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May 5, 2012

Joe Ditta awarded Clarke Award

Dr. Joe Ditta accepts the Clarke Award for Teaching Excellence Saturday from John and LuAnn Clarke.

MITCHELL — As friends and family gathered to celebrate Dakota Wesleyan students’ achievements Saturday during commencement, others conspired to bring recognition to a colleague and friend.

Near the end of the proceedings, local businessman and DWU Board of Trustees member John Clarke and wife, LuAnn, stood to bestow the Clarke Award for Teaching Excellence upon Dr. Joe Ditta, professor of English at DWU who retires this year after 29 years of service.

“This year’s winner of the Clarke Award for Teaching Excellence goes to a faculty member who has left an indelible mark on the institution and thousands of graduates,” said Amy Novak, college provost.

Ditta has taught at Dakota Wesleyan since 1983 and has served as chair of the English department, the humanities division and faculty relations committee; director of the University Scholars program; adviser to the Phreno Cosmian, the Tumbleweed yearbook and the Prairie Winds literary journal; and is founder of the Agnes Hyde Writing Competition.

“In the end, his legacy is the mark he has made on students,” Novak said. “He gave them the most precious gift: his time.”

Novak quoted from one of Ditta’s students, Henry Hughes ’87, “I’ve taken three degrees and many classes at several institutions, including Harvard and Purdue, but it’s Joe Ditta and his words that I remember most; he is the best professor I’ve ever had.”


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Last updated: 5/5/12