MU awarded five professors with the 2019 William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence on Monday and Tuesday.
Jennifer Fellabaum-Toston, associate teaching professor of education leadership and policy analysis, and Brian Silvey, associate professor of music education in the MU School of Music and director of bands, were the first to receive the fellowship on Monday.
Botswana Blackburn, professor of health science in the MU School of Health Professionals, Donald Meyer, professor of marketing in the Trulaske College of Business, and Peter Motavalli, professor of soil nutrition management in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources received the fellowship on Tuesday.
The Kemper Fellowship was established in 1991 with a $500,000 gift from Kemper, a 1926 MU graduate, was a well-known civic leader in Kansas City until his death in 1989. His 52-year career in banking included top positions at banks in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Commerce Bank manages the trust fund, according to the MU News Bureau.
The professors each received a $10,000 check.
Provost Latha Ramchand, College of Education Dean Kathryn Chval, and Steve Sowers, president and CEO of the central and eastern Missouri region of Commerce Bank, presented the award to Fellabaum-Toston.
MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright; Sowers; Julia Gaines, MU School of Music director; and a group of professors, administrators and staff surprised Silvey while he was in rehearsal with the Wind Ensemble.
The final three professors were presented the fellowship on Tuesday by Cartwright, Ramchand and Sowers, who surprised the recipients in their classrooms.
Silvey, who was the second person to receive the fellowship, described his initial reaction as shock, disbelief and out-of-body bizarre.
“It just seemed so weird,” Silvey said. “You often have people coming in and out the classroom, but you certainly don’t have cameras and a huge horde of people supporting you.”
Silvey also said he felt very fortunate to work with amazing faculty and wonderful mentors.
“My success is largely due to other people’s successes and their help,” Silvey said. “I feel that is important to know when someone receives an award, it is just not that person being spectacular. It is that person being able to do their job and because everyone else works so hard as well.”
This is the 29th year that professors have been awarded the fellowship.
Edited by Emily Wolf | email@example.com