Robert C. Thomas - Student Introduction

Helen Sladek
Former student of Robert C. Thomas
2009 Outstanding Baccalaureate Colleges Professor of the Year
Willard Intercontinental Washington Hotel
Nov. 19, 2009

Thank You!

I would like to say that it is very exciting and quite a thrill for me to be here with all of you distinguished educators. And today, I am honored to be introducing everyone to one in particular-my geology professor and friend, Dr. Robert Thomas, from the University of Montana Western.

Dr. Thomas has a natural ability of guiding students through various concepts...meticulously. I had my first class with Dr. Thomas nearly three years ago. One called Depositional Environments. It involved a hands-on field trip to the desert, which acted as a weeklong classroom. He captured our interests, taught us how to explore and motivated us to ask questions to be better interpreters in our projects. He stimulated all of our interests, our passions and sparked an eagerness to learn more. I was hooked after this trip and became confident that environmental science was the degree I wanted and still am pursuing. Each of Dr. Thomas's classes includes intensive research projects (and many miles by foot) which provoke each student to take an interdisciplinary approach. He has encouraged me and many other students to evaluate their own views relating to conservation and politics while all along inspiring scientific integrity.

Professor Thomas is legendary on our campus. He is known as a nationally renowned geologist and the entrepreneur of our campus's successful and distinctive experiential system of taking classes. But perhaps more so (and ask any student), he is celebrated as the best campfire guitar entertainer!

I'm sure many of you have had a teacher in your life who you remember and are grateful of your luck to have been their student. Maybe you remember his or her gestures, tones, words, and more prevalently, their ways of challenging you to be your best. I am thankful for Dr. Thomas's dedication to his students and for his loyalty to providing an extraordinary learning environment. Rob, you have won this award in the minds of students for years.

It is my pleasure to introduce you to the Rock Doctor himself, Professor Robert Thomas.


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