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University of Utah Professors Presented with Student Choice Awards

April 17, 2002 — Passionate. Dedicated. Mentor. Supportive. Approachable. Knowledgeable. Caring. Encouraging. Thoughtful. Empathetic. Friend.

These words were used by University of Utah students to describe the eight professors honored at the U of U Student Choice Awards Tuesday evening. University President Bernie Machen feted the professors at the Rosenblatt House.

The Student Choice Awards were presented to Ron Bruhn, professor of geology; Ann Engar, associate instructor in undergraduate studies and in the Honor’s Program; Richard Ernst, professor of inorganic chemistry; Robert Goldberg, professor of history; William Gonzalez, professor of languages and literature; Dr. Richard Ingebretsen, professor of physics and an internist; Gabriel Lozada, associate professor of economics; and Edgar Thompson, professor of music and conductor of the U of U A Cappella Choir.

“These eight teachers are representative of the wonderful faculty at the University who inspire and invigorate thousands of students each year to make a meaningful impact on the community,” notes Rick Henriksen, ASUU academic affairs director. “This award recognizes these professors’ excellence in teaching.”

The Student Choice Awards are sponsored by the Associated Students of the University of Utah (ASUU) academic affairs board and were first presented in 1993. This year 40 instructors, regardless of tenure track, were nominated. Winners were selected based on a 500-word description of how the instructors influence students through the University’s mission of teaching, service and research. Members of the ASUU academic affairs board judged the entries.

In her nomination of Richard Ernst, biochemistry student Gretchen Domek wrote, “Faced with the formidable task of making chemistry interesting at 8:30 a.m. (not an easy thing to do!), he succeeded immensely . . . .He would frequently incorporate different demonstrations into the class that made chemistry fun. My personal favorite was the time he electrocuted a pickle to show us the color that sodium emits.”

Music student Steve Nelson wrote of Edgar Thompson: “His passion for what he teaches is infectious. His emphasis is not on his students learning the material and earning a diploma, but rather on his student living the material and transcending a diploma.”

According to Henriksen, “Just knowing that students recognize you in influencing them towards greatness is what every teacher wants.”