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Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt Selected for 2024 Mentzer Award for Inspirational Teaching

Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt poses for a photo with Susan Mentzer-Blair ’72.

Professor of English and Director of the Shepherd University Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt was selected as the recipient of the 2024 Mentzer Award for Inspirational Teaching (MAIT). All Shepherd students were invited to nominate a professor for this award who made a difference in their life or the life of a classmate. Dr. Shurbutt was nominated by six Shepherd students.

“The Mentzer award is very special because it is an award from those whom we teach, from our students, the people who make what we do, the words we say, the programs we create, meaningful and worthwhile,” explained Dr. Shurbutt. “I am deeply honored to have received this award and will treasure it always.”

Sherri Janelle presents Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt with the Mentzer Award for Inspirational Teaching at the Faculty Awards Ceremony.

The MAIT was created by Shepherd alumna Susan Mentzer-Blair ’72 and her husband, William “Bill” Blair, to honor a full-time professor recognized by Shepherd students for being particularly inspiring and having a profound effect on their students. Sue’s brother, Dr. John Thomas “Tom” Mentzer, served as inspiration for the award. Tom received a similar accolade from his Ph.D. candidate students at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he held the Bruce Chair of Excellence in the business department. The MAIT honors Sue’s brother, who passed away in 2010, as well as her mother, who followed in 2014. A portion of each of their estates was used to create this unique recognition.

Sue Mentzer-Blair is a retired school counselor with Frederick County Public Schools in Maryland, and also serves as a director emerita on the Foundation’s board of directors and as a member of the Shepherd University Board of Governors. Bill Blair is also a retired educator, having taught history and worked as a school counselor with Jefferson County Public Schools in West Virginia.

This year’s presentation marks the eighth award of the MAIT. Previous recipients include Dr. Timothy Nixon, associate professor of English (2017); Dr. Stephanie Slocum-Schaffer, associate professor of political science (2018); Dr. Geraldine Crawley-Woods, professor of social work (2019); Dr. Benjamin Bankhurst, assistant professor of history (2020); Dr. Samuel Greene, assistant professor of political science and global studies (2021); Dr. Chiquita Howard Bostic, associate professor of sociology (2022); and Dr. Matthew Kushin, professor of communication (2023).