Marcia Gentry to posthumously receive 2022 Aday Award for breaking barriers for gifted children

The late Marcia Gentry is being honored with the Lu Ann Aday Award on April 6. She was a professor of gifted, talented, and creative studies in the Department of Educational Studies and executive director of the Gifted Education Research and Resource Institute (GER2I) within the College of Education. She passed away in August 2022.

Gentry, who peers characterize as an “accomplished, engaged and impactful scholar,” created a groundbreaking tool for teachers nationwide called the HOPE Scale, which identifies multiple academic and social components of giftedness and talent in elementary-aged students. The scale’s various measures, widely regarded as pioneering, are seen as critical in the effort to overcome longstanding cultural, economic and linguistic inequities in identifying gifted students.

Most recently, Gentry contributed to what colleagues refer to as the most comprehensive report ever done on representation in gifted programs by race, income and location, using census data from 2000, 2012, 2014 and 2016. It provided a detailed report card for every state, citing inequities for students of color and students attending schools in poor neighborhoods. It also outlined practical recommendations for dealing with verifiable calls of elitism, classism, racism and segregation.

Gentry frequently received recognition for high achievement during her 18 years at Purdue. She was given an Outstanding Faculty Engagement Award in 2018, an Outstanding Graduate Faculty Mentor Award in 2019 and the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Faculty Scholarship in both 2012 and 2020. She also received national awards from professional organizations such as the National Association for Gifted Children’s (NAGC) Distinguished Scholar Award and its Palmarium Award, which is given to an individual “most exemplifying the vision of a future in which giftedness will be understood, embraced and systematically nurtured throughout the nation and the world.”

In 2021, she received the Legacy Scholar Award from the NAGC Conceptual Foundations Network, and in 2022 she received the NAGC President’s Award for pioneering and continued leadership in the field of gifted education. Her work also was frequently cited in prominent media outlets such as the Houston Chronicle, Kansas City Star, Miami Herald, U.S. News and World Report, and Education Week.

The Lu Ann Aday Award was established in 2017 by Purdue alumna Lu Ann Aday, the Lorne D. Bain Distinguished Professor Emerita in Public Health and Medicine at the University of Texas School of Public Health Houston. It annually recognizes a member of the Purdue faculty who has made a major impact in the humanities and social sciences. Recipients are nominated by colleagues, recommended by a faculty committee and approved by the executive vice president for research and the university president.

A lecture, “The legacy of Marcia Gentry: excellence, equity and talent development,” will be given by Gentry’s colleagues, Nielsen Pereira, associate professor of educational studies and interim co-director of GER2I, and Kristen Seward, clinical associate professor of educational studies and fellow GER2I interim co-director. The public is invited to this lecture and others that will begin a 3 p.m. on April 6 in the North Ballroom of the Purdue Memorial Union.