Renate Mai-Dalton, an ssociate professorof business, wins KU's HOPE Award.
She didn't expect to win the HOPE Award, but Saturday associate professor of business Renate Mai-Dalton was chosen from eight nominees to receive the annual award, which has become the hallmark in teaching excellence at Kansas University.
The HOPE Award -- Honor for the Outstanding Progressive Educator -- was established by the KU class of 1959. Senior class members select the winner by ballot and confidential interviews.
Mai-Dalton accepted the award from Chancellor Robert Hemenway in a ceremony before the KU-Texas footbal game.
"I didn't think I knew enough students to be known well enough," Mai-Dalton said. "I feel like I'm accepting it for other faculty members who work hard in the trenches. It's very humbling."
Mai-Dalton joined the KU faculty in 1979 as an assistant professor and became an associate professor in 1984. She has served on the KU athletic board and has been a member of the Senate Committee on Athletics, the Minority Recruiting Advisory Board and the Executive Committee of the School of Business.
She was inducted in to the KU Women's Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the Outstanding Service Award from the KU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics in 1992 for her efforts in creating a mentoring program for the KU women's basketball team.
Watching her students grow has always been her greatest satisfaction, Mai-Dalton said.
"Seeing how freshman mature into seniors and find their way in their careers is satisfying," she said. "It's great to hear back from them about what they're doing. It's like I'm building my own future when I see them out there."
Hemenway said he was impressed by all the nominees.
"It's great that students give this award," he said. "It's their way of saying, 'Here are people we think are great teachers.' There is a lot of great teaching going on at the university. All good teachers at the university win when we honor our best teachers."
Other HOPE finalists were Sharon G. Feldman, assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese; Cheryl B. Lester, associate professor of English and American Studies; Joseph E. O'Brien, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction; James A. Orr, professor of physiology and cell biology; Robert E. Palazzo, associate professor of physiology and biology; Howard E. Sypher, professor of communication studies and Thomas W. Volek, assistant professor of journalism.