Two Cameron University professors, Dr. Mike Dunn and Dr. Edris Montalvo, on Wednesday were presented with the most prestigious award that is given CU educators.
The Harold and Elizabeth Hackler Award, established in 1996 by two Cameron alumni from Duncan, was presented for providing a quality educational experience to their students.
The presentation was made Wednesday evening at CU-Duncan.
Dunn, a biology professor who specializes in botany, and Montalvo, a history and government professor who’s concentration is in geography, both received a $2,000 stipend, $1,500 for professional development, as well as specialized plaques.
Their names will be added to the Hackler plaque showcased at the Duncan campus.
Biology senior Kathryn Parsley, one of Dunn’s undergraduate research students, introduced Dunn at the award ceremony, saying he has inspired her to pursue her dream of becoming a paleontologist with her own laboratory.
“I’m really happy for him that he got it,” she said of the award. “I’m glad he gets (that) out of teaching because he certainly gives a lot to his students.”
Dunn said he was amazed at how similar palentology is to teaching. While Dunn’s teaching helps students learn how to build the tree of life, he said there is nothing quite like helping them build their own tree of life as they branch out into their career field.
“Cameron student are just awesome. Just amazing,” Dunn said. “Thank you to the Hacklers, who recognize how important teaching is and how important Cameron University is to southwestern Oklahoma.”
Montalvo was presented by Jacob Jardel, who is studying for his masters degree at Cameron University. While Jardel has never experienced Montalvo’s teaching in the classroom, he has had many opportunties to learn from him in other ways, including a conference in Puerto Rico.
“To be able to teach in the classroom is one thing,” Jardel said. “To be able to teach outside of it is what sets a great intstructor apart – and Dr. Montalvo is that caliber of instructor from what he’s taught me outside the classroom. Dr. Montalvo has made sure to assist his students, aid their research, further their knowledge with conference opportunities and introduce them to fantastic people who can aid and further them in the same way.”
Montalvo said teaching is about sharing a multitude of great perspectives with students, both inside and outside of the classroom. He believes all types of students, including traditional students, nontraditional students, international students and those in the armed forces, bring something unique to the classroom.
“I’m very humbled and honored to receive this award,” he said. “This is obviously the highlight of my career because it is an award that recognizes the most important part of our job, which is teaching. Every member in my department is equally, if not more deserving of this award, because they set the level that high.”
The award foundation stems from Harold and Elizabeth Hackler, Halliburton, The McCasland Foundation, as well as the OK State Regeants of Education.
The Hacklers, both from Duncan, were long-term employees of Halliburton. After retiring in the early 90s, the couple returned to Cameron University to pursue an associates degree together. Harold graduated from CU in 1993 with an associates degree at the age of 67. After Elizabeth finished her associates, she returned to obtain her bachelors. She graduated in 1998. Both were the oldest of their graduating class.