"I feel deeply very honored to have been selected as the John S. Hinckley Scholar for 2002. This award is particularly meaningful to me as an alumnus of Weber State University. As a student at Weber State, I studied under two previous recipients of this award, Dr. Richard Alston and Dr. Donald Sharpes. It is a tremendous honor to join the ranks of these men and the other outstanding Hinckley Scholar recipients who have come before me.
I was a late bloomer in academic life. After a disastrous freshman year in college, I gave up on school and decided to try my hand at other things. I enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served on active duty as a medical corpsman. After my discharge in 1976, I decided to use my veterans education benefits and give college another try. I came to Weber State and found the kind of learner-centered environment that I needed. Weber State went out of its way to reach out to veterans and make us feel welcome on campus. I found that I was able to move beyond my earlier failures and mistakes and thrive in Weber’s academic environment. Given my pathetic performance as a freshman, no one would have predicted that I would eventually earn a Ph.D. and become a professor.
I currently serve as the director of the MBA graduate program at Weber State University. I also teach over 700 students each year in my freshman sections. When people ask why I am willing to take on such an arduous teaching assignment year after year, I sometimes joke that it is a kind of penance for the academic sins of my youth. But the truth is that I want to make a difference in the lives of these freshmen. My early failures as a student influenced the kind of teacher that I try to be. I understand the importance that a supportive, empathetic person can make in the life of a struggling freshman.
I like to think that I help students find the best within themselves. I was fortunate to learn from outstanding professors when I was a student at Weber State. It is an honor to follow in their footsteps as a member of the WSU faculty. It is a privilege to serve with so many wonderful colleagues on the faculty and staff at this fine university.
With the financial support that I received as a John S. Hinckley Scholar, I was able to travel extensively this past summer. As a visiting scholar and a volunteer with the United Nations, I traveled to Japan, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, and Costa Rica. The experiences that I gained while living abroad over the summer enhanced my teaching in many ways. I appreciate the generosity of the Hinckley family in making this support available to the faculty at Weber State University."