Inaugural Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor Of The Year Award Presented To Dr. Thomas Hanks

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Dr. Thomas Hanks receives the inaugural Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award from Dr. James M. Bennighof, professor of music theory and vice provost for academic administration, and Dr. David Jeffrey, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
April 14, 2004

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Baylor University today honored Dr. D. Thomas Hanks Jr., professor of English at Baylor since 1976, with the inaugural Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award during the annual Honors Convocation in Armstrong Browning Library.

The award will be presented on an annual basis to a Baylor faculty member who makes a superlative contribution to the learning environment at Baylor. The criteria include 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. As the recipient, Hanks will receive $20,000 and will present a public lecture on an academic topic of his choosing during the coming fall semester.

Members of the selection committee were Dr. James M. Bennighof, professor of music theory and vice provost for academic administration; Melissa A. Essary, professor of law; Dr. Joe B. Fulton, associate professor of English; Dr. Patricia M. Norman, assistant professor of management; and Dr. F. Ray Wilson, professor of biology.

Hanks earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Washington University (St. Louis) and his doctorate from the University of Minnesota. His publications include 24 articles (one re-published in an anthology), two edited books, one book on children's author Elaine Konigsburg, four notes, six reviews, numerous recordings in Middle English and in Early Modern English for The Chaucer Recording Studio, and numerous conference papers.

Hanks has been honored numerous times for his teaching, including recognition as the Collins Outstanding Professor 1997-98, Centennial Professor 1998-99, Student Congress Outstanding Faculty Member 2000-2001, and Mortar Board Distinguished Professor 2001 and 2002. He also was chosen as one of 10 'Distinguished Professors' at Baylor in 1983 and received Mortar Board's "Circle of Achievement" Award in 1983 and again in 1998.

"His several nominators pointed out that Tom Hanks is equally admired for graduate and undergraduate teaching," said Bennighof, who chaired the selection committee. "Dr. Hanks conveys an infectious joy in teaching and learning. He continues to develop new courses, often engages students in research efforts and is clearly interested in communicating with them on a personal level about his life and theirs."

Hanks is actively involved in his department and church and is known for his mentoring and collegial relationships with young faculty members at Baylor.

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.

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