COLLEGE STATION --
Professor of Chemistry David E. Bergbreiter has been named one of two 2006 Presidential Professors for Teaching Excellence at Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University President Robert M. Gates announced Monday.
Gates initiated the award -- which includes a $25,000 after-tax cash stipend and is believed to be the highest-valued in the nation that is presented annually by a single institution to honor its faculty -- in 2003 to underscore the importance of teaching at a major research university. The "presidential professor" designation is retained by each recipient for the duration of his or her teaching career.
"A great university has great teachers," he noted. "Texas A&M has some of the finest, and we want to recognize them."
Dr. Ann L. Kenimer, associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering, was recognized along with Bergbreiter as a 2006 recipient of the prestigious award. In addition, Dr. John L. Crompton, Distinguished Professor of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences, and Professor of Construction Science Robert O. Segner Jr. each received $10,000 awards as runners-up for the honor.
Bergbreiter, who holds a joint appointment in materials science and engineering as well as the Eppright Professorship in Undergraduate Teaching Excellence, joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1974. A finalist for the presidential professor award in 2005, he also has received The Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching at both the College and University levels, in addition to the Exxon Education Foundation Award and the ARMCO Mentorship Award.
In a letter supporting Bergbreiter's nomination, one former student wrote, "I can appreciate now more than ever that he challenged me so much and that his expectations of me were so high, and I have seen how my own expectations of myself have been heightened by this. Dr. Bergbreiter knows how to draw success out of students by asking more of them than they think they are capable of and then making himself available for assistance and guidance so that, with effort and diligence, the students may discover a truer sense of their own aptitude. He does not accept mediocrity and in that, brings a certain inspiration for the students to value their work and abilities."
Nominations for the professorships are made annually by each of the university's 10 colleges, the Center for Teaching Excellence, Student Government and the Graduate Student Council, with each entity making one nomination. The Faculty Senate reviews the list and narrows it to four faculty members, and the president then makes the final selections.
Bergbreiter is the second College of Science faculty member to merit the coveted honor since its inception in 2003, the same year in which Professor of Physics William H. Bassichis earned selection as one of the award's two inaugural recipients. By virtue of his selection, Bergbreiter distinguishes his college as the only A&M academic unit with multiple winners.