Top profs

Two of TCU’s best professors were recognized at fall convocation.

Top profs

Two of TCU’s best professors were recognized at fall convocation.

Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Research and Creative Activity

When Prof. Ralph Behnke received the University’s top award at convocation, the honor afforded him about three minutes in Ed Landreth’s spotlight and a $20,000 grant for his research in the field of communication apprehension and anxiety, of which he showed none.

Behnke used his time not to discuss his work or the fact his colleagues consider him “hands down the leading expert in the country in the field of communication anxiety,” but to pay tribute to his students for providing inspiration for his work and his colleagues for “fuelling the fires.”

As Behnke was being praised for “epitomizing the teacher-scholar model,” he praised those individuals famous and not-so-famous who shaped his life, his career and his education.

“I am perhaps most thankful to Albert Einstein who said, ‘Make things as simple as possible but not any simpler,'” Behnke told the audience. “That’s how I define elegance.”

Wassenich Award for Mentoring

Richard Allen is seldom speechless. But after the Chancellor lauded the contributions that earned him the Wassenich Award for Mentoring in the TCU Community this year, the beloved radio-TV-film professor was so choked up he could do little more than shake Chancellor Michael Ferrari’s hand.

In his nine years at TCU, the Emmy Award-winning Allen has trained in life lessons, challenging his students to reach higher and dream bigger. The individual attention Allen devotes to his students has influenced countless lives.

One student expressed it this way: “To say he has been, and continues to be, a role model in my life simply scratches the surface. He not only spent four years challenging me academically, but he also taught me about taking chances and living the life I’ve wanted.”

The award, established in 1999 by Mark ’64 and Linda Pilcher Wassenich ’65, carries a cash prize of $3,000 and recognizes faculty or staff members who transform the student experience through informal conversation and interactions.