Gary King (Harvard University)
Selection committee: Jacob Montgomery (Washington University in St. Louis, Chair), Nahomi Ichinio (University of Michigan), Chad Hazlett (UCLA)
The Excellence in Mentoring Award Committee is pleased to announce Gary King as the 2019 SPM Excellence in Mentoring Award recipient. As the letters nominating him make clear, Gary has recruited, mentored, and promoted a remarkable number of talented methods scholars in his career. It is notable that several of the other scholars nominated for this award are themselves Gary's students (and wrote on his behalf).
The committee received 20 nominating letters for Gary, and several important themes jumped out. The most prominent theme is how much time he gives students. A typical comment was, "For somebody involved in as many projects and with as many students as Gary, what stands out the most to me is his generosity with his time." Many noted that his (literal) open door policy extended far beyond his advisees to students and faculty across fields seeking his advice.
A second common theme was advice ("Garyisms") that is not only insightful, but designed to build students up and pass on Gary's excitement for research. One is, “You can climb mountains, have adventures, but you’ll never match the feeling you’ll get when you discover something new through research." Another is, “I keep my office door open and good ideas walk in every day.” Responding to a student who was hesitant to 'bother' him with questions, he said, "Don’t do that. Every time you come to my office I learn something new so you’re denying me the opportunity to learn new things."
Importantly, Gary has mentored a number of scholars who have significantly diversified the field. As one letter noted, he "has not only mentored some of the top scholars in the discipline, but he has shown tremendous commitment in furthering the careers of women and scholars of color and has worked tirelessly to make methodology accessible to a broader set of scholars." She goes on, "Gary co-authors and mentors a wide, diverse set of young scholars not only because he thinks it's the right thing to do for these individuals, but also because he is a true methods evangelist -- someone who believes that rigorous methodology should not be reserved for a narrow, elite cadre but instead be a part of every applied scholar's toolkit."