Two earn Belbas-Larson Award for Excellence Two extraordinary professors at The University of South Dakota are the recipients of the institution's highest honor, the Belbas-Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching.
This year's tenured awardee is Dr. Susan Keith Gray of the Department of Music in the College of Fine Arts, and the tenure-track awardee is Dr. Elizabeth Smith of the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences.
The awardees will be formally recognized during the May commencement ceremony, when they will each receive a cash award of $5,000 and a framed plaque commemorating their award.
This year's honorable mentions are Dr. Karen Card of the Division of Educational Administration in the School of Education and Dr. David Moskowitz of the Department of Music.
In 1995 Gray joined the music faculty at USD where she teaches solo piano, piano pedagogy and class piano, and coordinates student accompanists. Throughout the region, she is in demand as a pianist, teacher, adjudicator and clinician.
Gray is a member of The University of South Dakota Rawlins Piano Trio. She has performed with orchestras including the Spartanburg and Savannah Symphonies and as a professional collaborative pianist with artists throughout the United States and abroad.
Gray served on the Instrumental Accompanying Faculty at the Music Academy of the West and on the staff of national competitions including the American Horn Competition and the Seventeen Magazine/General Motors National Concerto Competition. Awards include the Accompanist Prize at the Matinee Musicale Richardson Voice Competition and prizes in the Music Teachers National Association Wurlitzer Collegiate Artist Competition.
She holds degrees in piano performance from Converse College and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and the doctor of musical arts in chamber music and accompanying from The University of Michigan.
Smith is an associate professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Political Science and the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership. Prior to joining the USD faculty she was a visiting assistant professor in the political science department at the University of Connecticut.
the master of public affairs program. Before that she served for two years as a visiting instructor in the government department at Clark University, teaching American government and politics. Smith received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Connecticut in August of 1998. She was named the 2004 Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
The Belbas-Larson Awards were established by a 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.