicine); Fay Newman (Huntsville Medical Programs); Vicki L. Noles (Infectious Diseases); Mary F. Norwood (Education); John Fred Olive (Mervyn H. Sterne Library); Lue B. O'Neal (Preventive Medicine); Peter G. Pappas (Infectious Diseases); David E. Parkinson (Vision Science Research Center); Ransom D. Pewitt (Education Training & General Safety); Patrick G. Pouncey (The University Computer Center); Michael A. Riccio (Office of Admin & Finance); Julio C. Rivera (Management, Info Sys, Quant Method); Nalini Sathiakumar (Epidemiology); Harry W. Schroeder (Immunology/Rheumatology); P. Linda Sellers (Preventive Medicine); Gary T. Simmons (Forensic Pathology); John J. Sloan (Justice Sciences); Shelia F. Smith (Student Financial Aid); Scott W. Snyder (Human Studies); Marion L. Spell (Center for AIDS Research); Alan P. Sprague (Computer & Information Sciences); Catherine M. Sreenan (Epidemiology); Debra R. Tate (University Police); Romeo D. Thigpen (Central Utilities); Joanice Thompson (Preventive Medicine); Patrick K. Umeda (Cardiovascular Disease); David G. Warnock (Nephrology); Wanda Washington (Building Services); R. Douglas Watson (Biology); Robert E. Wells (Campus Maintenance); James F. Williams (Building Services); David L. Wolford (Telecommunications); Kennedy F. Woods (University Police); William E. Yarbrough (Education Training & General Safety); and Tina K. Young (Psychiatry).

Honored 20-Year Recipients

Lee I. Ascherman (Psych-Child & Adolescent); Wanda G. Ashford (Enrollment Operations); David A. Basilico (English); William Scott Bence (Huntsville Medical Programs); Suresh B. Boppana (Ped-Infectious Disease); Thomas S. Bowman (Neurobiology); Sarah L. Brooks (Public Health); Bradford Brown (Campus Maintenance); Stanley M. Buchanan (Campus Maintenance); David A. Calhoun (Cardiovascular Disease); Robert Kevin Canada (Office of VP Research & Economic Development); Robert M. Centor (Huntsville Medical Programs); Marcia J. Chesebro (Huntsville Family Med Program); Geeta Chhabra (Office of Sponsored Programs); Louise T. Chow (Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics); Delowest Clark (Building Services); Ted Clark (Department of Medicine); Gwendolyn C. Claussen (Neurology); Karen M. Coles (Nursing); James F. Collawn (Cell, Developmental, & Integrative Biology); Michael J. Conklin (Orthopaedic Surgery); Deborah K. Cooper (Building Services); Karla D. Corbitt (Orthopaedic Surgery); Robert G. Corley (History); Lydia M. Cowser (Curriculum Instruction); Ida M. Crawford (Building Services); Sarah E. Culver (Marketing, Industrial Distribution & Economics); Linda J. Cunningham (Nursing); Gregory G. Davis (Forensic Pathology); Jeanna Beth Deerman (Infectious Diseases); Peter J. Detloff (Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics); Jeannette C. Dickerson (Accounts Payable); Lennard Wayne Duck (Gastroenterology); Yuanqing Z. Edberg (Immunology/Rheumatology); Amy W. Evans (College of Arts & Sciences); Lottie A. Evans (Building Services); Janette Finkley (Hospital Maintenance); John W. Fluellen (Building Alteration Services); Mary G. Foster (SHP); Russell Friedrikis (Hospital Maintenance); Ronald E. Gamble (Creative & Periodicals); Shirley D. Gibbs (Neurology); Eva M. Gilliam (Nutrition Sciences); Audretta W. Green (Orthodontics); Wendy C. Griffin (Infectious Diseases); John A. Griffin (Materials Science & Engineering); Wendy Gunther-Canada (Government); Claudia M. Hardy (Comprehensive Cancer Center); Kim F. Hardy (Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics); Kathy Harrington (Pulmonary/Allergy/Critical Care); Andrew M. Harrison (Student Housing Residential Life); Robert J. Heath (Radiation Safety); David P. Helms (Cardiovascular/Thoracic Surgery); Felecia W. Hester (Neurobiology); Patricia C. Higginbottom (Lister Hill Library); Jeong S. Hong (Cell, Developmental & Integrative Biology); Barbara J. Johnson (Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics); Jeffrey L. Johnson (Building Services); Thyrza Johnson (Pulmonary/Allergy/Critical Care); Linda N. Jolicoeur (Hospital Maintenance); Betty J. Jones (Building Services); Melissa C. Justice (Office of VP Financial Affairs & Admin); Virginia A. Karle (Neonatology); Angela C. Kendrach (Immunology/Rheumatology); Matthew W. Kennamer (Hospital Maintenance); Timothy W. Kraft (Vision Sciences); Byron W. Lambert (Infectious Diseases); Sabrina M. Latham (Office of Assoc VP Development & Alumni); Christopher M. Lawson (Physics); Mark J. Leo (Physical Security); Phillip J. Lindley (Telecommunications); Deborah W. Littleton (CAS Advising); Xiaofen Liu (Cell, Developmental & Integrative Biology); Wonica L. Lowe-Williams (University Police); Mark W. MacEwen (Pediatric Pulmonary); Ivory Martin (Building Services); Marina Mazur (Cystic Fibrosis Research Center); Judith McBride (Biohazard Safety); Helen M. McComb (Building Services); Bernard E. McLean (Facilities Info Technology); Lee Meadows (Curriculum Instruction); Frank M. Messina (Accounting & Finance); Janella Miller (Cardiovascular/Thoracic Surgery); Michael L. Minor (Trauma Communications); Sergey B. Mirov (Physics); Brandon E. Moon (The University Computer Center); Artisha F. Moore (Preventive Medicine); Scott A. Moran (Facilities Support Services); Rhonda K. Morrow (Pediatrics); Sandi S. Mumfrey-Thomas (Neurology); Eduardo D. Neiva (Communication Studies); Judie T. Neville (Physical Therapy); Carlos L. Orihuela (Foreign Languages); Gloria A. Orr Crump (Building Services); Jane S. Owenby (Neurology); Frank Bennett Pearce (Pediatric Cardiology); Ova L. Peeples (Laboratory Medicine); Timothy L. Pennycuff (Lister Hill Library); Sheila A. Peoples (OB/GYN); Mark C. Phillips (Anesthesiology); Anthony C. Pitts (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation); Dorothea V. Poole (Nursing); Daphne B. Powell (Office of Assoc VP Development & Alumni); Wintrey A. Pride (Student Accounting); Rachel B. Richardson (Comprehensive Cancer Center); Michelle L. Robbin (Radiology); Lynne C. Roden (Clinical Pathology); Kecia M. Roper (Building Services); Susan M. Lobo Ruppert (Cell, Developmental & Integrative Biology); Naron Q. Salter (Hospital Maintenance); Robert M. Savage (Psych); Kimberly A. Sharkins (Psychology); James M. Shikany (Preventive Medicine); Claude Smith (Central Utilities); John A. Smith (Laboratory Medicine); Priscilla G. Smith (Infectious Diseases); Wanda F. Smith (Building Services); Kiran Srivastava (Vision Sciences); Om P. Srivastava (Vision Sciences); Cathy Stallings (Preventive Medicine); Jacqueline J. Stinson (Montgomery Internal Medicine (Org Ret)); Alexander J. Szalai (Immunology/Rheumatology); Patricia A. Taylor (Immunology/Rheumatology); Lewis B. Thomas (Telecommunications); Denyse Thornley-Brown (Nephrology); Hoa Q. Trummell (Radiology Oncology); Jun Tsao (Microbiology); Carolyn M. Tuma (Medical Education); Rosie M. Turner (Pediatric Dentistry); Maria A. Tyson (Gen Surgical Trauma); Belinda F. Vines (Engineering); Shelton D. Walker (Campus Maintenance); Jacqueline Weatherly (Psychiatry); Qing Wei (Microbiology); Mary B. Whall (Philosophy); C Roger White (Cardiovascular Disease); Maria E. Whitmire (Information Engineering Mgmt); Thane Wibbels (Biology); Gwendolyn G. Wilkins (Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging); Lisa D. Williams (Hematology & Oncology); Thomas S. Winokur (Anatomic Pathology); Antonio B. Wooden (Radiation Safety); Gwendolyn A. Woods (Pediatric Dentistry); Evelyn Faye Wormley (Call Center); Connie S. Wright (Student Affairs); Bonnie H. Zarzaur (Center for AIDS Research); and Tonya C. Zwiebel (Office of VP Financial Affairs & Admin).

Awards & Honors