(Left to right:) Texas A&M faculty Mark T. Holtzapple, Cynthia K. Boettcher and Nicholas B. Suntzeff were honored October 16 as recipients of the 2013 Bush Excellence Awards for public service, international teaching and international research, respectively.


Nicholas B. Suntzeff, university distinguished professor of physics and astronomy at Texas A&M University, has been recognized as one of three faculty recipients of 2013 Bush Excellence Awards for international teaching, international research and public service.

Suntzeff, who was honored for his excellence in international research, received the prestigious award along with co-recipients Cynthia K. Boettcher (international teaching), assistant department head and clinical professor of teaching, learning and culture in the College of Education and Human Development, and Mark T. Holtzapple (public service), professor of chemical engineering in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering in the Dwight Look College of Engineering.

The trio was celebrated Wednesday (Oct. 16) at a dinner hosted by Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin and the Texas A&M International Advisory Board.

Texas A&M Executive Vice President and Provost Karan Watson and George Bush Presidential Library Foundation Chief Executive Officer Frederick McClure presented each recipient with a plaque and a check for $2,000 during the awards program dinner.

"It is an honor to recognize these outstanding faculty at Texas A&M with Bush Excellence Awards," McClure said. "Through their work, they are equipping students with global competencies, exploring the international dimensions of their disciplines and preserving our environment for future generations. We congratulate Drs. Boettcher, Suntzeff and Holtzapple on receiving this prestigious honor."

Suntzeff, a member of the George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy and holder of the Mitchell-Munnerlyn-Heep Chair in Observational Astronomy, has served since 2006 as director of the Texas A&M astronomy program. He was appointed as a university distinguished professor in 2013.

Suntzeff is well-known for his research on dwarf galaxies and exploding stars and their use as indicators of the distance scale of the universe. These distance derivations showed results which uncovered the acceleration of the universe, which was honored as Science magazine's 1998 "Breakthrough of the Year." His work on exploding stars with an international team of three other scientists resulted in papers written in a three-year span from 1994 to 1996 that are still highly cited and actually began the field of supernova cosmology.

In addition, Suntzeff was the founder of one of the international teams that made one of the most important discoveries in the history of astrophysics: the detection of dark energy. His work directly contributed to the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2011. His nominator said that "the full appreciation and understanding of the impact of dark energy and associate cosmology will be the topic of physics research for much of the next century."

The Bush Excellence Awards were established through the vision and support of President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush in 2002, with financial assistance from the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation. Since that time, 36 awards have been presented to Texas A&M faculty, including Texas A&M physicist M. Suhail Zubairy in 2011.

To learn more about the program or view recipients from previous years, visit http://intlcenter.tamu.edu/content/bush-excellence-awards-faculty.


Contact: Linda Edwards, (979) 862-6700

Edwards Linda

  • Nicholas B. Suntzeff

    Dr. Nicholas B. Suntzeff co-founded the High-Z Supernova Search Team that co-discovered dark energy -- and consequently the universe's acceleration -- in 1998, a finding honored as "Science" magazine's "Scientific Breakthrough of the Year" for 1998 and with the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. (Credit: Jean Wulfson, Texas A&M Division of Research.)

© Texas A&M University. To request use of any of our photographs for educational use or to view additional options from our archive, please contact the College of Science Communications Office.

College of Science
517 Blocker
TAMU 3257 | 979-845-7361
Site Policies
Contact Webmaster
Social Media