January 23, 2001

Middlebury College names Thomas Root recipient of the Perkins Award for Excellence in Teaching

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.—Middlebury College has named Professor of Biology Thomas Root the recipient of the 2001 Perkins Award for Excellence in Teaching. At 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13, an award ceremony will be held in Room 104 of Bicentennial Hall on Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125).

The award is given each year to a member of Middlebury College’s natural sciences division, alternating each year between a faculty member in the mathematics and computer science department and a faculty member in one of the other four departments in this division—biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. As the award’s name suggests, it honors outstanding performance as a teacher.

Root earned a bachelor’s of science in biology at the University of Detroit, and a master’s and doctorate in zoology and physiology at the University of Wyoming. From 1974 to 1979, he served at various times as a research assistant, a teaching assistant, and a visiting instructor in biology at the University of Wyoming. In 1979, Root joined the faculty of Middlebury College as assistant professor of biology. In 1985, he became an associate professor and a health professions advisor—positions he held until 1990 when he was named professor. Since then Root has served the College in a variety of capacities, including director of the animal facility, director of the program in neuroscience, and chair of the biology department. He is a member of various scientific and research organizations and the recipient of a number of grants.

The Professor Llewellyn R. Perkins and Dr. Ruth M.H. Perkins Memorial Faculty Research Fund, which provides the award, was made possible by the gift of Dr. Ruth M.H. Perkins, a 1932 Middlebury graduate, in memory of her husband, Professor Llewellyn R. Perkins. Professor Perkins taught at Middlebury College from 1914 until his retirement in 1941. During the course of his tenure at Middlebury, he founded and chaired the mathematics department.

Their children, Marion Perkins Harris, a 1957 Middlebury graduate and science teacher, and Dr. David L. Perkins, a physician, augmented the fund and expanded the scope of the award

to honor their mother, Ruth, as well. She was a Vermont State helping teacher and a professor of math education at Temple University in Philadelphia.

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