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Distinguished Scholar of the Year

Professor at the board, Professors with students on-on-one

The Distinguished Scholar of the Year award honors a faculty member for outstanding achievement in the area of research and creative activity. The award is granted to a faculty member based on their distinction as a scholar as demonstrated through work that might include, but is not limited to: books and other major publications, major musical compositions, major works of art, and other scholarly or creative work that has had a major impact on a field. The award is meant to recognize distinctive achievement in the past year in the context of a successful career and ongoing research agenda. 

Beginning in 2017, this faculty award honors Loyola’s commitment to academic excellence and the highest standards of scholarship in a given field. It joins the Distinguished Teacher of the Year as a status conferred upon a tenured colleague. Selection is based on department nominations to a small committee of academic leaders and past award recipients. The recipient will be announced on Maryland Day. Colleagues who have been nominated in the past may be re-nominated. Colleagues can only receive the award once.

Nominate a Colleague

Current Awardee

2024 - John Burger, economics Headshot Dr. John Burger

John D. Burger is Professor of Economics in the Sellinger School of Business at Loyola University Maryland. After earning a B.S. from Wake Forest University and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Professor Burger joined the economics faculty at Loyola in 1999. His research focuses primarily on financial globalization with a particular interest in issues facing emerging market economies. He has published over twenty journal articles many of which are heavily cited in the academic literature. Professor Burger’s most recent publications appeared in the top journals in his field: Journal of Monetary Economics and Journal of International Economics. Over the course of his career Professor Burger has presented his research at central banks and policy institutions around the world, served as a consultant to the OECD, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank; and most recently served as a visiting scholar at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland and De Nederlandsche Bank in Amsterdam. Professor Burger’s research informs his teaching (courses in Monetary Economics and International Financial Economics) and his mentoring of Loyola students who have been highly successful in regional and national Fed Challenge competitions.

Past Awardees

2023 - Amy Becker, communicationamy becker

Amy B. Becker (B.A. Brown University; M.A. & Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison) is a Professor of Communication. She joined the Loyola University Maryland faculty in 2014. 

Her research focuses on four areas in the field of communication: (1) the effects of exposure and attention to political comedy and entertainment, (2) public opinion and citizen participation on controversial political issues, (3) new media and youth political engagement, and (4) public engagement with science. 

She has published in a variety of top-tier communication and interdisciplinary social science journals including, Human Communication Research, Information, Communication & Society, The International Journal of Press/Politics, The International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Mass Communication & Society, Political Communication, Public Opinion Quarterly, Science Communication, and Social Media + Society. 

Becker co-edited a 2018 book entitled, Political Humor in a Changing Media Landscape: A New Generation of Research (Lexington Books).

 Becker served as an editor of, The International Journal of Public Opinion Research from 2018-2021. 

Becker teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at Loyola including CM203: Introduction to Communication, CM316D: Travel Reporting, CM342D: Media, Culture, & Society, and CM368: Entertainment, Media, & Politics.

2022 - Frederick Bauerschmidt, theologyfrederick bauerschmidt

Frederick Christian Bauerschmidt (B.A. University of the South; M.A. Yale Divinity School; Ph.D. Duke University), Professor of Theology, has taught at Loyola since 1994. His research encompasses both medieval and modern Catholic theology, particularly the connection of theology, spirituality, and ethics. His books include Julian of Norwich and the Mystical Body Politics of Christ (Notre Dame, 1999) and Thomas Aquinas: Faith Reason and Following Christ (Oxford, 2013), as well as books for non-academic readers, such as Why the Mystics Matter Now (Sorin Book, 2003) and The Love That is God: An Invitation to Christian Faith (Eerdmans, 2020). His translation of and commentary on selections from Thomas Aquinas, The Essential Summa Theologiae: A Reader and Commentary (Baker Academic, 2021 [2nd ed.]), is widely used in the teaching of Thomas Aquinas. In addition to his books, he is the author of over fifty scholarly articles and book chapters. He is ordained to the Diaconate for the Archdiocese of Baltimore and recently published a collection of homilies entitled How Beautiful the World Could Be: Christian Reflections on the Everyday (Eerdmans, 2022).

2021 - Brett Davis, philosophybrett davis, professor of philosophy

Bret W. Davis joined the Philosophy Department at Loyola Maryland University in 2005, and since 2019 has served as the T. J. Higgins, S.J. Chair in Philosophy. He teaches classes in Asian, Western, and cross-cultural philosophy, and also directs The Heart of Zen Meditation Group on campus. In addition to attaining a Ph.D. in philosophy from Vanderbilt University, he has studied and taught for more than a year in Germany and thirteen years in Japan. Having passed the highest Japanese government language exam in 1994, he studied Buddhist thought at Otani University and completed the coursework for a second Ph.D. in Japanese philosophy at Kyoto University in 1996–2004, while also undergoing rigorous training at a Zen monastery. He has lectured in more than a dozen countries, and his work has been translated into six languages. In addition to authoring more than seventy-five scholarly articles in English and in Japanese, he has authored, translated, or edited nine books, most recently The Oxford Handbook of Japanese Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2020), and Real Zen for Real Life (Great Courses, 2020). In 2015, he received the Nachbahr Award for his outstanding scholarly contributions to the humanities.

2020 - Robert Miola, English

Robert S. Miola, B.A. Fordham, Ph.D. University of Rochester, is the Gerard Manley Hopkins Professor of English and a Lecturer in Classics at Loyola University Maryland, where he has taught for several decades. He has edited Ben Jonson, most recently The Case is Altered for the Cambridge edition, and has just won the 2019 Beverly Rogers award for his article on Jonson and Lucian. He has edited several Shakespeare plays, The Comedy of Errors and Much Ado about Nothing, and most recently Macbeth and Hamlet for Norton. Miola has published extensively on early modern receptions of Greek and Latin writers—Aristophanes, Sophocles, Euripides, Plautus, Terence, Seneca, Vergil, and others, and has just brought out an edition of Chapman's Iliad (2017), nominated for Book of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement. Another major interest is Early Modern Catholicism, on which he has published an anthology of primary sources (Oxford, 2007), and a number of articles. He has also written Shakespeare’s Rome (Cambridge, 1983), Shakespeare and Classical Tragedy (Oxford, 1992), Shakespeare and Classical Comedy (Oxford, 1994), and Shakespeare’s Reading (Oxford, 2000), among other works.

2019 - David Rivers, biologydavid rivers, professor of biology

David Rivers is Professor of Biology and Director of Forensic Studies at Loyola University Maryland.  He received his B.S. in Biology from Ball State University, a Ph.D. in Entomology with a concentration in Insect Physiology from the Ohio State University, and was a NIH post-doctoral fellow in Cellular and Molecular Parasitology at the University of Wisconsin. He joined the faculty at Loyola in 1994, was named the Harry Rodgers III Teacher of the Year in 1999 and has served as chair of the biology department on two occasions. He is a member of the North American Forensic Entomology Association, Entomological Society of America, and American Academy of Forensic Sciences. He also is co-author of the critically acclaimed textbook The Science of Forensic Entomology and conducts research in several areas involving necrophagous flies and parasitic wasps as they relate to legal investigations.

2018 - Jiyuan Tao, mathematics and statisticsdr. jiyuan tao

Jiyuan Tao joined the Loyola faculty in 2004 in the department of mathematics and statistics, was tenured and promoted to associate professor in 2010 and promoted to full professor in 2015. He came to Loyola right after he received his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics, University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His research field is in optimization and focuses on complementarity problems over symmetric cones and Euclidean Jordan algebras. He has been published in numerous prestigious peer-reviewed journals including Mathematical Programming, Mathematical Operations Research, and Linear Algebra and its Applications. He was an invited speaker in various international meetings. He has been a reviewer for several reputed journals like Mathematical Programming, SIAM Optimization, Journal of Linear Algebra and its Applications, Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications. His recent joint paper “On perturbation bounds of eigenvalues in Euclidean Jordan Algebras” with Kevin Seltzer (a former Loyola student and now a Ph.D. student at Washington University in St. Louis) has been published in the Journal of Linear and Multilinear Algebra which is one of the three top tier journals in the linear algebra society.

2017 - David Binkley, computer Science david binkley

David Binkley is a professor of computer science at Loyola University Maryland where he has worked since earning his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991. While at Loyola he has been a visiting faculty researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), worked with Grammatech Inc. on CodeSurfer development, been a member of the Crest Centre at Kings' College London, and recently spent a year in Oslo working with colleagues at Simula Research. Dr. Binkley's research, partially funded by NSF, focuses on supporting software engineers through better tool support. Recent highlights include his 2006 paper, "What's in a Name," co-authored with Dawn Lawrie, Christopher Morrell, and Henry Feild (then a Loyola student), receiving the Most Influential Paper award at the 2016 International Conference on Program Comprehension.