Drs. Davies and Austin receive faculty awards

Dr. Austin accepts his award at Commencement.
Misericordia University honored three faculty members for excellence in scholarship, teaching and service to the campus and community during the 84th annual commencement ceremony at the Anderson Sports and Health Center on May 23.

Stevan L. Davies, Ph.D., professor of religious studies, received the Louis and Barbara Alesi Excellence in Scholarship Award for the third time. The annual award recognizes and promotes the academic accomplishments of faculty members in terms of their scholarship and/or artistic achievements. Faculty members are selected by the Misericordia University Faculty Awards Committee. Dr. Davies also received the award in 2000 and 2005.

Dr. Davies of Dallas, Pa., has a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and a doctorate in philosophy from Temple University. He has taught religion at Misericordia University for 31 years. During that time, he has published seven books, including “The Secret Book of John Annotated and Explained,’’ and his most recent release, “The Infancy Gospels of Jesus: Apocryphal Tales from the Childhoods of Mary and Jesus Annotated & Explained.’’

His most recent single-authored book is a continuation of his studies of the New Testament apocrypha. The book is an analysis and commentary on the Gospel of James, the Gospel of the Infancy and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. Dr. Davies also was awarded a federal National Endowment for the Humanities grant to study ancient and contemporary religion in Oaxaca, Mexico. The summer institute in Oaxaca led to an exhibition of Oaxacan revolutionary woodcuts at the Pauly Friedman Art Gallery and to two published essays, “The Popul Vuh’s Myth of the Origin of Shamans,’’ and “On the Use of the Term Sacrifice in Maya Studies,’’ by the Community College Humanities Review.

Dr. Davies also appeared on the History Channel about Gnosticism for a program on the Shroud of Turin and has published book reviews and presented at many professional conferences.

Allan W. Austin, Ph.D., associate professor of history, was presented with the Pauly and Sidney Friedman Excellence in Service Award. The annual award is given to a member of the faculty who has been selected by the Misericordia University Faculty Awards Committee in recognition of their service for the college and greater community. It takes into consideration the depth, impact, degree and longevity of the service activities.

Dr. Austin, of Dallas, Pa., has been a member of the faculty since 2001. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and his doctorate from the University of Cincinnati. On campus, Dr. Austin has assumed numerous leadership roles as a member of the Strategic Planning Task Force, Planning and Assessment Group, Status Committee, Faculty Research Grants Committee, Core Curriculum Committee and Misericordia University Society of Scholars.

His book, “From Concentration Camp to Campus: Japanese American Students and World War II’’, received positive scholarly reviews, and he spent three years researching his latest work, “Asian American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia,’’ which was published in 2009. Dr. Austin currently serves as book review editor for the Journal of American Ethnic History and has reviewed several manuscripts both for textbooks and scholarly monographs. He has written numerous articles, essays and reviews, and has made numerous scholarly presentations throughout the country.

Dr. Austin also is very active in the local community. He is a board member of the Scranton Anthracite Heritage Museum and Back Mountain Historical Association Steering Committee. With the support of a grant from the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission and MU students, he directed the completion of the “Back Mountain Oral History Project,’’ a 283-page manuscript that preserves the local history of Misericordia and the Religious Sister of Mercy as well as agriculture, business, transportation and communities in the area. More than 3,500 family and friends attended the ceremony honoring the class of 2010, the second largest class in Misericordia University’s history, which included 558 graduates from 16 states and two foreign countries.