The Undergraduate Council honored exceptional faculty members and students with various awards for teaching and advising at its annual awards ceremony Thursday evening.
The event allowed students to celebrate professors, advisors, and peer advising fellows who have shown support both inside and outside the classroom. During the ceremony, each award recipient and one of their nominators gave a short speech.
UC representatives read through about 200 nominations and ultimately chose three recipients for the Joseph R. Levenson Memorial Teaching Award, three recipients for the John R. Marquand Award for Exceptional Advising and Counseling of Harvard Students, and one recipient for the Thomas Dingman Award for Freshman Advising.
“The process was very, very difficult because all the nominators had wonderful stories,” UC Education Committee Chair Dhruv P. Goyal ’16 said. “We stayed up until one in the morning discussing all of the stories, factoring in the number of nominations they received.”
Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman ’67 received the first Freshman Advising award, which was subsequently renamed in his honor, at the ceremony in 2012. This year, the award was given to James P. Biblarz ’14, a PAF for freshmen in Lionel Hall.
“A characteristic of a good advisor is constancy,” said Mira S. Hayward ’17, who nominated Biblarz. “No matter the seriousness of the issue, he’s always there to help.”
Goyal said he believes the large number of nominations is indicative of how supportive the advising staff is at Harvard.
“It’s very hard for them to make their selection given how many remarkable students and faculty members have made this campus effective in advising and teaching, and it’s important to honor those people that do it very well,” Dingman said.
The Levenson award went to one senior faculty member, one junior faculty member, and one teaching fellow. This year, the teaching fellow prize went to an undergraduate student, Felipe A.S. Da Cruz ’15, who assisted in teaching an engineering course.
Da Cruz said he was influenced by his own experience as a student in the course.
“My TF and other teaching staff were incredible,” Da Cruz said. “They all stayed with us all night and really made sure every student understood what was going on.”
As the undergraduate population at the School of Engineering and Applied Science has grown, Da Cruz said he wants to be able to provide the same experience for current students, adding that he does not think of his teaching as work. Many other award recipients shared similar sentiments.
According to their nominators, the award recipients shared traits such as the ability to foster a community, demonstration of willingness to help, and availability to students.