By Madelyn Montgomery

Dr. Theresa Ast, professor of history and Reinhardt faculty since 1998, was awarded the Elizabeth Moss Bailey award for the impression that she leaves on students in and out of the classroom as she has pursued excellence in teaching and inspiring her students.

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On April 9, Ast was honored at An Evening of Honors with the Elizabeth Moss Bailey Award, which is selected by the student body. This award was named after a long-time former faculty member, Elizabeth Moss Bailey ’28, who was a distinguished alumna of Reinhardt and was among the people that started the work-study program, of which many students now benefit from.

Student body president, Levi Cochran said, “Dr. Ast has been commended for not only being a great professor, but also an excellent mentor and friend to her students.  She has shown through her passion for teaching just what it means to be awarded the Elizabeth Moss Bailey award. I am deeply honored to have been able to give her this award both as a student leader and as one of her students.”

“Receiving the Elizabeth Moss Bailey award was a great surprise and extremely gratifying,” Ast stated. “In college and graduate school, I was fortunate to have some amazing teachers who knew their academic material, but were also interested in society and culture and art, and really believed in encouraging students to engage with the world around them, to pursue learning for its own sake. That is the kind of professor I have wanted and tried to be.”

With a strong belief in roots, Dr. Ast frequently equates her success to the example that her parents set for her. With her mother being an English teacher, and her father being in the U.S. Air Force after emigrating from Poland, they fiercely believed in helping others and raising their children to contribute both kindness and knowledge to society. This upbringing certainly set the tone for Dr. Ast’s teaching and interaction with students.

“Students don’t always give professors a lot of feedback, so receiving the Elizabeth Moss Bailey Award encourages me to think, perhaps I have been successful in the classroom.”