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October 2014


Dear Abbot Pennings, 

As an alum working on campus, I’ve noticed that every year certain professors are distinguished with either the Leonard Ledvina Outstanding Teaching Award or the Donald B. King Distinguished Scholar Award. I feel sure that King and Ledvina were fascinating men – can you tell us more? 

Neil Gloudemans ’12


My dear Neil,

How lovely it is to hear from not only a St. Norbert College alum, but one who continues to enrich the institution with his professional presence and continued curiosity! 

We are quite fortunate at St. Norbert College to boast the impressive faculty that we do. As you so keenly noted, at the end of each year we honor these professors at a Faculty Awards reception. The accolades you mention are among the most distinguished of our decorations! 

First, the Leonard Ledvina Outstanding Teacher Award. Leonard graduated from St. Norbert in 1943, but his involvement with the college certainly did not stop there. Leonard and wife, Mary Margaret – also among our esteemed alumni – proudly watched as five of their seven children went on to attend St. Norbert, adding deeper roots to the community.  

Leonard continued to uphold the college’s own dedication to excellence in teaching by serving as an educator for the majority of his professional life. His family connection, combined with his life commitment to teaching and learning, inspired the Ledvinas to endow the award, which was first bestowed in 1973. Two professors are honored annually, ensuring due recognition to deserving faculty who personify Leonard’s education-driven spirit. 

Now to consider the Donald B. King Distinguished Scholar Award. Donald, a cherished colleague indeed, served as dean from 1967 through 1978. With degrees from Dartmouth and Princeton, King brought a distinguished level of scholarly attainment to the St. Norbert campus. His namesake award identifies a faculty member who has made significant professional contributions to his or her own respective field of study.

Selection for the Donald B. King Distinguished Scholar Award is no small feat, of that let me assure you! Recipients undergo scrutiny on the quality and significance of their scholarship, ascertainment by peer review, degree of professional recognition, prestigious grants and honors received, local and national presentations and effective integration of scholarship and pedagogy in the classroom. 

The recipients of the award are chosen by the president based upon the recommendations of division chairs and the dean of the college. However, I feel sure that any student, former or current, who has had the pleasure of interacting with award recipients would no doubt provide equally valuable testimonials to their merit. For myself, it is with a thrill of pride that I ponder the remarkable talent and prestige we harbor here at St. Norbert College. It is with gratitude and humility that I honor it in any shape possible.  

Responses to “Ask the Abbot” questions are penned by St. Norbert College staff in the name of Abbot Bernard Pennings, O.Praem., who founded St. Norbert College in 1898.

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