Professor Sam Epstein was recently named as an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor. A Thurnau Professorship is the highest honor that the University can bestow upon a faculty member for dedication to and excellence in undergraduate education. The goal of this award is described as follow on the Provost's website:
"This program is designed to honor those tenured faculty whose commitment to and investment in undergraduate teaching has had a demonstrable impact on the intellectual development and lives of their students. The exceptional students coming to the University of Michigan challenge us to create a rich and diverse learning environment in which our very best faculty are an integral part of the undergraduate educational experience. The Thurnau Professorships help to recognize and reward outstanding faculty who devote their attention to this important endeavor."
The title of Thurnau Professor is awarded annually to only five or six tenured faculty from across the whole University. Anyone who has ever had a class with Sam, as well as all of his colleagues, would be in complete agreement that Sam is richly deserving of this title. He has had a profound impact on countless undergraduate students over his years at the University. He is not only a first rate teacher who challenges his students intellectually, but he is also a mentor and friend to his students. We were overwhelmed with letters of support from both current and previous students during the nomination process. We are proud to count one of the best at Michigan as a member of our faculty!
With Sam being named as a Thurnau Professor, Linguistics now joins an elite club of Departments with more than one Thurnau Professor. Professor Robin Queen received this title in 2010.