Dr. Dennis Cremin, professor of history and director of the Lewis University History Center, was awarded the Lewis University Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award by Lewis University. He was recognized for how he engages students, where he brings his discipline to life and what he does to impact his students’ educational experience. His students graduate from Lewis University with real world experience and skills, a greater appreciation for history and a newfound value for sense of place.
Established in 1993, the Distinguished Lasallian Educator Award is presented each year to faculty members who exemplify the highest level of Lasallian values to students, colleagues and community members. The award is named for Saint John Baptist de La Salle, founder of the Christian Brothers—the religious congregation that sponsors Lewis University—and whose work is modeled in the values of the university mission.
“Through his teaching, Dennis models the kind of personal interaction with students, mastery of subject matter, and innovative pedagogy that typifies what we value most in Lasallian educators,” Dr. Kurt Schackmuth, vice president for Mission and Academic Services, said when presenting the award. “He engages and inspires students, incorporates real-life experiences and values into his coursework and challenges students to think outside the box – and outside the classroom.”
An adept storyteller, Cremin is known for his ability to bring history to life in the form of local, national and international field trips, excursions and travel study experiences, as well as through museum exhibits, publications and lectures.
“Despite his involvement in so many different projects, he never takes the credit alone,” Schackmuth said. “He almost always involves students from his classes, giving them the opportunity to explore different forms of research, conduct interviews, handle historic artifacts, work in museums, write interpretation materials for public and historic sites and meet influential and engaging public figures and fellow historians.”
His recent book, “Grant Park: The Evolution of Chicago's Front Yard,” which was the result of many years of research and hard work, was just named Book of the Year by the Illinois State Historical Society.
His latest class project was a Joliet Area Historical Museum exhibit, “The Emergence of Modern Joliet.” Cremin served as curator and involved 28 students from three courses in the recently opened exhibit. It incorporated students, faculty, and staff from the Lewis University History Center as well as a faculty colleague from another department. The exhibit will also be on display from June 16-July 11 in The Brent and Jean Wadsworth Family Gallery, located on Lewis University’s main campus in Romeoville.
Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,600 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.
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