Herman to receive Byler Distinguished Faculty Award

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Richard “Buzz” Herman, an award-winning University of Central Missouri professor, is set to receive the 2013 Byler Distinguished Faculty Award during an award reception from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25 in the Art Center Gallery.
The longtime chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance will also be recognized during morning and afternoon Spring Commencement exercises Saturday, May 11 in the Multipurpose Building. These events are open to the public.
The Byler Award is considered the most prestigious recognition for UCM faculty members. It is named for William H. Byler, an inventor, author and teacher who graduated from UCM in 1927 with a major in chemistry and physics. He established an endowment fund to provide annual recognition for distinguished faculty performance, scholarly or creative activity and professional service.
Individuals working with Herman describe him as a resourceful and creative teacher, artist, critic, as well as accomplished actor and director who has garnered many professional accolades. Such honors include more than 20 Meritorious Achievement awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, the Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Wayne Brown Award for Outstanding Teaching from the Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri.
In a letter of support for Herman, 12 of his colleagues lauded him as a superlative role model and “one of our greatest teachers” at UCM. They noted, “He works to inspire the imagination, encourage inquiry and critical thought, and help students realize their own creative vision.”
Herman joined UCM in 1987 as an assistant professor and climbed the faculty ranks over 14 years to become a full professor and department chair. In 2010, he became the first person to be awarded the title of Meridith Harmon Sauer Endowed Professor of Theatre and Dance.
To advance the education of UCM students in recent years, Herman led his department in creating new faculty positions, developing a dance program, adding a new Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in musical theatre, and improving the Bachelor of Science in Education in Speech Communication and Theatre. Most recently, he helped the university to obtain full institutional accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Theatre.
Herman said it is a humbling experience to be named among those he has worked with and who have helped him grow professionally.
“To be nominated by the theatre and dance faculty and staff is a tremendous compliment and I am proud to work with such a wonderful group of talented teachers, artists and dedicated professionals,” he said. “This award is also special because my former theatre faculty mentors Dr. Ed See and David Peerbolte are also recipients of the Byler Award. It is a privilege to share this honor with them.”