West Liberty University students presented Dr. David J. Thomas with its Professor of the Year Award recently. The presentation was made at the annual Honors Convocation by the President of the Student Government Association LeeAnne Yeater.
“I am very grateful for but also humbled by the award. This is my fourth time to win the award during my tenure at West Liberty. Because the award comes from the student body, it is especially meaningful to me,” Thomas said. Students nominate their favorite professor and votes are counted to select the honoree.
“Our Hilltopper students are the University: without them, we could not exist. And I think that the students—particularly the Student Government and its associates—have appreciated my work regarding recycling programs, shuttle-programs, as well as my availability, my approachability, my humor, and my style of teaching. To me, there is no higher honor than to be recognized by the student body for the work that I have enjoyed doing for over a third of a century now. I feel quite honored, and I genuinely thank the students for acknowledging my commitments to WL,” he said.
A native of Burgettstown, Pa., Thomas has taught at West Liberty since 1985 and previously served two years as interim chairman of the Department of Humanities. Besides his Professor of the Year awards, he received the Faculty Development Achievement Award for publications and presentations in 1993-1994, and the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2000-2001.
Thomas is a 1975 alumnus of West Liberty and earned bachelor’s degrees in both English and history at WLU. He then earned a Master’s of Arts in American Literature degree at Marshall University in 1977 and a Doctor of Modern American Literature degree from West Virginia University in 1992.
Thomas is the author of the 1998 book of poetry, “… Only the Trying …” He also is known in the region for his poetry reading, and is a frequent guest at Ohio County Public Library Lunch with Books program and the Wheeling Arts Fest.
He currently serves as chairman of the WLU Green Initiatives committee, which sponsored the first annual West Liberty University Environmental Education Day this past April.
This past November, he graduated from the Masters Naturalist Program, co-sponsored by the Good Zoo at Oglebay and the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources
He also has taught at Eastern Kentucky University, Marshall University, Glenville State and Wheeling Colleges (now Wheeling Jesuit University).
Thomas resides in Wheeling, with his wife, Edye, and dog, Cerby.