COLUMBIA — Three MU professors were recognized Monday for their hard work.
Chancellor Brady Deaton and Commerce Bank Chairman Jim Schatz — accompanied by supporters, spouses and department heads — surprised Paul Crabb, Carol Deakyne and Ines Segert and awarded them with William T. Kemper fellowships for Teaching Excellence.
Every spring the award is presented to five exceptional MU educators. Each recipient also receives a $10,000 check to spend as they wish. The family of William T. Kemper, a 1926 MU graduate and Kansas City civic leader, established the fellowships in 1991 with a $500,000 gift honoring those at MU who dedicate their lives to teaching.
Stephen Ball, associate professor in MU's Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology in the College of Human Environmental Sciences was the first recipient of the 2012 fellowship.
Deaton keeps the names of the recipients secret until they are surprised in their classrooms in the middle of their lectures.
Paul Crabb, professor and director of choral activities for the MU School of Music in the College of Arts and Science, covered his mouth in disbelief and playfully shook his finger at his students as Schatz presented him with the check.
"It's a true pleasure to be able to work with students like this," Crabb said. "To be able to have this kind of relationship where we work together towards a common goal — it's really important to me."
Crabb has been teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in choral music since 2003.
"The university is fortunate to have someone of Crabb's ability," said Robert Shay, the director of the MU School of Music, in a news release. "He is a man who inspires students to do their very best work and to stretch themselves in new directions."
Crabb received a bachelor's degree in elementary and secondary music education from Bethel College, a master's degree in vocal performance from Wichita State University and a doctoral degree in choral music education from Florida State University.
Next, Deaton and Schatz surprised Carol Deakyne, associate professor in the department of chemistry in the College of Arts and Science.
As the cameras entered, Deakyne paused mid-sentence and smiled.
"It's very hard for me to believe this," she said. "I know I was nominated for it this year, but you know you never really expect to get it."
According to a news release, Deakyne is described as a dedicated, positive and compassionate professor who will go out of her way to help students succeed.
Deakyne received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Rider College, a master's degree in chemisty from Carnegie Mellon University and a doctoral degree in chemistry from Princeton University.
The final award for the day went to Ines Segert, associate director of the MU Honors College. The class chuckled at Segert's reaction as Deaton entered from the back of the room — she simply stopped in the middle of a sentence.
"I couldn't do it without the students," she said. "They make it a pleasure to come in every day and talk to them. They make it a pleasure to be here."
She jokingly added, "This is for my pizza party at the end of the school year," referring to the money she was awarded.
Segert's husband, Jan, then appeared from amidst the media with a spray of pink and red carnations, baby's breath and red roses and smiled sweetly.
Ines Segert has been a faculty member in the psychology department since 1990 and has taught, advised and mentored thousands of students.
Michael J. O'Brien, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, then gave the students a pop quiz.
"OK, class, question, pop quiz," he said. "This stranger brings in a check for $10,000, her husband brings roses. Which do you want?"
"Fortunately it's not an either/or," Deaton said.
Segert received bachelor's degrees in psychology and English from Rutgers University, and master's and doctoral degrees in psychology and neuroscience from Princeton University.
Fellows are nominated by their peers then chosen by a committee. The fifth and final recipient will be revealed on Tuesday.