This award is given each year "for excellence in teaching and scholarship, contributions to the academic community through active and positive relations with colleagues and students, and an involved concern for humanity." The Saint Anselm faculty is full of great teachers and respected scholars, but you would be hard pressed to find someone who combines the ideals of academic excellence, devotion to teaching, and service to the college community as well as this year's recipient: The author or editor of six books and numerous articles; twice voted best teacher by the students of the college; and President of the Faculty Senate; he is also a Presbyterian Minister and a devoted husband and father, whose son is among the graduating Anselmians today.
His research on the history of Christianity in the early modern period has made him one of leading scholars in the field. He has studied the interpretation of scripture, with a special interest in the thought of John Calvin, his use of St. Paul's epistles and his pastoral advice. He is vice-president of the Calvin Studies Society. His recent books include titles such as Crisis and Renewal:The Era of the Reformations, A Companion to Paul in the Reformation, and The Westminster Handbook to Theologies of the Reformation. His most recent work, written along with Politics Professor Peter Josephson, is just out and is entitled The Irony of Barack Obama: Barack Obama, Reinhold Niebuhr and the Problem of Christian Statecraft, and it has already garnered favorable reviews and publicity.
This year's recipient is among the best teachers that the college has ever had. The students of the college have voted him the Abbot Gerald McCarthy Award for "the faculty member who has shown the most dedication to the students throughout the academic year" not once, but on two occasions. I've personally heard from numerous students whose lives have been changed by his teaching and guidance. His classes are notoriously challenging, but he takes the time to know his students, their personalities and talents, and to guide them to expand the range of their competence and interest.
There is a lesson for the 2012 graduating class of Anselmians in the success of this year's recipient. Among those who know him, his to-do lists have become legend. How else but by meticulous organization could he write books and articles, lead the Faculty Senate in the challenging and exciting task of curriculum revision, fill in as minister at a local church, answer every student email, while still having time to be available to students and colleagues outside of class? The answer lies in the to-do lists which contain not only every task to be done each day, but the time of day when each task will be completed.
This award is presented for "contributions to the academic community through active and positive relations with colleagues and students." The recipient this year is most remarkable for those active and positive relations. One of the testimonials we received reads: "He practices Christian charity every day. All of us can get tired and frustrated. He has a habit: He takes a deep breath, regroups, finds a new approach, presses on. I've been the beneficiary of that charity. So have his students. He understands that they are developing, that they aren't finished products, and he appreciates them where they are. In our teaching together, I've been really impressed by his ability to recognize our students as individuals, to know them very quickly, and to help them get to the next stage in their personal and intellectual development." The 2012 AAUP Distinguished Faculty Award goes to Dr. Ward Holder.