Dr. Gregory Eiselein, professor of English and University Distinguished Teaching Scholar, has been named the first recipient of the Michael Donnelly Faculty Award in English.
The award, newly created by donors Michelle Munson and Serban Simu, Berkeley, California, honors English professor Dr. Michael Donnelly and the impact he’s had and continues to have on numerous students. Munson graduated from K-State in 1996 with degrees in physics and electrical engineering. An English class taught by Michael Donnelly greatly influenced her, leading to this gift.
The Donnelly award will be given to an outstanding faculty member in the Department of English in recognition of their contributions to teaching, research and service. Each recipient will hold the award for two years. Eiselein is the first recipient and a second recipient will be named next year, allowing the award to be held by two faculty members at a time. Eiselein teaches classes in American literature, cultural studies, world literature and literary theory. In 2013, he received the CASE/Carnegie Kansas Professor of the Year Award. He is also the founding and current director of K-State First, the university’s first-year experience program.
“I’m really grateful to the donors for their support of K-State and their thoughtfulness in honoring and recognizing Michael Donnelly,” said Eiselein. “To receive an award that’s been named for such a faculty member is a huge honor. He’s the type of challenging, transformative teacher you come to college to have. I also appreciate how this award recognizes faculty for all aspects of our job. The faculty I know love teaching, research and contributing to the life of the university. I’m very honored to be named the first recipient of the Michael Donnelly Faculty Award in English.”
Karin Westman, English department head, echoes the sentiment. “We are thrilled that the English department can benefit from the generosity of Michelle Munson and Serban Simu and their commitment to faculty excellence in teaching, scholarship and service,” she said. “Their decision to honor Professor Michael Donnelly, when naming the award, demonstrates his intellectual passion and expertise as well as the lasting contribution that faculty make to the lives of students across disciplines and majors.”
“Gifts supporting outstanding faculty help propel K-State toward being a top 50 public research university,” said Peter Dorhout, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “This award from Michelle and Serban honoring Professor Donnelly demonstrates how a gift that recognizes the professor as an outstanding scholar — for excellence in teaching, research and service — enables K-State to recruit and retain the best faculty, which benefits the students and the university as a whole. We are fortunate to have Professor Eiselein as one of those scholars.”
“We believe critical thinking and communication and understanding of the world through the humanities are essential to innovation and technological progress,” Munson said. “Michael Donnelly is the epitome of scholarship and teaching in humanities. He gave me knowledge and a love for humanities that has shaped my entire life. This award is to honor him and those like him.”
Philanthropic contributions to K-State are coordinated by the Kansas State University Foundation. The foundation staff works with university partners to build lifelong relationships with alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students through involvement and investment in the university.