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Dr. Samuel Greene selected for 2021 Mentzer Award for Inspirational Teaching

The Foundation congratulates Dr. Samuel Greene, assistant professor of political science and global studies, on being chosen as this year’s recipient of the Mentzer Award for Inspirational Teaching (MAIT). All Shepherd students are invited to nominate a professor for the award and briefly describe how he or she has made a difference in their life or the life of a classmate. Dr. Greene received nominations from three different Shepherd students: Jonathan Biedler,  Jordan Jalil, and Alyssa Nazarok.

“Dr. Greene is such an impressive professor as he pushes every student to do their best in the classroom while making it clear how much he cares about their well-being,” said Alyssa. “He truly makes an impact on all students he teaches and serves as an inspiration to all that are fortunate enough to meet him or have him as a professor.”

The recognition came as a happy surprise to Dr. Greene.

“It is a great privilege to receive recognition from such an exceptional group of students,” he said. “Working with outstanding and dedicated students like Alyssa, Jonathan, and Jordan is one of the great joys of the professorial vocation. They have made a fantastic impact in their time at Shepherd within the Department of Political Science, Global Studies, and Geography and in the greater university community.”

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 his or her students. Sue’s brother, Dr. John Thomas “Tom” Mentzer, served as inspiration for the award. Tom received a similar accolade from his PhD 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. Bill Blair is also a retired educator, having taught history and worked as a school counselor with Jefferson County Public Schools in West Virginia.

“Bill and I spent our careers as educators – we know the value of a teacher who can connect with and inspire students,” said Sue. “It’s obvious that Dr. Greene is such a professor, and we hope that he’ll enjoy this perhaps unexpected but well-deserved tribute.”

This year’s presentation marks the fifth 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); and Dr. Benjamin Bankhurst, assistant professor of history (2020).

“I am humbled to be numbered among the distinguished group of colleagues who have preceded me in receiving the MAIT award as I know the profound impact that professors like Tim, Stephanie, Geri, and Ben have made on their students,” said Dr. Greene.

The MAIT is typically presented at Shepherd’s Annual Student Recognition Day ceremony; however, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s student and faculty award recipients were honored virtually.