New UNT Inspiration Awards encourage student creativity

Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 14:20

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- The University of North Texas will honor student creativity with the first-ever Sherman/Barsanti Inspiration Awards, made possible by a $350,000 gift from donors Bob and Bette Sherman.

UNT faculty and staff members can nominate students for the awards online through Feb. 1, 2014. Winners will be announced at the annual UNT Alumni Awards dinner on April 11, 2014. First prize is $10,000, second prize is $3,000 and third prize is $1,000.

The award is unique in that it is open to any full-time UNT student with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, regardless of their field of study. Any original student project, application, invention, musical or literary composition, or artwork in any media may be nominated.

“The Sherman/Barsanti Inspiration Awards are intended to encourage students of outstanding talent to pursue their creative, intellectual and professional inclinations by demonstrating the product of their ideas,” said Nancy Hong, executive director of UNT’s Innovation Greenhouse, which is administering the awards.

A selection committee will narrow the entries down to five finalists. The finalists will present their work to a panel of judges selected by and including the university president. The finalists will be announced in February, and the winners will be presented at the annual UNT Alumni Awards dinner.

Longtime UNT supporters Bob and Bette Sherman gave the university $350,000 to establish the awards. The awards are named to honor the Shermans and Bette’s late father, Maj. Gen. Olinto Mark Barsanti, whose historic military artifacts are part of the UNT Libraries archive.

“Students need to be encouraged to think outside the box,” Bob Sherman said. “Great ideas emerge when we give them freedom to explore and create. This award is designed to honor the pioneers of every discipline who are willing to take the kind of risks that lead to discovery and transformation.”

Only UNT faculty members and staff can nominate students for their work. Students cannot nominate themselves or others.

For more information about the criteria and eligibility for the Sherman/Barsanti Inspiration Awards, go to

To learn more about how philanthropic support is transforming UNT or to make a gift visit



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