Health & Human Performance’s Steven Furney named Piper Professor

By Kristina Kenney
University News Service
May 2, 2012

Steven Furney

Steven Furney

Steven R. Furney, university distinguished professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance at Texas State University-San Marcos, has been named Piper Professor for 2012 by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation.

Furney was named Piper Professor on May 1 in honor of his dedication and service to teaching at the collegiate level. Piper Foundation honorees are chosen by committee members who look for well-rounded, outgoing teachers, devoted to their profession and have made a special impact on their students and the community.

“I am teaching for two basic reasons: I love to teach, and I have a passion to improve the lives of my students,” Furney said. “I grew up in a home where both of my parents were life long teachers. Although they passed away when I was in my early 20s, they had a significant influence on my desire and interest to become a teacher. I could not imagine doing anything that would give me the joy and fulfillment that teaching has provided for me the past thirty-six years. Teaching at Texas State University allows me the opportunity to impact students’ lives, and I feel that is most important contribution I can make to the next generation of leaders.

“Being selected as a 2012 Piper Professor at Texas State University is a huge honor,” he said. “This university has a strong tradition of excellent teaching and I am pleased to be able to represent this institution as our newest Piper Professor. I am the 19th Piper Professor from Texas State. It is a humbling experience to join such a group of fine educators. I am certain that with the emphasis Texas State University places on teaching and the pool of talented faculty that we have here, there will be many more Piper Professors to add to our list.”

A member of the Texas State faculty since 1980, Furney began as an assistant professor in the College of Health Professions and has since held the titles of associate professor, professor and university distinguished professor in the college. He has also served as director of health education and graduate coordinator since 1994. In addition to teaching, he is also in charge of the Community Health/Fitness Internship Program.

Furney adds his Piper Professor designation to a prestigious list of accolades including the Texas State Everett Swinney Teaching Award, University Distinguished Professor Award, numerous awards from the American and Texas Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, favorite professor awards from student organizations and numerous other honors and recognitions for his teaching.

Furney earned his B.S. in health, physical education and biology from Texas A&M University in 1975, his master’s in health education from the University of Houston in 1976, his Ed.D. in school health from the University of Tennessee in 1980 and a master’s in public health and epidemiology from the University of Texas School of Public Health in 1983.

Furney is the 19th overall Texas State professor to be named a Piper Professor. Other Texas State Piper Professors have been Emmie Craddock, 1962, history; Robert Galvan, 1968, modern languages; Thomas Brasher, 1970, English; Dan Farlow, 1975, political science; Clarence Schultz, 1976, sociology; Henrietta Avent, 1979, health and physical education; Robert Walts, 1982, English; Beverly Chiodo, 1988, computer information systems and administrative sciences; Barbara Hatcher, 1993, curriculum and instruction; Michael John Hennessy, 2001, English; Nancy Fehl Chavkin, 2002, social work; Paul Nathan Cohen, 2003, English; James David Bell, 2004, business; Byron Dale Augustin, 2005, geography; Christopher Frost, 2006, psychology; James Housefield, 2007, art history; Brock Brown, 2008, geography; and Max Warshauer, 2010, mathematics.