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Wake Forest honors alumni and faculty at Opening Convocation

September 18, 2008

Wake Forest University honored two alumni and two faculty members during Opening Convocation Sept. 18 in Wait Chapel.  The annual recognitions were made prior to a keynote address by David Lubin, Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art at Wake Forest.

President Nathan O. Hatch presented the Marcellus E. Waddill Excellence in Teaching Award to alumni Wendy Bartlett of Winston-Salem and Katherine O’Brien of Austin, Texas.  Each receives $20,000 with the award.

Bartlett graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics.  She has taught math at Parkland High School in Winston-Salem for 10 years.  Waddill Committee members noted her outstanding use of technology in the classroom, and how she integrated vocabulary into math lessons.  Bartlett spearheaded the effort to develop an International Baccalaureate program at Parkland and wrote a grant request for Federal Magnet School Assistance.  As a result, Parkland High School received more than $1 million for staff development, technology upgrades and curriculum materials.

O’Brien graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education.  O’Brien has been a teacher for seven years. She previously taught first grade at Asociacion Escuelas Lincoln in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and fourth-grade bilingual education at St. Elmo Elementary of the Austin Independent School District in Austin, Texas. She now teaches fourth grade bilingual classes at Becker Elementary School in Austin, and is working toward a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with a focus on bilingual education at the University of Texas at Austin.  Waddill Committee members were impressed with her method of integrating current events into daily lessons, and how well she connected with her students and their family situations. 

The Waddill Award was established in 1994 in honor of Marcellus E. Waddill, professor of mathematics from 1962 to 1997.  The award is given annually to one primary school teacher and one secondary school teacher in recognition of exemplary classroom teaching in public or private schools.  The award is one of the largest monetary awards of any teacher-recognition honor in the country.

Provost Jill Tiefenthaler presented the Donald O. Schoonmaker Faculty Award for Community Service to Paul M. Ribisl in recognition of his 34 years of service to Wake Forest and the surrounding communities.  Ribisl is the Charles E. Taylor Professor of Health and Exercise Science.  He chaired the health and exercise science department for 16 years and is currently serving as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  Ribisl began his career at Wake Forest in 1973.  Throughout the years, he served on numerous university committees, including three strategic planning committees.  He co-founded and directed the Wake Forest University Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, which helped thousands of cardiac patients in Winston-Salem and the surrounding communities.  The program is now located at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.  In 2006, Ribisl chaired the university’s record-breaking United Way campaign.  

The Donald O. Schoonmaker Faculty Award for Community Service was established in 1988 by the Wake Forest Alumni Council to recognize extraordinary community service of a respected teacher-scholar from the College or the Calloway School of Business and Accountancy.  The award was posthumously named in memory of Donald Schoonmaker, a professor of political science at Wake Forest.

Ribisl presented the Jon Reinhardt Award for Distinguished Teaching to James T. Powell, associate professor of classical languages.  Powell’s students, who nominated him for this award, characterized him as an intellectual giant who set exacting standards in the classroom, and whose passion for classical languages and respect for his students inspired them to find and follow their own life’s passion.  Powell’s devotion to teaching and students is reflected in other awards he has received at Wake Forest, including the award for Excellence in Advising in 2003, the Kulynych Family Omicron Delta Kappa Award for Contribution to Student Life in 2005, and the Student Government Excellence in Teaching Award in 2006.

The Reinhardt Award was established in 1986 in memory of Jon Reinhardt, a professor of political science at Wake Forest from 1964 until his death in 1984.  The award recognizes an experienced member of the faculty for his or her performance in the classroom, for exemplifying the ideals of a liberal arts education and for an enduring influence on his or her students. 

In addition, the Wake Forest Debate Team, winner of the 2008 National Debate Tournament, was recognized, as well as student members of the Judicial Council, the Honor and Ethics Council and the Board of Investigators and Advisors.

Press Contacts:

Audrey Fannin
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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