The L. R. Hesler Award is named for a longtime head of the botany department who also served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Hesler’s students, colleagues, and friends established this memorial award to recognize exceptional teaching and service.
Christopher Craig’s career in the Department of Classics spans nearly four decades. He is the author of a book and numerous articles on classical rhetoric and oratory; colleagues view him as one of the top Ciceronian scholars in the country. He is a popular classroom teacher, valued for his ability to engage students and deliver fascinating lectures. He received the first-ever College of Arts and Sciences Cunningham Outstanding Teacher Award in 1999. For years, Craig has served as UT’s liaison with secondary Latin programs in Tennessee, helping to establish a network of committed Latin teachers throughout the state and organizing the Department of Classics’ annual outreach activity, Latin Day. He has served as a National Endowment for the Humanities panelist and as president of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, which awarded him an Ovatio, or lifetime achievement award. He was head of the department from 2011 to 2016, breathing new life into the program while maintaining a full teaching load himself. “Whatever Chris Craig undertakes, he gives it his all,” a colleague wrote, adding that the department, the college, the university, and high school Latin programs throughout Tennessee “have become much stronger because of his 36 years of hard work and selfless dedication.”