Working diligently and effectively to establish and maintain good relations between SACUA and the Universitys executive officers, Professor Ness provided opportunities for discussion and exchange of ideas. He made every effort to provide members of the University faculty community the information they needed to make reasoned judgments on governance issues. Professor Ness also played a major role in developing the facultys statement of rights and responsibilities and was instrumental in Senate Assemblys efforts to establish the Davis, Markert, Nickerson Annual Senate Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom.
In the Department of Sociology, Professor Ness twice served as associate chair, laying the foundation for many of the practices and procedures that are still in use. His passion for fairness and equity, combined with his deep and abiding empathy for students, have left an unmistakable imprint on the departments graduate program.
Professor Ness has played a crucial role in establishing Michigan as a major center of Southeast Asian studies and did much to ensure continued external financial support. He directed the Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies for three years and later co-founded the Southeast Asia Business Program. Professor Ness also has played an important role in the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), the premier learned society dealing with Asia. He helped organize the Southeast Asia Committee and served on the AAS Board of Directors.
The University at large also has benefited from Professor Ness generous spirit and commitment to service. He served on the Universitys Commission for Women and the executive committees of the Center for Research on Economic Development and the Global Change Project. When Professor Ness chaired the Board for Student Publications, he led the board through a time of reorganization and transition to a new stability.
Professor Ness is a person of uncommon decency and selfless dedication to whatever service task presents itself, always performing the assignment with grace, wisdom, and to the best of his ability. He is that rare leader who recognizes the value of listening and lends a quiet dignity to whatever role he occupies. For his years of outstanding service to the University, its faculty, and students, the University is pleased to award its Distinguished Faculty Governance Award.