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The Belbas-Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching is the highest honor USD bestows upon its educators.

The annual award recognizes one tenured and one tenure-track faculty member at the spring commencement with a $5,000 tribute.

The Belbas-Larson Awards were established by a 1956 graduate of USD, Dean Belbas of Edina, Minnesota, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a former vice president of General Mills and former chairman of the board of the USD Foundation, and his close friends, Harold W. and Kathryn Larson of Scottsdale, Arizona.

Award Criteria (in rank order):

  1. Demands rigor and high standards of performance for her/himself and for students
  2. Inspires students to greater achievement
  3. Ensures course content represents the highest standards in the field
  4. Maintains involvement with students outside the classroom
  5. Receives highly positive evaluations by current or former students
  6. Shows evidence of continuing professional development, and
  7. Demonstrates improved teaching technique.

2019 Winners

  • Christopher Meyer, honored in the tenured category, is an associate professor of art and head of the sculpture program at the USD College of Fine Arts. His professional background includes exhibiting sculpture and installations nationally and regionally, presenting his work at various cast iron art conferences and symposiums across the nation and conducting cast iron art performances also at a national level. Meyer earned his Master of Fine Arts in Studio Arts - Sculpture from the University of Montana in 2003, and he is an alumnus of the USD College of Fine Arts, where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art - Sculpture in 2000. His artwork ranges from abstracted, or non-objective, to representational sculpture in a variety of materials and processes, installation and cast iron performance. His teaching interests include all aspects of sculpture ranging from cast metals, metal fabrication, forging, wood carving, wood fabrication, plastics, mixed media, fibers, digital applications, mold-making, modeling, interactive work, installation and performance art. Meyer hosts The Little Pour on the Prairie each summer, which is an annual iron pour at his home studio, and he is also a member of the board of directors for the Western Cast Iron Art Alliance.
  • Prentiss Clark is an assistant professor of English in the Department of English in the College of Arts & Sciences and was honored in the tenure-track category. Clark received her Doctor of Philosophy from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2014. Her teaching and research interests range widely in American literature, literature and philosophy and the value of the humanities for human existence and civic life. Some of her favorite courses include Honors English, Ethics in Literature, Introduction to Criticism, and seminars in 19th-century American literature. She is currently completing “Ralph Waldo Emerson: A Literary Companion” for McFarland publishers and working on a monograph titled “Measures of Intimacy: Emerson to Du Bois to Baldwin.”

Past Winners

Year Tenure Tenure-Track
 2018 Chaya Gordon-Bland
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Theatre
Paul Lombardi
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Music
2017 Jason Porter
Beacom School of Business
Div. of Accounting and Finance 
David Lane
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Anthropology and Sociology
2016 Cassandra McKeown
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Political Science/Criminal Justice
Kathryn Birkeland
Beacom School of Business
Div. of Economics and Decision Sciences
2015
Tracelyn Gesteland
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Music
Sarah Sik
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Art
2014
Jacob Kerby
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Biology
David Holdhusen
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Music
2013 Angeline Lavin
Beacom School of Business
Dept. of Finance
Thomas Horton
School of Law
2012 Cliff Summers
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Biology
David Hulac
School of Education
Div. of Counseling & Psychology in Education
2011 Joseph Vitt
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Chemistry
Michael Allgrunn
Beacom School of Business
Div. of Economics, Decision Sciences & Statistics
2010 De Vee Dykstra
Beacom School of Business
Div. of Marketing, Management & Business Law
Candace Walton
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Contemporary Media & Journalism
2009 Thomas Davies
Beacom School of Business
Div. of Accounting
David Carr
Beacom School of Business
Div. of Economics
2008 Chris Hutton
School of Law
Amy Schweinle
School of Education
Div. of Counseling & Psychology in Education
2007 Michael Roche
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Political Science
David Moskowitz
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Music
2006 Christina Keller
College of Arts & Sciences
Gregory Huckabee
School of Business
Dept. of Marketing
2005 Susan Gray
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Music
Elizabeth Smith
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Political Science
2004 John M. Banasiak
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Music
Terry A. Robertson
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Communication Studies
2003 Judith Sebesta
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of History
Harry Freeman
School of Education
Div. of Counseling & Psychology in Education
2002 Charles Thatcher
School of Law
Douglas A. Peterson
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Psychology
2001 Steven J. Bucklin
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of History
Norma C. Wilson
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of English
2000 Angeline Lavin
School of Business
Div. of Economics
Barbara Yutrzenka
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Psychology
1999 Paul Cherry
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Music
Laura Horton
School of Education
Alcohol & Drug Abuse Studies
1998 Frank Pommersheim
School of Law
Susan Swan
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Speech Communication
1997 Lana Danielson
School of Education
Div. of Curriculum and Instruction
Jack Sumner
School of Education
Div. of Educational Administration
1996 Bruce May
School of Business
Div. of Business Law
Robert Wood
School of Education
Div. of Curriculum and Instruction
1995 David H. Moen
School of Business
Div. of Economics, Decision Sciences & MIS
Cliff Summers
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Biology
1994 Frank J. Aiello
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Music
Linda A. Good
School of Education
Div. of Curriculum and Instruction
1993 Thomas A. Holme
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Chemistry
Andrew Karantinos
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Mathematical Sciences
1992 Dennis A. Johnson
School of Business
Div. of Economics, Decision Sciences & MIS
Timothy Case
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Theatre
1991 Diane B. Hoadley
School of Business
Div. of Accounting & Business Law
Linda J. Reetz
School of Education
Div. of Curriculum & Instruction