Schreyer Honors College honors faculty with teaching, advising awards

University Park, Pa. — The coordinator of an interdepartmental major in the College of Agricultural Sciences and an Eberly College of Science faculty member who has taught the honors General Biochemistry course for more than 20 years were recognized Thursday (Sept. 25) by the Schreyer Honors College during its annual awards ceremony.

Lester C. Griel Jr., a professor of veterinary science in the College of Agricultural Sciences, received the 2008 Excellence in Honors Advising Award. Teh-hui Kao, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the Eberly College of Science, was named the recipient of the 2008 Excellence in Honors Teaching Award. Students currently enrolled in the Schreyer Honors College nominate faculty for these awards.

“Dr. Griel and Dr. Kao represent the very best of Penn State faculty who share with their students a passion for learning and excellence that inspires and transforms those who have the good fortune to sit in their classrooms,” said Christian M.M. Brady, dean of the Schreyer Honors College.

Griel serves as an honors adviser in the College of Agricultural Sciences and coordinates the college’s animal bioscience major, an interdepartmental major shared among the departments of animal sciences, poultry science, and veterinary science. He joined Penn State in 1965 as an instructor in the Department of Veterinary Science. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1971, became associate professor in 1975, and was named professor of veterinary science in 1990. He earned a bachelor’s degree in dairy science from Penn State in 1961. He received a doctorate of veterinary medicine from the University of Pennsylvania in 1965, and earned a master’s degree in dairy science at Penn State in 1969. In 1999, Griel received the College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society’s Excellence in Academic Advising Award.

In nominating Griel for the Schreyer advising award, Scholar Lauren Aldinger wrote, “His careful, wise, consistent guidance throughout the years has led to a seamless undergraduate experience. His years of extensive experience at Penn State, in veterinary medicine and life in general, have provided an invaluable mentor for my academic career here.”

Aldinger also nominated Kao for his award, calling him a “once-in-a-lifetime instructor.”

“His level of knowledge of the material permits him to lecture continuously for over an hour on the complex metabolic pathways,” Aldinger wrote in her nomination. “This high caliber of teaching, however, does not make Dr. Kao in and of himself a great teacher.  It is this quality coupled with his profound interest in his students’ success and lives that make this combination nearly impossible to beat.”

Kao chairs the Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in plant physiology and is the co-director of the ecological and molecular pant physiology option in Penn State’s Integrative Biosciences Graduate Degree Program. Kao earned his bachelor of science degree in chemistry from National Taiwan University and his doctoral degree in chemistry/physical biochemistry from Yale University. After receiving his doctorate, Kao conducted research at the Roche Institute for Molecular Biology and at Cornell University before coming to Penn State in 1986. His research involves the investigation of the molecular basis for cellular recognition and signal transduction during reproduction in flowering plants. In 1998, the Eberly College of Science honored Kao with the college’s Paul M. Althouse Outstanding Teaching Award.



Last Updated January 10, 2014