Waynesville resident, retired WCU professor receives national award for service

Sep 21, 2013
Photo by: Donated photo George Fritsma, left, presents the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science Robin H. Mendelson Memorial Award to Daniel Southern, Western Carolina University professor emeritus.

The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science recently honored Daniel Southern, Western Carolina University professor emeritus of clinical laboratory science, with the national Robin H. Mendelson Memorial Award.

The award, established in 1971, honors outstanding service and contributions to the society, the society’s Education and Research Fund and the clinical laboratory science profession.

“This award is very dear to me as it is the highest recognition one can receive from this professional organization,” said Southern.

Although Southern retired from WCU in 2007 after 31 years of service as a faculty member and program director, he continued to contribute to the field of clinical laboratory science and recently completed six years of service as a member, vice chair and then chair of the board of trustees for the ASCLS Education and Research Fund.

During his tenure on the board, he recruited new resources for the fund and was instrumental in developing the new Edward C. Dolbey scholarship program as well as a scholarship program for contributors who wish to honor or memorialize individuals, said George A. Fritsma, a member of the society for 40 years and vice chair of the Education and Research Fund.

In addition, Southern supported the annual fundraising silent auction, reorganized the grant program, broadened a program to support student travel to the society’s annual legislative day and helped initiate the 2013 update of website descriptions and application forms. Southern also motivated members and grant awardees to write ASCLS Today articles describing the fund’s goals and accomplishments and led an annual roundtable presentation on grant applications.

The Mendelson award also recognizes Southern’s conception and development of the Carolinas Clinical Connection meeting, which brought together a coalition of medical laboratory science organizations in North and South Carolina in the early 1990s.

In addition, Southern has supported ASCLS nationally by serving as publications committee vice-chair, Hematology/Hemostasis Scientific Assembly vice-chair and chair and nominations committee member.

In support of the field, he has written book chapters, monographs and refereed journal articles. He also has conducted a lengthy and well-received series of presentations in the areas of hematology, hemostasis, clinical laboratory science education and adult outreach and continuing education.

“He has tirelessly promoted the profession to students, peers and the public, and has been a loyal supporter, member and leader in ASCLS throughout his career,” said Fritsma.

Before Southern’s retirement, he served four times as president of the North Carolina Society for Clinical Laboratory Science and received numerous honors, including awards from ASCLS such as the professional achievement in education award in 1985 and the professional achievement in hematology award in 1997. He received the society’s regional “Rebel Yell” award for meritorious service in 2004. Also, Southern was named ASCLS member of the year in 2006 at the state and national levels.

While serving on the faculty at WCU, Southern helped students apply for and receive ASCLS Education and Research Fund scholarships. The day before he received his most recent award, his wife, Kay, established a $1,500 undergraduate scholarship in his name to be given annually at the ASCLS national meeting.

Southern has been a Waynesville resident for 37 years.