LATROBE, PA – Dr. Daniele Arcara, mathematics professor and chair of the Mathematics Department at Saint Vincent College, was presented with the Thoburn Excellence in Teaching Award at the College’s annual Founders’ Day Vigil and Honors Convocation in the Saint Vincent Basilica on Nov. 14.
The Thoburn Award is made possible by a gift from the late Thomas W. Thoburn Jr. and Tina Thoburn, D.Ed., educators and philanthropists from Ligonier, Pennsylvania.
Nominations for the award are made by Saint Vincent College alumni five to seven years after graduation who are invited to name one member of the faculty who made a significant impact on them through their teaching and personal interactions. Fifty-five nominations were received for 31 different faculty members.
Upon presenting the award, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean Dr. John Smetanka said that the amount of nominations submitted “is a clear indication of the long-lasting impact that our faculty have on our students.”
During Smetanka’s presentation of the award, he read excerpts from a number of nominations submitted on behalf of Arcara.
“One of the alumni who nominated Dr. Arcara wrote that he ‘had a great attitude toward his students and created an environment that prompted learning.’ Another nominator shared that ‘Dr. Arcara’s teaching helped me earn a master’s degree and land a job at one of the top software companies in the nation.’ Finally, another alum summed it up best in saying ‘Dr. Arcara is one of the nicest and most selfless people I have met. He genuinely cared that his students learned and made even an 8 a.m. class interesting.’”
In his acceptance speech, Arcara recalled his first visit to Saint Vincent College in 2005.
“I was interviewing for a job in the math department,” he said. “The day after my interview, I was scheduled to fly out of the Latrobe airport. Brother Norman (Hipps), who was dean at the time, drove me to the airport, but the flight was canceled. So, he cleared his schedule and drove me to the airport in Pittsburgh so I could get a flight home. I was grateful for that and thought, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to work at a place where people go out of their way like this to help you out?’ Thankfully, God said yes and made it happen.”
Arcara left the audience with two pieces of advice.
“Number one,” he said, “I think Saint Vincent is a great community to be a part of, so let’s make sure we realize that and cherish that. Let’s be thankful for being a part of this community. Number two, we have a great tradition here so let’s keep it going. Make sure we go out of our way every day to help those around us.”
At Saint Vincent College, Arcara teaches courses across the curriculum including Abstract Algebra, Dynamics, Complex Variables and Real Analysis. He is also a leader in innovated K-16 mathematics education, conducting regular summer workshops for mathematics teachers.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the Universita’ di Torino in Turin, Italy and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Georgia. His research interests are in algebraic geometry.
PHOTO: Dr. Daniele Arcara (left) is congratulated by Saint Vincent College president Father Paul R. Taylor, O.S.B.
For a full gallery of photos from the Founders' Day celebration, visit the Saint Vincent College Flickr account.
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