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Distinguished faculty honored at USD with 2012 Belbas-Larson Awards

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota will honor two faculty members for their teaching excellence at the 125th Spring Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 5. Cliff H. Summers, department of biology in the College of Arts & Sciences and neuroscience group, division of basic biomedical sciences at the Sanford School of Medicine, and David Hulac, school psychology program in the division of counseling and psychology in the School of Education, are recipients of the 2012 Belbas-Larson Awards for Excellence in Teaching.

In addition to being recognized at USD’s Spring Commencement, they each will receive a $5,000 tribute, a framed certificate commemorating their accomplishment and a commemorative medal. The Belbas-Larson Awards for Excellence in Teaching is the highest honor USD bestows upon its educators.

Honored in the tenured category, Summers, Ph.D., is a professor of biology and neuroscience. He received his bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from Colorado State University (1978), and a master’s degree in reproductive biology (1982) and a Ph.D. in endocrinology from the University of Colorado (1987). He is a previous Belbas-Larson Award recipient (1995) and his research interests investigate the impact of social and environmental stressors on molecular, neural and endocrine responses that influence adaptive behavior and activities like learning, coping, reproduction and social interaction. In addition to having several articles featured in publications such as Neuroscience and Behavioral Brain Research, Summers has given presentations across the United States and throughout the world, including conferences in Washington, D.C., San Diego, Calif., Lisbon, Portugal and Barcelona, Spain. He has been a member of the USD faculty since 1991. A photo of Summers is available for download at

Recognized in the tenure-track category, Hulac, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of psychology within the USD School of Education. He received a B.A. in History and B.S. in Mathematics from Lafayette College (1995), his M.A. in Special Education from the University of Denver (2001), and a Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado (2007). Hulac teaches classes in academic and behavioral assessment, cognitive assessments and multicultural issues in school psychology. His research interests include academic and behavioral assessment and interventions, cognitive assessment and linking assessment to interventions. His articles have appeared in several publications, including Psychology in the Schools, School Psychology Forum and Psychological Assessment. He was also the lead author of the book, “Behavioral Interventions in the Schools: A Response-to-Intervention Guidebook.” Hulac was honored last year with an Exemplary Designation for Teaching by the School of Education. He has been a member of the USD faculty since 2007. A photo of Hulac is available at

The Belbas-Larson Awards were established by a 1956 graduate of USD, Dean Belbas of Edina, Minn. and Sioux Falls, S.D., and his friends, Harold W. and Kathryn Larson of Bemidji, Minn. and Scottsdale, Ariz.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News