Benedictine faculty recognized for teaching, research and service

June 2, 2016

Lisle, Illinois ~ Six faculty members were named recipients of the 2015-16 Benedictine University Faculty Awards, including (pictured right) Vince Gaddis, Ph.D., professor of History, who was awarded the Judith Ann Whinfrey Distinguished Faculty Award for Leadership.  

Faculty awards recognize significant achievements in the areas of teaching, research and service which serve as models for all faculty members. Faculty members are nominated by members of the Benedictine University community (faculty, staff, administration and students). Each nomination includes at least three letters attesting to the exemplary teaching, research or service of the nominees.

The academic deans recommend the award winners, and the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs makes the final decision regarding the award recipient.

Whinfrey was a member of the board of directors of Hewitt Associates, chair of the board of Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, a board member of S&C Electric Company of Chicago and a trustee of Benedictine University until her passing in 2010. The award named in her honor recognizes a faculty member who has provided exceptional leadership during their tenure.

Gaddis is responsible for organizing a litany of events at Benedictine, including the Faith and Reason Symposium, the Global Studies Forum and Black History Month. He collaborated with the Department of Languages and Literature to secure two grants for the development of the Chinese and Arabic Studies concentrations within the Global Studies major, and advises a number of student organizations.  

"His passion, enthusiasm and intellect are readily apparent when he stands before a crowd of eager young minds," said María de la Cámara, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Benedictine. "It is virtually impossible to not take away some form of insight or new idea after hearing him speak."

Also recognized among faculty were William Scarlato, M.F.A. (Fine Arts), who was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching; Susan Cheng, Ph.D. (Public Health) and Jean Marie-Kauth, Ph.D. (English Language and Literature, and Core Humanities), who were awarded the Distinguished Faculty Award for Research; and (pictured below) Richard Campbell, Ph.D. (Teacher Education Preparation) and Allen Legutki, Ph.D. (Music), who were presented the Distinguished Faculty Award for Internal Service.

Scarlato has been a professor of Fine Arts at Benedictine for more than 25 years. His own art is displayed throughout the University and frequently appears at galleries throughout the Chicago area. But more importantly, he inspires his students, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in art and teaching.

"Bill is passionate about his discipline and serious about his craft, and foremost, he is serious about how he imparts artistic principles to the young minds who come to our institution to learn," de la Cámara said. "His teaching excellence comes through his ability to lift a student's performance."

Cheng is an assistant professor and chair in the Department of Public Health. Her contributions toward growing the research footprint of the department have been critical to the continued accreditation of the Master of Public Health program by the national Council for Education on Public Health.

"The scope of her work ranges from the outcomes of medical procedures to the analysis of public health data," de la Cámara said. "She has paid particular attention to health and health services among indigenous Americans, implications of sexual behaviors and recreational drug use. In short, she has been active in the major concerns of public health today."

An associate professor of Literature and Humanities. Kauth's ongoing research has focused on the environment. She maintains an influential blog titled "Poisoning Our Children" at, which is dedicated to exploring and analyzing contemporary research on environmental toxins, and serves as a regular source on environmental issues for "60 Minutes."

"Jean-Marie is determined to break the silence about new and very real threats to human health in the air we breathe and the water we drink," de la Cámara said.

Campbell's responsibilities in the Teacher Education program have changed and expanded during his tenure. He currently serves as assistant department chair and licensure officer, and successfully led the School of Education through its recent state accreditation.

"Richard always puts the student first in every decision," de la Cámara said. "He is very patient, and takes the time to make sure that information is clearly understood by faculty and students. His contributions in terms of time and commitment epitomize Benedictine values."
Legutki directs the concert and pep bands at Benedictine, conducts the musical ensembles for Commencement and the academic honors awards ceremony, and has helped grow the music culture at the University.

"Al is one of the hardest-working faculty members at Benedictine," de la Cámara said. "He has motivated our student musical ensembles to achieve excellence. He infuses love for what he does, and its effect spreads out to the whole community."

Benedictine also announced the promotion of seven faculty members. Promoted to professor were Timothy Marin, Ph.D. (Chemistry/Biochemistry) and Niina Ronkainen, Ph.D. (Chemistry/Biochemistry). Promoted to associate professor were Steven Day, Ph.D. (Foreign Languages), Anthony DeLegge, Ph.D. (Mathematics), Philip Hardy, Ph.D. (Political Science), and Ellen Ziliak, Ph.D. (Mathematics).

Michael Manning, Ph.D. (Values-Driven Leadership), was granted tenure.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the fifth consecutive year in 2015. A 2016 PayScale Inc. report ranked BenU one of the top 10 colleges in Illinois for return on investment and in the top 20 percent nationally. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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