USD presents inaugural Doyle Humanities Teaching Award

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Jill Tyler, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication studies at The University of South Dakota, is the inaugural recipient of the Monsignor James Doyle Humanities Teaching Award.

Presented by the College of Arts and Sciences at The U, Tyler was honored with the award and a $500 cash prize at the Phi Beta Kappa initiation/Lifto Amundson Lecture on April 16.

"She contributes in so many ways to the instructional mission of the University," Matthew C. Moen, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said of Tyler. “She receives excellent evaluations from students, teaches interdisciplinary courses that serve the University, mentors individual students, and embodies the values of the humanities within the liberal arts and sciences."

Made possible thanks to a gift from Monsignor James Michael Doyle, former chair of religious studies at USD and a prominent theologian inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame, the Doyle Award will be awarded annually to an outstanding teacher in the Humanities Division of the College of Arts and Sciences.

"We are grateful to Monsignor Doyle for his generous gift that established the Humanities Teaching Award in the College of Arts and Sciences in perpetuity," stated Moen. "An award-winning teacher while at USD, Monsignor Doyle recognizes the important role of a strong humanities faculty in the personal and intellectual development of our young people."

Doyle was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Sioux Falls in 1957. After serving at parishes in Mitchell, S.D., and Centerville, S.D., he studied at the University of San Francisco. In 1967, he was appointed as chair of religious studies at The U. During his tenure at USD, the monsignor was elected by the student body as “Outstanding Teacher of the Year” twice, and he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in India. In 1979, his last year at The U, he was chosen by faculty to receive the annual Distinguished Service Award. In 2004, USD awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.