Economist Kumar Kangayappan, professor of Urban and Regional Studies, earned an extended ovation at the annual mid-year convocation of faculty and staff at UW-Green Bay.
The gathering includes recognition of employees celebrating service anniversaries, and at 45 years, Kangayappan was by far the most veteran individual to be recognized Thursday (Jan. 23).
“As UWGB’s senior faculty member, Kumar has the honor of carrying the ceremonial mace at commencement,” noted Provost Julia Wallace, who read the citation honoring Kangayappan. “In turn, we have the honor of serving alongside one of the most dedicated and respected educators this University has ever known.”
Kangayappan joined the UWGB faculty in 1968, the University’s first year offering upper-level courses. He continues to teach a full load of courses each semester and has contributed greatly in terms of institutional and community service. With the five years he taught economics in his native India, his college-teaching career dates to 1963 — making this academic year the start of his second half-century in higher education.
UW-Green Bay Chancellor Tom Harden, who spoke later in Thursday’s program, added his personal congratulations to Kangayappan on his long and distinguished career in service to students, and for many years to come.
He also referred, humorously, to Kangayappan’s ceremonial position as bearer of the University mace. The mace bearer walks just ahead of the chancellor in academic processions, carrying the heavy, silver art object. It’s a nod to centuries-old academic tradition, believed to be based medieval practice when a member of the king’s court would carry an ornate club as a symbol and also to protect the monarch.
“I know this…” Harden joked. “Since Kumar took over as commencement marshal a few years ago, carrying the mace, I have not been attacked by anyone.”