Willamette University Presents Outstanding Teaching Awards

During the Feb. 1st Founders Day activities to celebrate the 160 birthday of Willamette University, an elite group of scholars was recognized for exemplary teaching skills. Among those singled out for high honors was Loren Wenz, choir instructor at South Salem High School since 1981.

Nominated by Willamette students who studied under him at South, Wenz is recognized nationally for his advanced choir group, The Southernaires. This ensemble has won countless local, state and national competitions, including seven consecutive titles at the Northwest Vocal Jazz Festival. Currently the choir is enjoying its third straight year as state champions.

John Wiscombe, president of Music Celebrations International and organizer of the National Festival of the States, said of the program at South, "No other high school music department in Oregon has nearly the remarkable history of competition success, outstanding performance, tour results and consistent quality than that found at South Salem High School."

Wenz was given the University's Secondary School Award for Excellence in Teaching. Presenting the award was David Nelson, a member of Symphonic Choir and Southernaires at South and a senior at Willamette majoring in Sociology and a 4-year member of Chamber Choir and Willamette Singers.

Other award winners included Myles Jackson, assistant professor of history of science since 1998, who was selected by students to receive the Mortar Board Professor of the Year award. He also was given the Lawrence D. Cress Award for Excellence in Faculty Scholarship.

Vincent Chiappetta, associate professor of law since 1997, received the Jerry E. Hudson Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The United Methodist Award for Exemplary Teaching was presented to Rebecca Dobkins, assistant professor of anthropology since 1996, and to Deborah Ringold, professor of marketing since 1998.

Jim Ames, a Physical Plant maintenance foreman at the University since 1991, received the first Willamette University Classified Employee of the Year award.

Willamette senior Anna Carpenter was selected by her peers to present the College of Liberal Arts Class of 2002 address.

The awards presentation followed the State of the University Address by Willamette University President M. Lee Pelton.

Dean of Campus Life, Robert Hawkinson, served as master of ceremonies.