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Aug. 18, 2005 | First day of classes
Contact: Dan Lara, University Relations, (785) 864-8855; or Todd Cohen, University Relations, (785) 864-8858

Six professors receive $5K Kemper Awards from 'Surprise Patrol'; 14 to go

LAWRENCE -- The University of Kansas "Surprise Patrol" bestowed good news and $5,000 checks on six professors today as part of the Kemper Awards ceremonies to recognize outstanding teachers and advisers at the university.
The patrol was lead by KU Chancellor Robert E. Hemenway, Kansas Third District Congressman Dennis Moore and Mark Heider, Commerce Bank president for Lawrence. The patrol also included representatives of the KU Endowment Association.

In all, 20 professors will be honored with Kemper Awards totaling $100,000. The patrol will be out again on Friday, Aug. 19; Monday through Thursday, Aug. 22-25; and Monday, Aug. 29.

The W.T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence recognize outstanding teachers and advisers at KU as determined by a seven-member selection committee. Now in the 10th year, the awards were established by a $500,000 fund from the William T. Kemper Foundation-Commerce Bank, Trustee, and $500,000 in matching funds from KUEA.

The William T. Kemper Foundation was established in 1989 after Kemper's death. It supports Midwest communities and concentrates on initiatives in education, health and human services, civic improvements and the arts.

Today's winners were:

  • Stephen Egbert, associate professor of geography
  • Janet Hamburg, professor of music and dance
  • David Katzman, professor and director of American studies
  • Chuck Marsh, associate professor of journalism
  • Jim Orr, professor of molecular biosciences and chairman of the Division of Biological Sciences
  • David Petr, professor of electrical engineering and computer science

Biographies of the winners:

Stephen Egbert, associate professor of geography
Egbert is a third generation professor and has been teaching at KU for the past decade. Helping students learn is the most rewarding part of his job, he said. Egbert uses much of his own research to aid in the learning process and also uses different trivia games in his lectures to help his students truly grasp a topic. His dedication to teaching is something that his students notice, making comments on student evaluations like, "I loved coming to this class because he makes the material fun and interesting to learn."

Janet Hamburg, professor of dance
Hamburg has been teaching KU students how to dance for 26 years. Hamburg strives to help her students realize that there is more to studying dance than just performing. She prepares each student for life after graduation by broadening his or her dance experience to illustrate how the concepts and discipline of dance can be applied to other real-life situations.

David Katzman, professor of American studies
Katzman has been teaching at KU for 35 years. In this time, Katzman has helped students to go beyond learning what is in the textbook. Just learning the right answers is not good enough; he wants them to know why their answers are correct. Students describe their experiences in his classes as enlightening and educational, making comments such as, "This course really arose my intellectual curiosity," and "This was honestly the first course that stretched my thinking."

Charles Marsh, associate professor of journalism
Marsh is known as the type of professor who teaches his students more than what is in the books. He prepares them for what they will face in the real world and has been doing so for 17 years at KU. Marsh does whatever he can to help his students succeed -- from working with students outside of the classroom to helping numerous graduating students get their foot in the door at their first post-college job.

Jim Orr, professor of molecular biosciences
Orr has taught at KU for 29 years and has dedicated himself to his students. His main goal is to do anything he can to make learning easier for students. In response, they have taken notice of his genuine care for them, and many make such remarks on student evaluations as, "He sincerely cares about the success of his students and he tries to get to know students as more than just a number."

David Petr, professor of electrical engineering and computer science
One of the biggest thrills for Petr in his 17 years at KU is seeing the look on a student's face when "the light goes on" and they finally understand a concept. Petr teaches some of the most challenging engineering and computer science courses at the university. He does an excellent job of preparing his lectures to help his students to understand the concepts and turn the light of learning on.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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