Tracy L. Cross started the fall 2009 semester with a new job and the surprise of a lifetime.
Cross, William & Mary's new Jody & Layton Smith Professor and executive director of the Center for Gifted Education, was awarded the Mensa Education & Research Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award during a surprise presentation at a recent School of Education meeting.
According to the foundation, the award is presented to individuals who have "contributed a lifetime to scholarly pursuits in intelligence, giftedness or creativity." Since its inception in 1999, only seven individuals, including Cross, have received the award.
The foundation chose Cross for the award because of his "dedication to research in the field of gifted students over the span of 15 years," according to a press release.
During his career, Cross has become "the most active researcher in the world on the suicidal behavior of gifted students," the release said. He has written five books on the topic, and he has served as the editor of every research journal in the field of gifted education.
"The innovative research of Dr. Cross sheds light on an important issue, suicidal behavior, in the realm of gifted students," said Greg Timmers, president of the Mensa Education & Research Foundation. "He has worked tirelessly for the past 15 years in the area of intelligence and gifted students, which is the forefront focus of the Mensa Foundation. Dr. Cross deserves this award and we look forward to his future research."
Cross comes to William & Mary from Ball State University, where he served since 1997, beginning as a professor of psychology at the school's Teachers College. In 2000, he became the George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Gifted Studies and held that title throughout the rest of his tenure at the college.
While at Ball State, Cross also created and served as director of the doctoral program in educational psychology, executive director of the Institute for Research on the Psychology of Gifted Students and associate dean for graduate studies, research and assessment.
Prior to his work at Ball State, Cross worked as the executive director of the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities-a state-supported, residential school for academically gifted adolescents.