May 15, 2009 — Graduating student Bowman G. Dickson, information technology specialist Dave Drucker and longtime professor David T. Haberly won this year's University of Virginia Alumni Association awards, which honor a distinguished student, faculty member and employee each year. The association presented the three awards at its annual luncheon held at Alumni Hall last month.
Bowman G. Dickson
Dickson, who graduates from the College of Arts & Sciences on Sunday with degrees in mathematics and Eastern studies, was selected to receive the Ernest H. Ern Distinguished Student Award.
Dickson has been active with the Alternative Spring Break program and was its president this past year. About 550 students participated in 24 domestic missions – many involved with disaster relief – and 19 foreign trips, most of which were in South and Central America. About 85 additional students participated in projects during the winter break and 40 signed up for summer service projects.
The student-run Alternative Spring Break program provides an opportunity to spend a vacation week performing community service.
As a 2007 recipient of a Global Studies Grant, Dickson went to Egypt for Alternative Spring Break to serve in educational and health-related projects in urban and rural areas and to develop his Arabic language skills.
Dickson also served as a first-year production editor on the Cavalier Daily staff.
He was a member of the Sexual Assault Board, composed of faculty, students and staff who promote an understanding of contemporary college life and sexual assault issues in the college community.
This annual Alumni Association student award was established in 1966 and later named in honor of longtime University professor and administrator Ernest H. Ern. The award is conferred annually upon a student who has won recognition in the academic community for leadership and for his or her concern in preserving the traditions of the University.
Though outstanding performance as an athlete, high scholastic standing or participation in student organizations is taken into consideration, the award honors the student who has won the admiration of the University community for significant contributions in several areas of University life – and has excelled in all of them.
Allen W. Groves, dean of students, presented Dickson with the award – an inscribed and framed certificate, life membership in the Alumni Association and $5,000 cash.
Drucker, senior information technology specialist in the dean's office at the Curry School of Education, received the Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award.
Drucker is the chief architect of the school's information technology system and has been instrumental in integrating technology into the teaching, learning and research of faculty, students and staff.
Known throughout the University by IT professionals and others, he is described as "legendary" for his assistance and willingness to help other schools and departments.
Robert Pianta, dean of the Curry School of Education, presented the award to Drucker at the luncheon, a framed certificate of recognition and $5,000 cash.
This annual award was established in 1981 to recognize a member of the University community who has exhibited leadership qualities that serve as an inspiring example to his or her colleagues and other members of the University community.
David T. Haberly
"His teaching is like French toast," wrote one former student in evaluating Haberly, who has taught Portuguese at U.Va. for 36 years and served more than 3,500 students a fare rich in literature and culture.
Students who take all four of his classes say they "minored in Haberly."
An internationally recognized scholar, he has studied Argentine literature, 19th-century American literature and trans-Atlantic culture, as well as Brazilian literature and culture.
With interests ranging from historical issues to pop culture, Haberly also adds personal anecdotes from his time in Brazil. Some of his students have said his style makes them feel like "they've been studying in Rio de Janeiro rather than in Wilson Hall."
"His book on race in Brazil is the gold standard in the field," said David T. Gies, U.Va. Commonwealth Professor of Spanish.
"He worked assiduously to open and maintain a program for students in Brazil and recruited African-American students to join," said Gies, noting that Brazil is the largest black country in the world.
His courses are not made of fleeting calories but full of healthy ingredients that can nourish a lifetime.
"In Haberly's class, learning a 'foreign' language becomes a means to reach deeper self-understanding – understanding that, in turn, is especially possible through dialogue with others," Italian professor Cristina Della Coletta said.
María Inés Lagos, a Spanish professor who is chairwoman of the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese Languages and Literatures, presented the Alumni Association's Distinguished Professor Award to Haberly.
This annual award, established in 1966, is conferred upon a member of the faculty who has, over a period of not less than 10 years, excelled as a classroom teacher, shown unusual concern for students and made significant contributions to the life of the University.
The Alumni Association's Jefferson Trust funded all of the awards.