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Mothers Association to honor professor emerita Geneva Belford

Becky Galardy, Parent Programs Office

Released 3/15/2007

Geneva Belford
Geneva Belford

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Geneva Belford, professor emeritus of computer science, will receive the Mothers Association Medallion of Honor, the most prestigious annual award given by the Mothers Association at Illinois.

The annual award – to be presented at the 2007 Mom’s Weekend annual banquet on April 13 – recognizes a woman who has used her talents to enrich the lives of others through example and service. Belford will be honored for these qualities, as well as her great enthusiasm and continual encouragement of her students and colleagues.

Since 1977, the award has been given to a woman affiliated in some way with the university. Nominations are solicited from deans, directors and departments on campus.

Belford was nominated by Klara Nahrstedt, professor of computer science, who noted that many of Belford’s students “have been international students who have gone back to their home countries, where their stories of friendly and helpful mentoring from professor Belford have been a source of good will, both for this campus and for the United States.”

Computer science professor Roy Campbell added: “(Belford) has spent much time improving courses and curriculum for students. She has devoted much time as to how the university can improve itself as a human organization, especially through her work in the (faculty) Senate.”

Former student Momin Mirza wrote of Belford’s long-distance mentoring. “Despite the fact that I was thousands of miles away from Urbana-Champaign, professor Belford … always remained available. … I valued both her professional advice on doing my Ph.D. and wise feedback regarding my concerns on the impact of doctoral work on my personal and family life. Writing this letter of support is only a small token of appreciation for the tremendously valuable source of guidance.”

Belford’s affiliation with the U. of I. began as a student in the mid-1950s. She joined the faculty in the 1970s, and now serves the department of computer science as coordinator of graduate education and advisement. She has been a professor of mathematics and has served as a member of the Graduate College Executive Committee, the Champaign-Urbana Senate (Review and Executive Committee) and as the president of the campus chapter of the American College of University Professors. She also has served as associate dean of the Graduate College.

The Mothers Association at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, established in 1923, is one of the nation’s longest-serving parent organizations. The association supports programs, services and activities that promote the health, safety and well being of the university community and serves as the parent liaison to the campus.