Professors Jeffrey Becker, Robert Benedetti and Camilla Saviz were honored at the Pacific Alumni Association 2013 Faculty Mentor Awards Cemerony on Nov. 10
Pacific Alumni Association Honors Faculty MentorsProfessors Robert Benedetti, Camilla Saviz and Jeffrey Becker received this year's Golden Apple Award at the Awards Luncheon on Sunday, Nov. 10.
Each year, the Pacific Alumni Association Faculty Mentor Awards honor faculty members who, through their personal and professional relationships, mentor students and alumni and encourage alumni to be mentors to students. Nominations can be submitted by all members of the University community, students, alumni, faculty and administrators. Awardees are selected by the Alumni Association Awards Committee.
Associate professor Jeffrey Becker has taught American political thought and political theory in the College of the Pacific since 2006 and has taught Pacific Seminars I, II and III. He was nominated by Maria Klingenfuss '11, who said "Dr. Becker is an outstanding and exceptional educator; he goes above and beyond any university professor that I have encountered." Current students agree that Becker routinely challenges them to think outside of their own individual perspectives to help them become well-rounded, successful adults capable of achieving their career goals and assuming the responsibilities of citizenship.
Becker is known for asking the "big questions" about politics, such as 'What is my role in society?' or, 'What are my obligations to my community?' He typically presents scenarios that require students to reflect on their personal choices and to consider the possibilities for their lives. The alumni who took Becker's classes value his role not only as a mentor, but as a friend, someone who they can turn to whenever help or advice is needed.
"Dr. Becker inspires me to do amazing and remarkable things with my life, and I would not be where I am today without his unfailing and altruistic support and guidance," said Klingenfuss.
Emeritus professor Robert Benedetti, came to Pacific in 1989. He has served as dean of College of the Pacific, professor of political science and director of the Jacoby Center for Public Service and Civic Leadership. While dean of the College, he developed the general education program that has become the Pacific Seminars series and embedded the concept of developing citizen leaders within the fabric of the College. He has encouraged students and mentored them in research projects and internship opportunities that help them gain important experience for their future careers. The Pacific Seminars program has provided a vehicle for alumni to return to campus as guest lecturers, sharing their experiences and insights with current students.
Benedetti was nominated for the award by Sylvana Ho '12, was impressed by how he took a personal interest in her goals and aspirations from their first advising meeting. Ho says he was always available to listen when she had problems and encourage her when she wasn't confident in her decisions, and says he demonstrated a generosity and compassion rarely found in academia. He encouraged her to go ahead with her Washington, D.C., internship when she nearly backed out, crediting Benedetti for giving her the reassurance and confidence to pursue it.
Associate professor Camilla Saviz has taught civil engineering since 1999 and says she was drawn to Pacific because of the focus on teaching. Saviz has been known to work many extra hours alongside students in the lab and on projects, well beyond the call of duty . She has been active in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) at the local, state and national levels for the past 10 years. She received the Jonathan B. Brown Education Award in 2013 and the School of Engineering and Computer Science's award for Outstanding Faculty in 2001 and 2013.
She was nominated by Matthew Ward '06, who says "she has an unparalleled commitment to the students and allocates a great deal of time to student needs-far beyond what is required." It is this commitment that inspires her students in class to excel and go beyond their own expectations. Ward says Saviz is still a mentor to him today, and when he is in town they meet up for lunch or he will stop by just to say hello.
For a list of previous award winners or for more information, visit PacificAlumni.org/Awards.