On May 27 at an all-school colloquy program at Pacific Union College, history professor Ileana Douglas was awarded the 2010-2011 Educator of the Year award. Known as the "best mother on campus," Douglas is widely appreciated both for her teaching enthusiasm and her personal interactions with students. "As a colleague you have enriched our department… and you have also opened your heart and home," said history chair Paul McGraw.
Douglas earned her B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico and master's degrees from New York University and the Center for Advanced Studies of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean and has completed further graduate studies at the University of Valladolid, Spain. She's been an elementary and middle school teacher, college professor, academic department chair, and academic dean and vice president.
Each speaker noted Douglas's teaching energy, passion, and positive outlook. "She's so positive it can even seem that sometimes there is only one answer in her classroom… Yes, or yes," said senior history major Jonathan Pichot. "I think the word 'yes' has something to do with the way she lives her life. Yes is a happy word, full of hope. It's an accepting word… An optimistic word."
Brittany Kohler, a history student and nursing graduate, thanked Douglas for her friendship, mentorship, and spiritual commitment. "Her morning devotionals give students the encouragement that we need to survive this crazy life," Kohler said. "You have been a great mentor, great spiritual friend."
The Educator of the Year award is voted in each year by students, who can vote for any current faculty member. "This is a gift from the student body to you," Kohler told Douglas. "It just shows what an amazing teacher you are and all that you have done for us."
At the same program, three retiring professors were recognized as professors emeriti. Nursing professor Nancy Tucker has served at PUC for 23 years, including serving as chair of the nursing department. She was described during the program as an "excellent advisor, excellent mentor, someone with a can-do attitude, a person with finesse and thoroughness, who gives wise input, who has a sweet spirit."
Communication professor James Chase, upon retirement, will have given his undivided attention to almost 18,000 speeches. "Those of you who have taken a class from him, and there have been many, will use words like cheerful, encouraging, positive, gentle, spiritual, when describing him," said communication professor Tammy McGuire, who announced the awards.
The third professor emeriti was chemistry professor William Hemmerlin, who came to PUC 31 years ago and is described with terms such as "excellent mentor, charismatic leader, generous host, intellectual curiosity and genuine concern for the well-being of his students."
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