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Dr. Sarah Wyatt and John Sabraw named Ohio University’s Distinguished Professors

During the spring graduate commencement ceremony on Friday, May 3, Ohio University announced faculty members Dr. Sarah Wyatt and John Sabraw as the recipients of this year’s Distinguished Professor Award. 

The Distinguished Professor Award is the highest distinction for faculty members at Ohio University and was presented to Wyatt and Sabraw in recognition of their outstanding scholarly and creative accomplishments.

“This award recognizes outstanding scholarly and creative accomplishments and is the highest permanent recognition attainable by faculty at Ohio University,” President Lori Stewart Gonzalez said. “Both Sarah Wyatt and John Sabraw are extremely deserving of this honor, and we are pleased to recognize them with this high distinction.”

Considered the University’s highest academic honor, the recipients receive a lifetime designation and the privilege of naming one undergraduate student annually to receive a Distinguished Professor Scholarship.

Distinguished Professor Sarah Wyatt

Sarah Wyatt - lab

Wyatt is a professor in the Department of Environmental and Plant Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio University. Her teaching and research specialize in molecular mechanisms of signaling in plant responses, with a focus on how plants respond to gravity.

“Every day, Sarah exemplifies all aspects of the scholarly model – service, teaching and research,” President Gonzalez said. “An internationally recognized leader in the field of plant response to gravity, Dr. Wyatt is admired by colleagues for her cutting-edge research and was named a Fellow of the American Society of Gravitational and Space Biology in 2023.”

Wyatt’s research includes projects with NASA, with four of her experiments having already flown to the International Space Station, with a fifth planned for spaceflight later this year. In 2023, Wyatt was selected as one of only 18 scientists who led the formulation of the nation's ambitious 10-year research roadmap to support humans traveling to the moon and Mars.

In addition to her research work, Wyatt is also an outstanding teacher who has won numerous awards for her work. She also serves as the Chair of Faculty Senate and previously served as director of the multi-disciplinary graduate program in molecular and cellular biology. 

Distinguished Professor John Sabraw

John Sabraw is shown working  with artwork in his studio

Sabraw is a Professor of Art and is Chair of both the Painting and Drawing and the Digital Art and Technology programs. He is also a Board Advisor at Scribble Art Workshop in New York.

“John’s idea to return southeastern Ohio’s streams to the picture of health resulted in not only a line of his paintings, but also a collaborative effort between artists, researchers and community organizers to create art, jobs and clean water,” President Gonzalez said. “His commitment to our students and to our community is commendable.” 

Sabraw works with scientists on many of his projects and has received international acclaim for his work on the collaboration on the project to create paint and paintings from iron oxide extracted in the process of remediating polluted streams.

Due to the far-reaching impacts of his work, Sabraw was recently named as the 2023-24 Harvard University Center for the Environment Artist. 

Sabraw’s art can be seen across the world from Museum of Contemporary Art in Honolulu, to the Elmhurst Museum in Illinois, Emprise Bank, Bank of America, and Accenture Corp.

About the Distinguished Professor Award

Established in 1958 by Edwin and Ruth Kennedy as a designated component of the John C. Baker Fund, the Distinguished Professor award recognizes exceptional research and scholarly or artistic achievements. Since the award’s inception, it has been understood that recipients also must be conscientious teachers. 

Among the privileges granted to Distinguished Professors is the honor of annually naming an undergraduate student to receive a year’s full-tuition scholarship, lifetime designation title of Distinguished Professor, a continuing salary stipend, a one-quarter paid research leave, and travel support.

May 9, 2024
Staff reports