March 20, 2016, was just another day in Karen Eliot’s ballet class, except that students kept filing into the studio until the walls were lined with more than 100 Ohio State dance majors. When college administrators wearing suits entered the studio, Eliot finally realized that something was up -- she had received a 2016 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching.
Provost Bruce McPheron gave her this award to thunderous applause, floor drumming, foot stomping and loud bravas! She responded with her typical modesty and an elegant bow. This award is always given in a surprise visit to faculty recipients during a class they are teaching. But rarely do this many students, staff and faculty respond in this manner. Divisional Dean Peter Hahn wrote, “This morning was one of the highlights of the year for me. How powerfully those students 'spoke' in favor of Dr. Eliot.”
Dance enjoys a centuries-old tradition of reverence for our teachers. Throughout our careers, we honor our artistic mentors in our bios. As Chair Susan Hadley said to Eliot that day, “Karen, you were trained by legends---and now you have become one.” Please join us in celebrating this much-deserved recognition of Karen Eliot’s superlative teaching.