On Friday April 17, Scripps Associated Students (SAS) threw a party at the Motley coffeehouse in honor of Professor Marina Perez de Mendiola, the winner of the 2009 Student-Choice Professor of the Year award. During the celebration Perez de Mendiola received a cake meant to resemble a book by one of her favorite authors, Octavio Paz, as well as a commemorative plaque and a scrapbook containing notes from students. SAS also handed out free T-shirts to students and provided tie-dying materials. Professor Crowley, the winner of last year's Student-Choice Professor of the Year Award, was also in attendance and made the transition official by passing on the stuffed-animal squirrel that he received last year. The squirrel wears a cowboy hat that has the words ‘Student-Choice Nutty Professor of the Year' emblazoned across its front.
The most touching part of the event, was the open-mic session, where students shared their memories and appreciation of Professor Perez de Mendiola. As she said during an interview, "I was totally surprised upon learning that I had been chosen for the award. And it makes me appreciate my job even more."
The Student-Choice Professor of the Year Award is a new Scripps tradition. Former SAS president Ashley Peters initiated the award in 2008. Tony Crowley was the first professor to be honored with this title.
The recipient of the award is chosen through a two-step voting process facilitated by SAS. The first vote occurs during SAS Election Day and narrows down the candidate pool to a group of seven professors. A ballot consisting of the seven chosen professors is then sent to students via e-mail. A professor cannot hold the title for more than one consecutive year and professors on sabbatical are automatically disqualified.
This year, over 250 Scripps students voted for their favorite professor. The other six finalists for the 2009 student-choice award were: Professor Delmont, Professor Gilmore, Professor Matz, Professor Simshaw, Professor McDaniel and Professor Towse.
Though the Student-Choice Professor of the Year Award can only be given to one individual, it is a well-known fact that Scripps employs some of the best and brightest scholars in their respective fields. Scripps students are lucky to have such a knowledgeable, inspiring and dedicated group of professors to guide them through their college years. To the entire faculty at Scripps College, thank you for all your hard work. And congratulations to Professor Perez de Mendiola and the six finalists.