Finalists Selected for Baylor's $200,000 Cherry Award for Great Teaching

  • News Photo 4113
    Cherry Award finalist George Andrews.
  • News Photo 4110
    Cherry Award finalist Stephen Davis.
  • News Photo 4112
    Cherry Award finalist Rudy Pozzatti.
May 8, 2007

Three noted scholar/teachers have been selected as finalists for Baylor University's 2008 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, the single largest award given to an individual for exceptional teaching. The award winner, who will be announced in spring 2008, will receive $200,000 plus $25,000 for his or her home department and will teach in residence at Baylor during fall 2008 or spring 2009.

The three finalists are Dr. George E. Andrews, The Evan Pugh Professor of Mathematics at Pennsylvania State University; Dr. Stephen D. Davis, Distinguished Professor of Biology at Pepperdine University; and Rudy Pozzatti, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at the University of Indiana at Bloomington.

A member of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, Andrews received his bachelor's degree from Oregon State University and his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been a member of the Penn State faculty since 1964.

Andrews is a renowned authority on the work of the late mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan and the theory of partitions combined, number theory, partitions and the calculus-reform movement. He is the author or coauthor of more than 250 papers published in scholarly journals, the author of four mathematics textbooks and the editor of three books on various topics in mathematics.

Andrews was elected to the National Academy in 2003. He also is a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Gugenheim Fellow. Additionally, he has been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Parma (Italy) in 1998, from the University of Florida in 2002, and from the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) in 2004.

Davis received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Abilene Christian University. He earned his doctorate from Texas A&M, where he also worked as an instructor in botany. He joined the faculty at Pepperdine in 1974.

Much of Davis's research centers on plant physiological ecology or the ability of plants to adapt to fire, freezing and drought. He has written numerous book chapters and scholarly articles for such publications at Nature, the American Journal of Botany, the International Journal of Plant Science and Ecology.

In 2002, Davis was awarded a three-year, $300,000 grant to study chaparral, the most abundant native plant life in Southern California. The award represented the largest NSF grant to ever be awarded to Pepperdine. That same year he was named Pepperdine Professor of the Year.

Davis also served as Harriet and Charles Luckman Distinguished Teaching Fellow from 1990-1995; as a visiting scholar at the University of Utah, UCLA and Stanford University; and is a member of Golden Key national honor society and Phi Sigma biological sciences honor society.

Legendary printmaker Pozzatti was born in Telluride, Colo., and began studying art at the University of Colorado. However, World War II interrupted his education. During the war, he served under Gen. George Patton and was part of the Battle of the Bulge. After his military service, he returned to Colorado, where he earned his bachelor and master's degrees.

Pozzatti's works hang in some of the best-known art collections in the United States, including the Art Institute of Chicago, New York City's Museum of Modern Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the National Gallery of Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. On an international level, his works have been exhibited at the Museum of Art in Sydney, Australia, the Puskin Museum in Moscow, Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris and the Toronto Museum of Art.

He is a former recipient of a Fulbright grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a U.S. State Department Cultural Exchange Grant and two Ford grants, among others. He was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1981 and won the Indiana Governor's Art Award that same year. His printmaking work also has been the subject of the book Rudy Pozzatti by Norman Geske and a public television documentary.

The Cherry Award program is designed to honor great teachers, to stimulate discussion in the academy about the value of teaching and to encourage departments and institutions to value their own great teachers. Individuals nominated for the award should have a proven record as an extraordinary teacher with a positive, inspiring and long-lasting effect on students, along with a record of distinguished scholarship.

The award was created by Robert Foster Cherry, who earned his A.B. from Baylor in 1929. He enrolled in the Baylor Law School in 1932 and passed the Texas State Bar Examination the following year. With a deep appreciation for how his life had been changed by significant teachers, he made an exceptional estate bequest to establish the Cherry Award program to recognize excellent teachers and bring them in contact with Baylor University students. The first Robert Foster Cherry Award was made in 1991 and has since been awarded biennially.

The Cherry finalists each will receive $15,000 and will present a series of lectures at Baylor during the fall. Each will present a Cherry Award Lecture on their home campuses during the upcoming academic year. The home department of the finalists also will receive $10,000 to foster the development of teaching skills.

For more information, contact Linda McGregor at (254) 710-2923 or visit www.baylor.edu/cherry_awards.

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