The Reach of Our Faculty
May 01, 2014
The National Book Awards and the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The American Association for the Advancement of Science. The National Endowment for the Humanities. The Fulbright Scholars Program.
These are just some of the prestigious entities that in the last few months alone have recognized the distinguished work of our faculty. The respective professors honored include Mary Szybist (English), Gary Reiness (biology), Andrew Bernstein (history) and Nicholas Smith (philosophy), and Moriah Bostian (economics).
Our faculty earn national accolades for their distinction in teaching, for their advanced research, and for their creative endeavors. They are also known for strengthening our local and regional communities, especially in education, counseling, and the law. They are the media’s go-to experts for analysis and insight on critical issues and breaking news. They are, simply stated, impressive to the world well beyond Palatine Hill.
But I can’t help thinking about the everyday effect they have here on campus—about the many, many times students and alumni from all three of our schools tell me about the great influence professors have had on their lives and careers.
Gratitude and recognition are expressed in many ways. Sometimes it’s a letter or an email, sometimes it’s a handshake or a hug at a reunion. And sometimes it’s through financial support: Not long ago, law school alumni endowed a professorship honoring Ed Brunet, a distinguished faculty member for more than four decades.
And recently entrepreneur Lorry Lokey made a gift to establish the Faculty Excellence Awards in the College of Arts and Sciences. What a joy it was to gather in April to recognize Kellar Autumn (biology), Rebecca Copenhaver (philosophy), and Katherine FitzGibbon (music).
What is the impact of the close collaboration our students have with such outstanding professors?
In the last 10 years, our students have received more Barry Goldwater Scholarships than students at any other college or university in Oregon. This year alone, our graduating students and young alumni have received 11 Fulbright Awards, and another student has become a Truman Scholar. And according to a recent survey of young alumni who reported receiving an advanced degree, 89 percent said they felt better prepared for their program than their peers from other schools.
My faculty colleagues make a difference in the lives of our students in daily ways and in ways that lead to a lifetime of success. The external validation our students and professors receive proves that. But what I enjoy most are the stories that alumni tell me about their treasured teachers and mentors. This is why we do what we do.