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Four more given Kemper awards

Wednesday, April 14, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:24 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 4, 2008

Bryan Garton gave Chancellor Wallace a simple “thank you” when Wallace interrupted Garton’s agricultural education class Tuesday afternoon. The professor remained calm when more than a dozen members of the media, friends and colleagues crammed into his classroom to hear the reason for Wallace’s intrusion — to announce Garton as a Kemper Fellowship recipient.

The award, a $10,000 gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation honoring outstanding educators, is the eighth in a series of 10 annual awards.

Jim Schatz, chairman of the local Commerce Bank — a Kemper trustee — then told Garton how much money came with the award, and Wallace suggested he buy pizza for the class. Those on hand suggested steaks instead.

On Friday, fellowships were given to professors Mary Ann Gowdy, Nancy West and Margaret “Molly” Olsen.

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Bryan Garton

Associate Professor Bryan Garton

Teaches: Agricultural education

Known for: Garton’s list of achievements seems endless. Given that he advises agricultural organizations, has achieved more than a dozen distinguished teaching awards and publishes on a regular basis, it’s a wonder he has time for much else. But it’s the other things, in particular teaching future teachers, that give Garton his reputation for enthusiasm and dedication. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at MU, and since his return in 1996 he has made it a priority to cultivate the greatest agricultural educators.

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Nancy West

Associate Professor Nancy West

Teaches: Courses in Victorian literature and culture, photographic history and theory, and film theory

Known for: The span of West’s knowledge is unquestioned. Having taught 17 courses, published one book and written numerous articles, she clearly knows a little of everything about literature, culture and film — all genres she teaches at MU. Since joining the English department in 1995, West has infected the campus with an innovative and energetic style that encourages student development through her love for life as well as literature.

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Mary Ann Gowdy

Teaching Assistant Professor Mary Ann Gowdy

Teaches: Plant science

Known for: Regarded as the “heart and soul” of the undergraduate degree program, Gowdy is known for her genuine concern for students. Students praise her for being clear, although her classes are difficult. Her focused approach allows students to apply classroom knowledge outside the greenhouse — a laboratory she coordinated after coming to MU in 1991. Gowdy was a 2000 Global Scholar and received the Golden Apple teaching award.

Assistant Professor Margaret “Molly” Olsen

Teaches: Spanish composition, conversation and Hispanic literature

Known for: A student favorite in the Spanish department, Olsen values her time in front of students as much as they value the knowledge she passes on. Specializing in colonial and contemporary Caribbean literature, Olsen’s classroom achieves a perfect balance of comfort and stimulation that keeps students participating in and enjoying the learning process. Olsen, who refers to teaching as a form of community service, also leads freshman interest groups and directs MU’s summer program in Cuernavaca, Mexico.


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