June 24, 2022

Cancer Biology Graduate Program’s Larry Matherly, Ph.D. wins outstanding graduate director accolade

Wayne State University School of Medicine Professor of Oncology Larry Matherly, Ph.D., was honored recently with one of only three Outstanding Graduate Director Service Awards given by the WSU Office of the Provost and the Graduate School. 

Larry Matherly, Ph.D.​​​​​

Dr. Matherly, director of the School of Medicine’s and Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute Cancer Biology Graduate Program since 2010, was surprised and “genuinely flattered,” to be recognized, he said.

The program hosts approximately 30 students in various years at all times.

An outstanding graduate director must have empathy and a willingness to listen, Dr. Matherly said.

“You have to be a cheerleader, as an important part of the job involves motivating students from a range of backgrounds in spite of the challenges and disappointments that are part of a career in cancer research,” he added.

The annual award highlights the important service by graduate directors in advancing graduate education in their programs. It is one of several awards given at the Academic Recognition Ceremony to celebrate outstanding achievements of faculty, academic staff and graduate students.

Dr. Matherly’s favorite aspect of his program director position is seeing students grow as scientists during the program’s four- to five-year length, then watching them move on with their careers.

“While this is obviously bittersweet, it’s what we are here to do. I never cease to be impressed with how talented our students in Cancer Biology are. They are on par with students from any institution in the country and continue to move on to positions at the top institutions in the United States,” he said.

While this is the first time Dr. Matherly has received the award, he is no stranger to accolades given by WSU leadership. The Eunice and Milt Ring Endowed Chair for Cancer Research since 2016, he received the School of Medicine’s Teaching Award in 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015, as well as the President’s Exceptional Service Award in 2001, among others.

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