Baylor Welcomes Robert Foster Cherry Award Winner for Spring Semester

January 30, 2013
Brian P. Coppola, Ph.D.

Brian P. Coppola, Ph.D.

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Contact: Lori Fogleman, Director of Media Communications, (254) 710-6275
WACO, Texas (Jan. 29, 2013) - Baylor University welcomed Brian P. Coppola, Ph.D., who will teach in residence at Baylor this spring as the 2012 recipient of the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, to the Baylor community during a Jan. 30 luncheon held in his honor.
Coppola was announced as the recipient of the Cherry Award and its $250,000 monetary prize in January 2012. His home department at the University of Michigan, where Coppola is The Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Chemistry, received an additional $25,000 for the development of teaching skills. As a visiting faculty member in residence at Baylor, he will teach organic chemistry during the 2013 spring semester.
"Dr. Brian Coppola has a sterling record of recognized teaching accomplishments and awards. The Cherry committee was particularly impressed with his innovative Structured Study Group (SSG) program, which uses the notion of guided-inquiry learning for teaching both content and critical thinking skills in organic chemistry," said Michael W. Thompson, Ph.D., chair of the Robert Foster Cherry Award Committee and professor and graduate director in the department of electrical and computer engineering in Baylor's School of Engineering and Computer Science.
The Cherry Award program at Baylor is designed to honor great teachers, stimulate discussion in the academy about the value of teaching and encourage departments and institutions to value their own great teachers. Along with a record of distinguished scholarship, individuals nominated for the Cherry Award have a proven record as an extraordinary teacher with a positive, inspiring and long-lasting effect on students.
Coppola was named a finalist for the Cherry Award in April 2011, along with fellow distinguished teacher/scholars Heather Macdonald, Ph.D., Chancellor Professor of Geology at the College of William & Mary, and Allen J. Matusow, Ph.D., W.G. Twyman Professor of History at Rice University. As finalists, each professor received $15,000, while their home departments also received $10,000 for the development of teaching skills.
The Cherry Award was created by Robert Foster Cherry, who earned his A.B. from Baylor in 1929. He enrolled in the Baylor Law School in 1932 and passed the Texas State Bar Examination the following year. With a deep appreciation for how his life had been changed by significant teachers, he made an exceptional estate bequest to establish the Cherry Award program to recognize excellent teachers and bring them in contact with Baylor students. The inaugural Robert Foster Cherry Award was presented in 1991 and is now awarded biennially.
For additional information on Coppola and the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, click here or visit

by Brent Salter, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.