COLUMBIA — Eighty-five students snapped to attention Tuesday afternoon as a group of people stormed into their American Presidency class mid-lecture.
The group, including MU Deputy Chancellor Mike Middleton and Chairman of Commerce Bank Jim Schatz, were there to honor their professor, William Horner.
A look of shock overcame Horner's face as Middleton announced he was one of the recipients of the 2013 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. Schatz then presented Horner with a check for $10,000.
The William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence was established in 1991 and is awarded to five outstanding faculty members each year and includes a $10,000 check. Horner was the second recipient of the fellowship this year. The first, Tim Evans, was awarded Monday.
Horner has been an associate professor in the Department of Political Science in the MU College of Arts and Science since 2000. He's also served there as the director of undergraduate studies. He is involved in Pi Sigma Alpha, the honors fraternity for political science at MU, MU's Model United Nations and Relay For Life, according to a news release from the MU News Bureau.
"I almost wore my Chicago Cubs jersey today," Horner joked. "I'm glad now I didn't."
The excitement continued as the group headed to the Fine Arts Annex to award another teacher.
Cheryl Black, a professor in the Department of Theatre in the MU College of Arts and Science, was all smiles when her seminar in Theatre History was interrupted.
Black, who has been an associate professor in the Department of Theatre in the MU College of Arts and Science since 2005, was recently promoted to professor. She has played a key role in obtaining fellowships and grants, increased participation in regional and national conferences and has helped students complete their dissertations and graduate, according to the news release.
"The past recipients have set the bar," Black said. "I will just keep trying to keep trying."
The class of eight cheered and applauded loudly as their professor was honored.
The fourth teacher to be awarded the fellowship was Elizabeth Baker, a professor in the Department of Learning, Teaching and Curriculum in the College of Education. Baker was awarded during her Qualitative Research Analysis graduate course. Her students were almost as speechless as she was.
Baker has been an MU faculty member since 2002. She is at the forefront of the shift in literacy instruction from traditional reading and writing skills to those required in a more technologically savvy culture, according to the news release.
"I am overwhelmed and honored," Baker said as she was handed the check.
The fifth and final recipient of the 2013 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence will be announced later in the week.