Anton Armstrong, conductor of the famed St. Olaf Choir, has been named recipient of the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching -- the single largest award given to an individual for quality teaching.
Armstrong, the Harry R. and Thora H. Tosdal Professor of Music at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, will receive $200,000 plus $25,000 for his home department and will teach in residence at Baylor during the 2007 spring semester and first summer session.
"The committee reviewed 86 completed nominations that represented 68 colleges and universities and 46 disciplines," said Cherry Award selection committee chair Heidi J. Hornik, professor of art history. "Although the three finalists were all extremely strong, the committee selected Dr. Anton Armstrong by a large majority."
"I feel most overwhelmed by the honor Baylor University has bestowed upon me, for this award does not simply affirm my vocation to serve others through my teaching," Armstrong said. "It also recognizes all the wonderful family, teachers, mentors, students and singers who have touched my life and nurtured this calling in me through the years. I will strive to bring the best of my gifts as a teacher, artist and man of faith to the Baylor University community while in residence."
Armstrong received a bachelor's of music in vocal performance from St. Olaf College, a master's degree in choral music from the University of Illinois and a doctorate in choral conducting from Michigan State University. After serving on the faculty at Calvin College, Armstrong returned to St. Olaf in 1990. During Armstrong's tenure as conductor, the choir has recorded 11 CDs and traveled worldwide.
Robert Foster Cherry, BA '29, JD '32, established the biennial Cherry Award in 1991. Between award years, the three Cherry finalists speak at Baylor and receive $15,000 each, plus $10,000 for their home departments.
In addition to Armstrong, the other Cherry finalists were William Cook, Distinguished Teaching Professor of History at State University of New York at Geneseo, and Robert Brown, Institute Professor in the physics department at Case Western Reserve.