Two earn Belbas-Larson Excellence Award at USD

Two earn Belbas-Larson Excellence Award at USD While their subjects are different, they share a love of teaching and this year they share the highest honor given to professors at The University of South Dakota. Professors John Banasiak and Terry Robertson were awarded the 2003 Belbas-Larson Excellence in Teaching Awards and honored during the spring commencement at USD.

President James W. Abbott said the two professors received Belbas-Larson Awards for setting high performance standards for themselves and for their students. These awards, which earn the recipient $5,000, were established by 1956 graduate of USD Dean Belbas of Edina, MN, and Sioux Falls, and his friends, Harold W. and Kathryn Larson of Bemidji, MN, and Scottsdale, AZ.

John Banasiak, of Vermillion, is a professor in the College of Fine Arts. He holds both a bachelor of fine arts in photography and a master of fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since coming to USD in 1980, he has taught photography, published numerous works, and held an impressive number of photography exhibitions, lectures and workshops, receiving many awards for his work.

"For me, it is no small thing to be chosen for this kind of recognition within such a fine university, with the outstanding and passionate faculty that lives at its heart," said Banasiak. "I thank everyone who has helped make this environment and atmosphere a place of growth and development. I especially would like to thank all of my students of the past 23 years who have actually taught me more than I have probably taught them. I feel blessed with extraordinary good fortune to have been a part of their lives."

The Belbas-Larson non-tenure award winner is Terry Robertson, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies, a position he has held since arriving at USD in 2002. Robertson received his doctor of philosophy in communication from the University of Oklahoma in 2000, with his major areas of study in Media Studies and Political Communication.

"I am quite fortunate to have been presented this award," Robertson said. "There are a large number of excellent professors on this campus who I feel are also deserving. The students at USD have been marvelous. My work is superfluous without them."

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