History Professor Honored With Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award

  • News Photo 4442
    (L to R) - Dr. James Bennighof and Dr. Wallace Daniel
    (Baylor Photography/Matthew Minard)
  • News Photo 4443
    Dr. Wallace Daniel
    (Baylor Photography/Matthew Minard)
April 18, 2008

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275

Baylor University honored Dr. Wallace L. Daniel Jr., The Ralph L. and Bessie Mae Lynn Professor of History, with the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award, presented during the annual Honors Convocation April 16 in Barfield Drawing Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center.

"I am greatly honored and also humbled by the Cornelia Marschall Smith teaching award," Daniel said. "But a person never stands apart from the many people who have contributed to who we are and what we become. I can only think of the several thousand students whom I have had the privilege of teaching and of being part of a lively community of learners at Baylor. The department of history into which I came many years ago has always been a wonderful, creative, and sustaining group of faculty, as have faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences and in the entire university."

The annual award is presented to a Baylor faculty member who makes a superlative contribution to the learning environment at Baylor. As this year's recipient, Daniel will receive $20,000 and will present a public lecture on an academic topic of his choosing during the coming fall semester.

The criteria for the award includes:

    teaching, which is judged to be of the highest order of intellectual acumen and pedagogical effectiveness,
    research, which is recognized as outstanding by the national and international, as well as local, community of scholars, and
    service, which is regarded as exemplary in building the character of intellectual community at Baylor.

"Wallace Daniel's scholarly work is substantial and well-recognized in his discipline," said Dr. James Bennighof, vice provost for academic affairs and policy and professor of music theory at Baylor. "His students have found his teaching deeply inspiring and thought-provoking, many to the point at which it has provided crucial guidance in their choice of vocation. Further, the effects of his administrative leadership and the wide variety of programs that he has initiated and championed will be felt at Baylor for generations."

"Baylor is a community that has held for me the highest ideals of service to others, and the greatest gift of all is to have been a part of it," Daniel said.

A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Daniel is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned a bachelor's degree in economics with honors in 1964 and a doctorate in history in 1973. An historian specializing in early modern and contemporary Russian and European history, Daniel joined the Baylor faculty in 1971 as an assistant professor of history, and was later named associate professor, professor, director of Soviet and East European Studies and director of the Honors Program. Daniel served four years as chair of the department of history before being appointed as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1996. He led Baylor's largest academic unit for nine years, returning to research and teaching in August 2005. Earlier this year, Daniel announced that he will join Mercer University as provost in July.

As an academic, Daniel has been named a Fulbright scholar three times: in 1969-70 as part of the official U.S.-Soviet Union Educational and Cultural Exchange Program in Moscow and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg); in 1979 for additional study in Moscow and Helsinki, Finland; and in 1996-97 for research in Moscow and Oxford University on "Religion and Democracy in Post-Communist Russia," one of only two funded studies at the time concerning all of Eastern Europe and Russia.

He is the author of the biography G.N. Teplov: A Statesman at the Court of Catherine the Great and The Orthodox Church and Civil Society in Russia. His articles on the intellectual and social history of Russia are published in Russian Review; The Slavonic and East European Review; Canadian-American Slavic Studies; and Religion, State and Society, among others. He also has been working on an intellectual biography of Father Aleksandr Men'.

A 1918 Baylor biology graduate, Dr. Cornelia Marschall Smith earned a master's degree from the University of Chicago and her doctorate from Johns Hopkins. She was a Baylor professor of biology from 1940-67, chair of the biology department from 1943-67, and director of Strecker Museum from 1943-67. Smith retired in 1967, but maintained an office in Armstrong Browning Library to assist charitable causes. In 1980, Baylor honored Smith with an endowed chair known as the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professorship in Biology. She passed away Aug. 27, 1997, at the age of 101.

Previous recipients of the award include Dr. D. Thomas Hanks Jr., professor of English and Master Teacher; Dr. Robert M. Baird, professor of philosophy and Master Teacher; Dr. Kevin G. Pinney, professor of chemistry; and Dr. Ann E. Rushing, professor and associate chair of biology.

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