Theology Chair Named Educator of the Year
Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., has announced that the 2018 Distinguished Educator of the Year is Dr. Richard White, professor and chair of the Department of Theology. The award, which is the highest honor a faculty member at the college can receive, has been given for more than 30 years. Benedictine College students, faculty and staff nominated White for the distinction.
“To be named the Distinguished Educator of the Year is extremely meaningful to me,” White said. “My reaction was one of surprise, because there are a lot of people who are just as deserving, but also one of great gratitude.”
White earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Grove City College in Pennsylvania and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Christian Thought from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. In 1995 he earned his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Marquette University. He joined the staff at Benedictine College in the fall of 1996 and has taught in the Theology Department for more than 20 years, assuming the role of department chair in 2001.
He is co-author of two books in the Catholic for a Reason series and is currently working on a manuscript on “Cinema and the Way of Beauty.” He regularly teaches Christian Marriage, Protestant Tradition, a three semester Faith and Reason sequence and seminars on C.S. Lewis in Dialogue with Catholicism and Theology and the Arts.
“I do administrative work as department chair, I’m involved in research, I’ve got advising duties, but when it comes down to it, teaching is what I do,” he said. “It is the thing that means the most to me. To be recognized for that is really a great honor.”
“Simply by his example, he challenges students to reach their full potential and become the men and women God created them to be,” said one peer. “He is an excellent choice for Educator of the Year and an inspiration to educators everywhere.”
White received many nominations from students and is universally considered to be an engaging professor who teaches with true passion.
“Dr. White is a fantastic and caring teacher,” said one student. “He truly makes the content of the faith accessible to us as students and is always willing to help us answer our questions. He provides timely feedback on work, and is an overall joy to have as a teacher!”
Although the campus community makes the nominations anonymously, White has been moved by the student reaction to the announcement.
“When I walked in to my Christian Marriage Class, they got up and gave me a standing ovation,” he said. “The students definitely embrace it and recognize it for the honor it is.”