T. Ramakrishna (T.R.) Reddy Honored with Dixon Award

Political science professor recognized for career excellence, distinguished service to students

The Weber State from which T. Ramakrishna (T.R.) Reddy plans to retire at the end of spring semester 2018 is a far cry from the one he first encountered as a newly hired assistant professor in 1966. Back then, there was no bell tower, iconic water fountain or Dee Events Center. Basketball fans cheered for the Wildcats on roll-away bleachers in the gym. The venerable Moench Building still stood vigil on the old downtown campus. Until the construction of the Social Science Building in 1972, as many as 80 faculty members kept offices in the living, dining or bedrooms of private homes purchased by the college. With no “online” registration, thousands of students lined up in the Technical Education Building to register for classes in person at the start of each semester.

During a teaching career that will span 52 years, Reddy witnessed Weber State evolve from a fledgling senior college into a nationally respected university with a student enrollment of nearly 27,000. By the time his desk is cleared, the India-born Reddy will have shared his unique perspective on American democracy and international politics with an estimated 30,000 students. He will have written more than a hundred letters of recommendation for former students applying to graduate schools or seeking jobs. Many of his previous students have forged illustrious careers in medicine, education, politics, civil service, business and law; one became a Utah Supreme Court justice, and later, a federal judge.

Reddy, named Outstanding Social Sciences Faculty Member of 1980-81, infuses his classes with relevant assignments and topical guest presenters. In the wake of deadly attacks in the U.S. and abroad, Reddy invited India’s inspector general of police to speak to his students about combatting terrorism. Reddy encourages his students to expand their worldviews. He served as a faculty adviser for WSU’s Model United Nations program, and was the university’s Peace Corps liaison officer.

Reddy chaired the Department of Political Science & Philosophy for more than a decade. He served on the faculty senate for 11 years — first, as a senator, then, as an executive committee member, and finally, as chair. He helped introduce plus-minus grading criteria. He piloted a proposal to include a faculty member’s terminal degree, the highest possible academic degree of a given field, in the tenure process. Reddy was instrumental in establishing the Dello G. Dayton Award to recognize outstanding teaching. He also successfully advocated for employee investment options that greatly enhanced the retirement plans of those who participated.

Reddy’s distinguished service to Weber State students and faculty will not end with his retirement. He plans to create an endowment to support a student research and writing award established in his name.

Since 1970, the WSU Alumni Association has presented the Dixon Award to outstanding faculty and staff who have distinguished themselves professionally and taken extra measures to meet student needs. The award is bestowed in memory of former President Dixon who served as the school’s chief administrator from 1919-20 and from 1937-53.