The presenters of the William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence came to surprise the first of five winning teachers during their lecture on Monday.
“The Veterinary School and Animal Sciences, we’re kind of stuck on the other side of campus. And sometimes I think no one knows we’re here," Tim Evans, associate professor of toxicology in the MU Campus of Veterinary Medicine said. "Apparently, you found us, so that is good."
Mike Middleton, MU’s Deputy Chancellor, and Jim Schatz, chairman of Commerce Bank, honored Evans the opening award at the Veterinary Medical Building. Schatz handed Evans the award, a $10,000 check. He then gave it to his wife and son, who were in attendance as well.
“He’s been described as a passionate and dynamic teacher by students… and his colleagues," Middleton said. "I’m proud to announce this morning that he is the recipient, the first recipient this year, of the William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence."
Evans was truly pleased to receive the award, as his humor could not mask his teary eyes.
“I’m a book short of words, but it means so much," Evans said. "I just think that this College of Veterinary Medicine does a wonderful job of teaching."
Evans is known for his superhero alter-ego he calls “The Antidote.” He has made dozens of trips on the elevators in the Bond Life Sciences Building dressed in a mask and a cape. The point of this is to help students understand they are supposed to “treat the patient, not the poison.”
“I love to teach students and I think it’s so critical that we try to bring what we do to life," Evans said. "And I love MU. MU gave me the opportunity to come back into academia and fulfill my dreams.”
Throughout the presentation, Evans made joke after joke, as there were laughs from students and the rest of the crowd.
“He is known for his sense of humor,” Middleton said.
Evans said he wanted to be a standup comic, but that didn't work.
“So, this is the next best thing," Evans said. "So, this is great. I’m extremely honored and humbled. I guess with that I’ll go ahead with my lecture."
Three other teachers will be presented with the Kemper award on Tuesday. The last teacher will receive hers later this week.
Commerce Bank manages the Kemper Fellowships trust fund. The fund started in 1991.
William T. Kemper is a 1926 MU graduate who was well known for his civic leadership in Kansas City. He also worked in top positions in banking for more than 50 years in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.