The senior class of Kansas University honored its favorite teacher Saturday when it announced the 1989 HOPE award winner during pregame ceremonies at the Kansas University-Oklahoma State University football game.
Bedru Yimer, associate professor of mechanical engineering, was chosen by KU seniors over 73 other educators.
Yimer has taught at KU since 1979. He received his bachelor's degree from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, and both his master's degree and doctorate from the University of Dayton in Ohio.
"I felt really honored and touched, and I also felt humbled," Yimer said. "It made me very happy when I was chosen for the final 10, and when they announced my name that made it really special."
YIMER SAID it was difficult to pinpoint aspects of his teaching method.
"Mine is primarily to try to get the students excited about engineering. I try to make it interesting to the students by becoming excited about engineering in class," he said.
Yimer said he likes to promote a friendly classroom atmosphere so students can feel comfortable enough to ask questions and take part in discussions.
"I spend time in preparation and in trying to organize as much as possible. I believe if I'm enthusiastic about the subject matter, that will motivate my students."
Yimer, who said this year marked the first time he had been nominated for the HOPE award, teaches 50 to 60 students.
He said the fact that he had not previously been nominated, "that made it extra special."
YIMER SAID the most rewarding part of teaching is seeing students grow.
"When I watch them come from a non-teaching engineering attitude to an attitude where they are ready to go out and be engineers it is really something," he said.
Yimer said he also enjoys the opportunity to meet with graduate students who return to campus.
"It's really a good feeling to see the students who come back to the university and think of it as special time. I enjoy taking part in that three or four years growing period.
"Teaching is a rewarding business because you can see the results," he said.
THE HOPE award was established by the KU Class of 1959 to recognize educators who displayed outstanding teaching ability and concern for their students.
The HOPE award, which stands for Honor for Outstanding Progressive Educator, is awarded annually by the KU senior class.
In addition to Yimer, this year's finalists were Daryl Evans, associate professor of sociology; Herman Leon, professor of social welfare; Tim Mitchell, associate professor of art history; and Evelyn Swartz, professor of curriculum and instruction.
KU seniors nominated 73 professors for the HOPE award and the 10 highest vote totals determined the semifinalists for the honor.