DURANT, Okla. – The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence honored five educators with the 2018 Oklahoma Medal for Excellence awards. Among the recipients is Dr. Margaret Cotter-Lynch, English professor and director of the honors program at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She was recognized in the community college/regional university teaching category.
The awards were presented at the foundation’s 32nd annual Academic Awards Banquet on May 19 at the Embassy Suites Conference Center in Norman. The honor includes a monetary award of $5,000 and glass “Roots and Wings” sculpture designed by the late Oklahoma artist Ron Roberts and produced by Tim Brown of Edmond.
Medals are awarded annually to five outstanding Oklahoma teachers, one each at the elementary, secondary, community college/regional university and research university levels. In addition, the foundation presents a Medal for Excellence to an exceptional administrator from the elementary or secondary level.
“We know that education is the best investment Oklahoma can make in its future,” said David L. Boren, founder and chairman of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, a non-profit organization that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in the state’s public schools. “By honoring these exceptional educators, we are sending a message that we deeply value excellence in public schools and the professionals who have given so much of themselves to enrich the lives of our children.”
Cotter-Lynch joined the Southeastern faculty in 2005. She holds her Ph.D. and master’s from the University of Michigan, and a bachelor’s from Brown University.
“Dr. Cotter-Lynch is certainly deserving of this recognition,’’ said Southeastern President Sean Burrage. “Her dedication and enthusiasm in serving her students is admirable and she is truly making a difference in their lives as they work to achieve their educational goals.’’
The following information on Cotter-Lynch is included in the announcement of her selection by the OFE:
She is a scholar on literary theory, Medieval Latin grammar and early Christian theology, but at Southeastern she is best known as an encouraging mentor who helps students discover and pursue their potential.
“My best friend coined the term ‘parentessor’ to describe what I do for a living: half parent, half professor,” said Cotter-Lynch, who serves as an adviser to more than 100 English and Honors students. Many of her students come from rural communities and are first-generation college students. “For me, teaching is not confined to the classroom, nor is it about merely conveying subject-area content. It is about contributing to students’ growth and success as humans.”