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Distinguished Teachers: A 42-Year Tradition

Dr. Ann C. Peters (1907-2007)
Dr. Ann C. Peters (1907-2007)

Read up on Dr. Ann C. Peters and you’ll find it hard to imagine a better choice for Keene State College’s inaugural Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award, presented in 1971.

In a memorial notice in Keene State Today, the longtime mathematics professor was remembered by former students as demanding, well-versed in new theories and practice, and very approachable. Born in 1907, two years before Keene Normal School was founded, Dr. Peters grew up on a Minnesota farm and went on to earn a doctorate from Columbia University. She came to Keene Teachers College in 1948 and joined the mathematics and education faculties; she chaired the Mathematics Department for ten years, beginning in 1962. She also served as a student advisor and house proctor, and helped lead the drive for a student union on campus.

In 1971, a year before Dr. Peters retired to her hometown, Margaret Ramsay ’56, a New Hampshire state representative and a Keene State College trustee, urged the Alumni Association to establish an annual award to recognize excellence in teaching. A committee of representatives from the college community, including students and alumni, screened the nominees and selected Dr. Peters as the first Distinguished Teacher of the Year.

In the 35 years following her retirement, Dr. Peters continued to support Keene State and its students. In 1987, she created an endowment to provide funds for the College president to meet special needs on campus. When she died, at age 100, in 2007, she left funds for the Ann C. Peters Scholarship, earmarked for math majors and elementary education majors with a math minor.

“Having had experience with education on all levels for 42 years, I feel a debt of gratitude,” she said in an interview two years before her death. “My efforts now turn to future generations and their education."

Every year since Dr. Peters received the first Distinguished Teacher Award, a committee has gathered to review packets of information submitted in support of those nominated for the honor. The process is competitive, notes Director of Alumni and Parent Relations Patty Farmer ’92, who sits in on the deliberations as a record keeper. The winners tend to be leaders, she says, and they tend to go one or two or three steps beyond what’s expected of them – they have a commitment to teaching that includes outstanding service both in and outside the classroom.

Recognizing Dr. Peters and the 41 Distinguished Teachers named since is a way of acknowledging Keene State’s long history of putting a high value on effective teaching. Honoring the top teachers on campus honors that tradition.

Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award

For the past 42 years, the Keene State College Alumni Association has honored faculty members with the Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award. The following individuals have been recognized for: excellence in classroom teaching; encouragement of independent thinking; rapport with students in and out of the classroom; and effective student advising.

2012: Susan Whittemore*, Biology

2011: William Seigh*, Theatre and Dance

2010: Beverly Ferrucci*, Mathematics

2009: Anne-Marie Mallon*, English & Women's Studies

2008: Paul Vincent*, Holocaust and Genocide Studies

2007: Therese Seibert*, Sociology

2006: JoBeth Mullens*, Geography

2005: Gregory Knouff*, History

2004: Neal Pruchansky*, Management

2003: Jan Youga*, English

2002: Ockle Johnson*, Mathematics

2001: Nancy Lory, Special Education

2000: Kenneth Bergman*, Biology

1999: Douglas Nelson, Music

1998: Charles Weed, Political Science

1997: Edith Notman, Theatre

1996: Glenna Mize, Education

1995: Klaus Bayr, Geography

1994: Charles A. Hildebrandt, Sociology

1993: Janet Grayson, English

1992: David Andrews, Psychology

1991: Albert Rydant*, Geography

1990: David Leinster, History

1989: Eleanor Vander Haegen, Sociology

1988: Virginia Trumbull, Special Education

1987: Lawrence Benaquist*, Film Studies

1986: Jo Beth Wolf, Political Science

1985: David White*, Education

1984: Richard Cunningham, English

1983: Norman Silberdick, Management

1982: Hubert Bird, Music

1981: Stephen Stepenuck, Chemistry

1980: Peter Jenkins, Psychology

1979: Michael LeParte, Sociology

1978: Cornelius Lyle II, Journalism

1977: Stephen Smith, Education

1976: Malcom Keddy, English

1975: Henry Freedman, Art

1974: Joan Davis, Social Science

1973: Keith King, Physical Education

1972: Michael Franklin, Education

1971: Ann Peters, Mathematics and Education

*Currently employed at Keene State College.