Campus: San Bernardino -- August 15, 2006

CSUSB'S Connolly named inaugural winner of new astronomy award

California State University, San Bernardino physics professor Leo Connolly has been named the winner of the first Richard H. Emmons Award for Excellence in College Astronomy Teaching by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Connolly, who in August was appointed associate dean of the university's College of Arts and Letters, has been coordinator of the interdisciplinary liberal studies program in the College of Arts and Letters since 2001 and has also served as chair of the CSUSB physics department. He'll receive the Emmons Award at the ASP's 2006 annual meeting and national conference on astronomy education in Baltimore on Sept. 17.

"This new award celebrates outstanding and continuing achievement in the teaching of college-level introductory astronomy for non-science majors," said ASP Executive Director Michael Bennett. "The awards committee was unanimous in selecting Dr. Connolly from a nationwide group of very distinguished nominees."

The Richard H. Emmons Award recognizes and celebrates outstanding achievement in teaching of college-level astronomy for non-science majors. The award citation reads in part, "Dr. Leo Connolly has devoted his life to science education in astronomy and physics, as a teacher for over 32 years, an observatory director for six years, a fundraiser, writer, public speaker and mentor to students and faculty at seven institutions of higher learning."

Connolly has taught introductory astronomy courses for non-science majors and has delivered hundreds of presentations to amateur astronomy clubs, service clubs and other groups. He also has organized many public sky-watching events of phenomena such as eclipses and meteor showers. In 1995, the International Astronomical Union recognized him by naming asteroid "1988 LC 6479 Leo Connolly," in honor of his contributions to science education.

The Richard H. Emmons Award was inspired by a gift from Jeanne Bishop and her husband, Allan, in honor of her father Richard Emmons. A well-known Ohio astronomy educator in her own right, Bishop wished to honor her father - an astronomer with a life-long dedication to astronomy education - by creating an annual award that recognizes and celebrates outstanding achievement in the teaching of college-level introductory astronomy for non-science majors.

Connolly is serving as a consultant in the university's efforts to build a state-of-the-art observatory just north of the campus on Little Badger Hill. The project is planned to feature two observatory towers, facilities for astronomy equipment and an array of instrumentation for laboratories and research to complement both telescopes.

Founded in 1889 in San Francisco, the ASP is one of the nation's leading organizations devoted to improving people's understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of astronomy and space. The ASP's education programs are funded by its own members, corporations, private foundations, NASA and the National Science Foundation.

For more information about the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, call (415) 337-1100 or visit For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, call the university's public affairs office at (909) 537-5007 and visit

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