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Cherry Awards recognize outstanding educators

Sept. 27, 1996

Awards believed to be largest monetary teaching rewards in the United States

By Neal Suit

Lariat Reporter

In an effort to honor great teachers from around the English-speaking world, Baylor awarded Alan Paul Haskvitz and Dr. Clare Woodward the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching. The Cherry Awards Banquet was Thursday evening in the Barfield Drawing Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center.

Haskvitz, a master social studies teacher from Walnut, Calif., and Woodward, a biochemistry professor from St. Paul, Minn. will split $25,000 and are required to present a series of lectures at the University.

Haskvitz, who teaches history and is the Social Studies Department Head at Suzanne Middle School in Alta Loma, Calif., is the first middle school teacher to receive the award. He is the only history teacher to receive the national award for best teaching and best methods from the National Council for Social Studies.

'It is a great honor [for Haskvitz] that for the first time this award is not being given to a university or college professor,' President Robert B. Sloan Jr. said.

In more than 20 years of teaching, Haskvitz has received more than 30 national awards for teaching and innovation in the classroom.

According to a press release, Haskvitz's classes have accomplished such feats as devising a plan to save Los Angeles more than 23 million gallons of water a year. His students rewrote the voting rules for the county of Los Angeles, which was accepted by the Registrar of Voters.

Haskvitz, fulfilling his lecture requirement, has served for the past week as a guest teacher-in-residence for the Baylor School of Education.

Woodward, a biochemistry professor at the University of Minnesota since 1970, is known for her discoveries in hydrogen isotope exchange in proteins and protein dynamics. Woodward will present her lecture series at Baylor in February.

'We seldom know the inner effect we have on students [as teachers], but we hope that we expose them to true scholarship,' Woodward said.

Woodward thanked her mother for the influence and motivation to become a scientist at the awards ceremony. Both of Woodward's parents attended Baylor back in the 1920s.

'I was especially influenced by my mother...to become a scientist and a teacher,' Woodward said. 'I understand that Baylor left a life-long imprint on my mother, and through her, me.'

Woodward helped design the undergraduate curriculum for Minnesota's biochemistry department according to a press release and is known for her efforts in helping women and black students prepare for science careers.

At the awards ceremony, Mike Morrison, law professor and mayor of Waco, presented both recipients with a key to the city.

The Cherry Awards for Great Teaching was made possible by a donation from the late Robert Foster Cherry, who received a bachelor's and law degree from Baylor.

Cherry helped to found both the Cherry Award for Great Teaching and the Cherry Chair for Distinguished Teaching, which are given on an alternating annual basis. The recipient of the Cherry Chair for Distinguished Teaching will receive $100,000 and will present a series of lecture at Baylor in the fall and then return to teach in residence for the spring.

The awards are believed to be the largest monetary teaching awards in the United States.

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