February 11, 2022

Larry O. Cannon Teaching Excellence Award

Old Main "A"

New award to honor extraordinary teachers

By Kelsie Holman, CHaSS Communications Journalist

Thanks to a generous donation by Utah State University alumni Helen B. and Lawrence “Larry” O. Cannon, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences has established the Lawrence O. Cannon Teaching Excellence Award to recognize exemplary teachers who go above and beyond for their students.

Nominations for this award will be accepted from any student, faculty or staff in the college. The announcement of the award will be the culminating moment at the annual CHaSS Awards Ceremony taking place March 24, with the winner receiving $4,000 and a plaque commemorating their achievement. 

“We want to show our faculty members how vital they are to our college. That’s what this is all about. We are recognizing excellent teachers because they create full, rich experiences for their students,” said Joe Ward, CHaSS dean.

 Want to nominate a CHaSS faculty member?

This award was developed to honor Larry’s celebrated university legacy as well as the Cannons’ desire to recognize outstanding teachers in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Adding to their long history of generous student-focused donations, the Lawrence O. Cannon Teaching Excellence Award marks yet another important way the Cannons are giving back to students and the faculty members that shape their experiences at Utah State University.

The Cannons are both deeply passionate about teaching and have previously created honors scholarships that are given to exceptional students whose records show promise for the future. The Helen Cannon Scholarship is awarded to liberal arts and art students, and the Lawrence O. Cannon Scholarship is presented to promising STEM students.

Emily Heaton, a CHaSS development officer, has first-hand experience about the ways that Cannons' generosity has helped CHaSS over the years.

"I feel genuinely lucky to know Larry and Helen Cannon. It is inspiring to see what they have accomplished with their philanthropy over the years. They started giving regularly and modestly to USU over 50 years ago, and now they have created a meaningful award that will last in perpetuity," said Heaton. "What a great legacy!" 

Helen and Larry are both from the Cache Valley area and affectionately refer to it as their "soul home." They fell in love in the valley and decided to come back later in their careers to teach in the place that started their story. Larry was a faculty member in the mathematics and statistics department and cultivated many meaningful relationships with students over the years at USU. Helen was a member of the English department for 13 years starting in 1987. One of her most popular classes was a class focused on The New Yorker magazine, which earned her recognition from the publication itself.

“We’ve been very fortunate in being able to teach long enough to get our own resources to the point where we can give back,” said Larry Cannon.

Any faculty member who has taught for at least five years in CHaSS is eligible for nomination by any student, faculty or staff; self-nominations will be accepted as well. Nominations must include a letter of no more than 500 words that describes the faculty member's sustained teaching successes both inside and outside the classroom, including student impact and outcomes. If available, a CV of no more than 2 pages that highlights the faculty member's accomplishes may also be included. Nominations must be submitted by 12:00 pm on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022.


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