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‘The Ultimate Things’: UD Honors Faculty in Annual King/Haggar/Haggerty Ceremony
In 1981, the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation and the Haggar Foundation helped create the King/Haggar Faculty Development Endowment, which made both the King Fellow and Haggar Fellow Awards possible and included funding for summer research stipends.

By Callie Ewing, BA '03 MH '22

Each year since 1985, UD’s faculty have gathered at the beginning of the spring semester for the prestigious awards ceremony to recognize and honor fellow faculty who have gone above and beyond in their commitment to the university and to their students. Both awards, which are selected by the faculty development committee from faculty nominations, are considered the highest faculty honors, and recipients must have made significant contributions to the university through scholarly work and excellence in teaching, in addition to being exemplary colleagues.

The Haggerty Excellence in Teaching Awards, also celebrated at this time, are given to faculty who have made outstanding contributions in the area of teaching. Recipients have distinguished themselves not only through exemplary classroom instruction but also through activities such as exceptional advising and mentoring. These are faculty who energize the campus and inspire students. The Haggerty Teaching Excellence Awards are determined by the votes of current students and alumni. 

In the traditional speech given by the previous year’s King Fellow, Chair and Associate Professor of Classics David Sweet, Ph.D., drew upon two previous King Fellow speeches: the one given last year by his immediate King Fellow predecessor, Associate Professor of Theology Mark Goodwin, Ph.D., and the one given by the late Professor of English John Alvis, Ph.D., in 1989. In 2020, Goodwin spoke of the confluence at UD of elements of both Jerusalem and Athens, particularly highlighting Jerusalem, so Sweet took up the task of highlighting Athens. As well, he returned to Alvis’ metaphor of UD as an academic Alamo.

“In [his talk] John shows his wit, and deep insight, and capacity for drawing an analogy. He understood the University of Dallas, at that time, to be a peculiar institution, unlike most other colleges and universities, one that was motivated by its distinctive mission, but that was beleaguered by forces outside it, and he likened our situation to that of the defenders of the Alamo,” said Sweet. “In the 32 years since John gave his talk, UD has had a great influence for the good in higher education. The Braniff Graduate School has sent out many Ph.D. and M.A. graduates, just as Constantin has sent out so many B.A.s, who have had their effect at numerous schools and colleges throughout the country. Now we have a new M.A. program in classical education.

“[A]mong the things the Greeks have given us are liberty, democracy, an advanced understanding of the meaning of equality, a complicated understanding of the meaning of justice, along with that of the rest of what we call the classical virtues — courage, temperance and wisdom,” he added. “… the Greeks are assigned the responsibility for having made the distinction between physis (φύσις) and nomos (νόμος), that is, between nature and convention. In fact they have been given credit for discovering nature, and that discovery was the beginning of philosophy, so we are giving them credit for discovering not only the word itself (φιλοσοφία), but the goal it seeks (σοφία), by loving it, without knowing completely what it is.”

The King Fellow is a professor whose life and work have made a significant contribution to the excellence of education at the University of Dallas and who exemplifies the best qualities of a teacher, colleague and scholar at the university. The King Award is bestowed upon a senior faculty member with more than eight years of service. The 2021 King Fellow is Professor of Management J.Lee Whittington, Ph.D.

“When this professor enters the classroom, the students can immediately feel the increase in energy and enthusiasm,” said Provost Jonathan J. Sanford, Ph.D. “Colleagues know the power of [his] smile and its ability to bring warmth, joy and humor to any committee meeting. Whether in the physical classroom, or online, students recognize the deep concern this professor has not only for their academic success but for their personal well-being.”

Whittington is also a successful researcher, with a multitude of books, articles and essays to his credit. His university service history is equally impressive, from leading the Faculty Senate to developing new academic programs, serving on many committees and in administrative appointments, and leading accreditation processes. His expertise is sought in executive coaching and leadership development with such companies as Life.Church, Nokia, FedEx-Kinko’s, Siemens, Camp Fire Boys and Girls, the City of Arlington, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

Meanwhile, the Haggar Fellow is recognized as an accomplished teacher and promising scholar whose teaching manifests a continuing reflection on the place of his or her own discipline within the mission of the university. It is presented to a junior faculty member with eight or fewer years of service. The 2021 Haggar Fellow is Associate Professor and Chair of Biology William Cody, Ph.D. 

“[Dr. Cody] clearly represents the highest level of achievement among junior faculty,” said Sanford. “Students regard him as one of the most accomplished and dedicated teachers, one who consistently dedicates time outside of the classroom to help them learn their subject matter, as well as help them to navigate academic life and the difficulties of their own personal lives.”

Cody advises his science students as they pursue research, internships, graduate education and teaching positions, at the same time leading his department, which consistently has one of the largest majors at UD yet fewer faculty than other disciplines. Further, Cody has served the university on numerous committees, notably the COVID Implementation Task Force, on which he has been instrumental in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic this past year.

“[H]is knowledge and ability to communicate effectively have enabled our community to effectively deal with the challenges surrounding face-to-face instruction,” said Sanford. “His calm presence and scientific focus are unequaled, as is his willingness to confront difficult questions and reassure his colleagues.”

In addition to the King and Haggar Fellows, this ceremony honors the recipients of the Haggar Scholar Awards, which are selected by the Faculty Development Committee from proposals submitted by faculty for support; the recipients of sabbatical leaves, which are also recommended by the Faculty Development Committee in collaboration with the deans and the provost; and the recipients of the Haggerty Excellence in Teaching Awards. 

This year’s Haggar Scholar Awards went to the following:

The following were granted sabbaticals for one or both semesters of the 2021-22 academic year:

This year’s Haggerty Excellence in Teaching Awards went to the following:

“[Homer] and his successors, Greek poets, philosophers, historians, theologians, are asking us to think about everything, but especially about what they called ta eschata (τὰ ἔσχατα), the ultimate things, and they have given us the equipment to do that,” said Sweet at the conclusion of his address. “Another Greek called it thinking about thinking (νόησις νοήσεως). This the Greeks have given us the constant encouragement to do, by setting the example themselves — to enter into the quiet chambers of our minds and think, even when a mouse is munching somewhere. They have given us epistemology.” 

“Many thanks to you all for joining in this celebration. I look forward to joining you in our common work of cultivating our students in those virtues of mind and character that will enable them to live flourishing lives,” said Sanford. “Thank you for the tremendous sacrifices you are making as we face together the ongoing challenges of this COVID-plagued semester and for making this university fully alive with the animating principles of truth, wisdom and virtue.”

The Haggar Scholar, Haggar Fellow and King Fellow awards are made possible by the generous contributions of the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation and Mr. and Mrs. Edmond R. Haggar. The Haggerty Teaching Excellence Awards are made possible by the generosity of The Haggerty Family Foundation.

 
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