Billy Smith and Trevor Douglas have been appointed as Letters and Science Distinguished Professors. The appointments were made in recognition of their contributions to the College, to MSU and to the scholarly community at large, said Dean Paula Lutz.

Billy Smith has taught in the Department of History and Philosophy at MSU since 1981. He is an accomplished academic who excels in both the classroom and in the research arena, with an exceptional record of publication. He helped redesign the Core courses required of all students at MSU.  His many honors include the James and Mary Ross Provost’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the Cox Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research, the Wiley Award for Research, and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Council of Learned Societies. Smith has published eight books, including a major encyclopedia of early American history.  He currently is writing Ship of Death: The Voyage that Changed the Atlantic World, to be published by National Geographic Books. In recognition of his scholarship, Smith was recently elected to the prestigious American Antiquarian Society, and simultaneously acclaimed as the best stand-up comedian among early American historians. 

Trevor Douglas, professor of chemistry in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, joined the MSU faculty in 2001. He is internationally recognized for his pioneering research in the field of nanoscience, or the science of controlling matter on an atomic and molecular scale. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University, and then went on to do postdoctoral research at Bath University in the UK. He has published over 115 scientific papers, and his research is routinely published in the most prestigious journals including "Science," "Nature," and the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Science." Douglas has secured several patents and provisional patents for MSU, and has done extraordinary work in fostering collaborative, interdisciplinary research at MSU.  He is a co-founder and current director of the Center for Bio-Inspired Nanomaterials, and has been involved in 25 funded grants with other MSU faculty.  He was the recipient of the University Merit Award for Research in 1999, and the Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching in 1996.