Six professors who have made a difference in both previous and current students’ lives were honored on Friday at the Best Teacher Awards Ceremony.
The 11th annual ceremony was sponsored by the Alumni Connection and the Student Alumni Connection (SAC) and honored teachers from a variety of disciplines.
Honorees included: Dr. Whitney Cranshaw of bioagricultural sciences and pest management; Dr. Nathalie Kees in the school of education; Deanna Ludwin in English; Dr. Marvin Paule in biochemistry and molecular biology; Dr. Dimitris Stevis in political science; and Dr. Don Zimmerman in technical journalism.
The Alumni Association Board of Directors Selections Committee narrowed a list of 247 online submissions in February. The committee included seven alumni and five current students involved in SAC.
“It is truly amazing the number of nominations generated each year,” said Marc Shkolnick, executive director of the alumni association and emcee for the evening.
Nominations consisted of responses to questions like “this teacher is/was important to me because.?” and examples of how the teacher had influenced the student both in and outside of the classroom.
Each of the winners and a guest were invited to attend the ceremony and eat a complimentary dinner in the LSC North Ballroom. They were joined by the students who nominated them, members of SAC and the Alumni Association as well as additional family and friends, some of which traveled from out of state for the occasion.
Each of the tables included centerpieces complete with index cards filled with compiled quotes from the nominations. The index cards sung the praises of the nominees and attested to the professionalism and ability to connect with students.
“Deanna (Ludwin) embodied everything I have come to love about CSU. I left CSU a more well-rounded, critical-thinking and creative person. Professors like Deanna were a substantial reason for that growth,” wrote alumnus Brian Cuzzolina.
Shkolnick began the awards presentation by introducing alumnus Matt Camper, who nominated Cranshaw.
Each recipient was introduced by the student who nominated him or her.
Camper described Cranshaw as having a “zest for.arthropods in general,” before beckoning him to the stage.
After accepting his small, round glass trophy, Cranshaw graciously thanked previous teachers who had inspired him as well as the current staff at CSU, as did the other recipients.
“I get to teach about insects,” he said. “And they’re so darn cute.”
Kees was introduced next by alumna Andrea Fortney, followed by Ludwin, introduced by alumna Lesa Alison-Hastings. Next was Paule, introduced by alumna Vanessa Fitzgerald, and Stevis who was brought to the stage by alumna Michelle Wellman.
“You never doubted that we could complete an assignment,” Wellman said of Stevis. “You transcended intellectual insecurities.we consider you a master teacher.”
Zimmerman was introduced by alumna Esther Walden, who rounded out the night by highlighting a role reversal. Instead of students being honored for achievements made possible by professors, Walden said, “tonight we are holding up a mirror for all of you to see your achievements.”
Marissa Hutton-Gavel can be reached at email@example.com