The Sweet Candy Distinguished Honors Professor is awarded each year in recognition of outstanding pedagogy and student appreciation. Generously endowed by the Sweet Candy company, recipients are selected by the Honors College student body.
2016 Distinguished Honors Professor
L. Jackson “Jack” Newell
I grew up near Dayton, Ohio, migrated west to Deep Springs College near Death Valley at age seventeen, and never got the open spaces out of my system. I tried from time to time, taking an M.A. degree in history and theology at Duke and a Ph.D. in the history and philosophy of universities at Ohio State. I’ve been a professor (and dean for a time) at the University of Utah since 1974, taking time out to serve as president of Deep Springs College from 1995 to 2004. My passion has always been for education in the liberal arts and sciences spirit—to open minds to new ideas and possibilities, to build vigorous learning communities, and to relate learning to living. My most satisfying book, The Electric Edge of Academe: The Saga of Lucien L. Nunn and Deep Springs College, came out in 2015. It culminated ten years of research and writing about the most extraordinary experiment in liberal arts education ever to succeed among American colleges and universities. My memorable experiences include exploring Antarctica, the Alaskan bush, China before modernization, and the Galapagos Islands, as well as climbing the Matterhorn and fighting forest fires during my four college summers.
2015 Distinguished Honors Professor
Honors Professor Andy Hoffmann teaches four sections of Honors writing courses, and has served as a friend and inspiration to Honors students for over 13 years. Professor Hoffmann helps budding writers discover poetry as a deep practice that asks not only for intellectual rigor, but an illumined heart; and encourages them to view literature as a tool to understand the past, uncover future possibilities, and focus on the present to help encounter the intensity of life.
Due to the unique inter and multi-disciplinary nature of Honors students, Professor Hoffmann teaches his students to embrace specialization in a given field, while encouraging them to develop skills that lead to integrated thinking among peers and future colleagues. In this way, students are not only better able to become more adventurous in their contributions to particular scholarly communities, but also take seriously the need to address the public and participate in civil dialog.
Hoffmann’s Honors Courses ask students to value their own personal narratives while engaging in the perspectives of others. Hoffmann finds joy in crossing the wilds in a variety of fashions, reading, woodworking, family, and spending time alone in the mountains. He writes essays, fiction, and poetry, and publishes Elik Press, Salt Lake City.
2014 Distinguished Honors Professor
Honors Professor Ann Engar currently teaches six sections of Honors Intellectual Traditions classes. She was born in Ohio but grew up in southern California. She attended Stanford University as an undergraduate and University of Washington for graduate work in English. Soon after receiving her Ph.D., she moved to the University of Utah where she has enjoyed students for over thirty years.
Teaching is Professor Engar’s passion – she loves seeing students expand their thoughts, sharpen their skills, and work together in learning communities. Her own teaching has transformed from lectures to group discussion and activities, especially role-playing in Reacting to the Past. She coordinates the Intellectual Traditions program, directs and teaches Pre-Law LEAP, serves as a Distinguished Bibliographer for the Modern Language Association, and is an affiliate of the Bennion Center. Engar’s students have rewarded her with many teaching awards, including the University Distinguished Teaching Award and Distinguished Honors Professor twice; the first time was back in 1993, and the second time was in 2014.
2013 Distinguished Honors Professor
A historian of ideas trained at research universities, Bruce Dain slowly developed a different vision of teaching in the small classes and liberal arts community of the University of Utah Honors College, where he was not only allowed, but encouraged to rethink most of what he imagined that he knew about education. His Honors courses attempt to create an atmosphere of faith where students and teachers together follow subtle energies and perceptions, giving up control, emotional detachment, and obsessively narrow specialization. In American Institutions, the History of Physics, and the Creativity and Education Think Tank, instead of formal papers, students produce “think pieces” in any format. Conventional academic narratives, paintings, dances, music, even once a “civil rights cake” shaped like a television (complete with icing antenna, VCR, and remote) to evoke how Martin Luther King and others used the media to make African American equality palatable to the Northern white public.
Bruce received his BA from Yale and his PhD from Princeton and has published one book, A Hideous Monster of the Mind: American Race Theory in the Early Republic, with Harvard University Press (2002). Outside of class, he is passionate about his wife, their three cats and dog, art, writing, tennis, food, and poker.
2012 Distinguished Honors Professor
A first generation college student, Michael Gills earned the B.A. from the University of Arkansas where he won graduate poetry and fiction prizes as an undergraduate. He was Randall Jarrell Fellow in the M.F.A Program at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and received the Ph.D. in English from the University of Utah. His first collection of short fiction, Why I Lie, was published by University of Nevada Press in 2002. It won a Utah Book Prize and was chosen as a top literary debut by The Southern Review. A novel, Go Love, came out in fall 2011 from Raw Dog Screaming Press. A second story collection, The Death of Bonnie and Clyde, was published by Texas Review Press in February 2012, the title story of which won Southern Humanities Review’s Hoepfner Prize for the best story published there in 2010. A twenty-seven time Pushcart Prize nominee, Gills recently completed a third collection of short fiction and is at work on Emergency Instructions, the second novel in his Go Love Quartet. A book length collection of essays, White Indians, won a Utah Arts Book Prize and is currently under review with his publisher. Voted Distinguished Honors Professor for 2012, Gills teaches all levels of Honors writing, including Creative Writing (Honors 3211) which debuted in Spring 2013. Outside of the classroom, Gills gardens, raises backyard chickens, skis in winter then rafts the snowmelt on western rivers including the Grand Canyon, Salmon, San Juan, and Green among others.
2011 Distinguished Honors Professor
Matt Bradley was perhaps most distinguished by his ability to seamlessly blend educational endeavors with community engagement. His discipline was folklore but his core teaching in the Honors College was in writing, where he earned high praise in student evaluations. “Dr. Bradley was very good at getting the whole class engaged . . . [Our assignments] allowed us to practice risk-taking in writing, something that many professors don’t encourage.” Matt Bradley developed Honors classes on Civic Engagement and the Political Process and the Social Construction of Race that took students out of the classroom and into the process of community-based research for Social Change. His inclusive manner was essential in the founding and ongoing success of the Honors College Social Justice Scholars.
2010 Distinguished Honors Professor
Calvin Boardman is the Bill Daniels Chair of Business Ethics and Professor of Finance at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. He has been a member of the faculty since 1977, the year he earned his Ph.D. in finance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to that time, he managed a hotel, was a business systems analyst for a chemical company in Texas, and earned a BA from Graceland College in Iowa and an MBA from the University of Texas at Arlington.
At the University of Utah, he has held a number of administrative positions including Acting Dean, Department Chair, and the Associate Deans for Executive Education, Academic Affairs, and External Affairs respectively. His early research focused strictly on finance and fixed income securities. His later research has maintained its finance focus, but has also expanded to include papers about Cicero and Confucius. Recently, he published an article on the status of ethics in the equipment leasing industry. He has also published a book now in its seventh edition entitled Foundations of Business Thought.
Besides holding teaching appointments in Texas and North Carolina prior to coming to Utah, he has since also taught in Mexico, Kuwait, and Denmark.
Cal serves on the boards of WesTech Corporation, the Indian Walk In Center and the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company. He has previously served on the boards of Advanta Bank Corporation, Utah Issues, Graceland College, The Financial Management Association International, the Holy Cross Ministries Health Care Systems, and North American Weather Consultants.
Lastly, he has been recognized by receiving the University of Utah’s Distinguished Honors Professor Award, the Young Alumni Association Faculty Community Service Award, the O.C. Tanner Corporation’s Everyday Hero Award, the Marvin J. Ashton Teaching Excellence Award, the Presidential Teaching Scholar Award, the Associated Students of the University of Utah’s Students’ Choice Award, and the David Eccles School of Business’ Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, and College of Business Faculty and Community Service Award.