Stenersen Honored for "Gentle Inclusiveness" as Seminar Professor of the Year

Grete Stenersen accepts a bouquet of flowers at the award ceremony. “Grete defines what a good Seminar teacher is.” That’s what one student wrote in nominating Grete Stenersen to be the 2013 recipient of the O. DeSales Perez Award for Excellence in Collegiate Seminar.

A large crowd of Seminar instructors and friends gathered on March 5 to honor Stenersen, who first taught in the Collegiate Seminar program in 1994.

Former Collegiate Seminar Director Charles Hamaker lauded her for “establishing a welcoming and inclusive tone in the class discussion” and added: “Student response rates your leadership as stratospherically high on numerical scales, while their comments were uniformly appreciative of your enthusiasm, gentle inclusiveness, instillation of collaboration, trust, and openness, and sustained inquiry into the text.”

As director of Critical Perspectives, Stenersen spread the Seminar ethos to the College’s adult programs, such as LEAP (Liberal Education for Arts Professionals). She also helped to design the reading list for the new Seminar 110 transfer course and worked on the committee designing the first course in the new Seminar curriculum.

A large crowd listens as Stenersen accepts her award.  “Your presence in the program has lent it the wisdom, graciousness, fairness, and compassion that pervade your character and deeds,” Hamaker said.

Others who extolled Stenersen at the ceremony included Seminar Director Jose Feito, Rebecca Proehl and Robert Henderson. Both Proehl and Henderson remarked on Stenersen’s knack for offering the perfect prayer for any occasion. Henderson recalled that when he first came to Saint Mary’s, he wasn’t sure whether he, as a non-Catholic, would fit in. Those fears were put to rest by Stenersen. “The very first time she said a prayer, I felt this was the right place for me,” he recalled.

Perhaps Louise Goeckel of the Leadership Programs said it most directly: “Grete is being honored for being Grete.”

Teresa Castle
Office of College Communications

Photos by Benjamin Rehm '16