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Released: 03/31/2000

<p> 38-year veteran professor at LSUA has earned the Bolton Award for Teaching Excellence for his commitment to the university and outstanding classroom teaching. Dr. Claude Melebeck, professor of speech, received LSUA&acute;s highest faculty honor at the presentation dinner at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4, at Tunk&acute;s Cypress Inn Restaurant. </p><p> Melebeck, a native of Abbeville, earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (formerly USL) and then his master&acute;s from LSU. He earned his doctoral degree from LSU in 1973. Melebeck served in the U.S. Army from 1958-60 and then joined the faculty at LSUA in September 1961. </p><p> "As evidenced by his student evaluations, Dr. Melebeck has been consistently rated throughout his years at LSUA as one of the best instructors in Liberal Arts," said Dr. Greg Gormanous, head of the Division of Liberal Arts. "Since 1961, Dr. Melebeck has distinguished himself as a teacher and supporter of campus and community programs and activities. During my years as both student and teacher, I would rank Claude among the top college professors that I have known or worked with," Gormanous said. "Particularly impressive is the patient and gentle manner that he uses to successfully draw out the potential of his students, sometimes to their own surprise," said Dr. Eamon Halpin, associate professor of English. "Because he depends more on encouragement and praise than criticism or sarcasm to spur them on, his students have special affection for him. Indeed, it is quite evident that his is one of the most beloved teachers on campus." </p><p> One of the reasons Melebeck is so well-liked by the students is because he works very hard to empathize with them. </p><p> "I think I empathize with students-some say I&acute;m too kind," said Melebeck. "When I decided to teach on the college level, I began to remember the things I did not like about my college I always try to think of how students will react," he said. "I work to balance fairness and compassion for the student&acute;s situation." </p><p> "Because I know all of the people who have been nominated and won the Bolton Award in the past, it is truly an honor to be in that company," Melebeck said. "This is a wonderful culmination of my 38-year career at LSUA." </p><p> While at LSUA, Melebeck has served on numerous committees in addition to maintaining a full teaching load. His committee service has included High School Relations, Courses and Curriculum (Chairman), Committee on Committees (Chair), Scholarship, and Student Grievance (Chair) and many others. He served as acting coordinator for the Arts, English and Humanities section of the Liberal Arts Division, and he also served as a judge for numerous speaking contests at local and regional schools. He has directed local performances for the Matinee Music Club and the Little Theatre. Melebeck has taught non-credit courses as well. </p><p> The Bolton Award for Teaching Excellence was made possible by a gift from the estate of Mrs. James C. Bolton. Mrs. Frances Bolton Davis, a long-time supporter of LSUA and former president of the LSUA Foundation, established the award in 1988. Presented annually to an outstanding faculty member, the Bolton Award is LSUA&acute;s highest faculty honor. The recipient receives a plaque and a cash award. </p><p> Along with the presentation of the Bolton Award to Melebeck, twelve other faculty members were honored during the evening for years of service to the University. Those honored included Dr. Russell Dabbs, Dr. Eamon Halpin and Ms. Beth Lord for five years of service; Ms. Dessie Williams, Ms. Melissa Parks, and Ms. Nelda Jeane for 10 years of service; Dr. Michael Collins, Dr. Douglas Allen and Ms. Patricia Franks for 15 years of service; Ms. Rebecca Gruener and Dr. Larry Herrington for 20 years of service; and Dr. Robert Cavanaugh for 30 years. </p>