M. PATRICIA WARUNEK
Professor of Biological Sciences
Director, University Honors Program
Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching
In the words of the great poet William Butler Yeats, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
For countless students, you have sparked the fires of inspiration, while also serving as a beacon of excellence to your peers. In the words of your provost, “A powerful beam of light shines through the entire campus. That beam of light is you.” You’ve shined your light on FDU since 1970, and, with wisdom, fortitude and, most of all, heart, you have reached the summit of your calling.
Through the years, you’ve taught such courses as cell biology, molecular genetics and over-the-counter drugs. From chromosomes to cold medications, you present complex subjects in easily understood and compelling presentations.
You’ve prided yourself on tailoring your teaching to the changing needs of your students. You developed new undergraduate and graduate courses, and kept pace with the revolutionary findings in your field. You took clinical courses to better connect with your many nursing students. In fact, you gained your BS in nursing from FDU in four years, all the while teaching full time.
Your teaching talents are no secret, and your courses are regularly filled to the brim. That so many want to enroll is ample tribute indeed, however what students say when the course is over is even more impressive. They commonly call you the best teacher they have ever had, and they talk about your patience and professionalism. They cite your thorough knowledge of the topics at hand, and praise your preparation and your willingness to always be there for them. But, perhaps above all, they simply say that learning with Dr. Warunek is fun.
Your love of learning has led you into another valuable role. Since 1984, you have been a director of the University Honors Program. You served as tri-campus coordinator for nearly a decade and, since 1992, you have guided the program on the Metropolitan Campus. Under your dynamic leadership, the program has soared to tremendous heights, with more than 150 students from around the world. From the creation of an Honors House to the incorporation of exciting on- and off-campus programs, this program has become a model for preparing world citizens.
In everything you do, your students see in you all that is great and noble about this profession, and they carry with them lessons to last a lifetime. For so brilliantly lighting the fires that fuel our students’ dreams we salute you with the Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching.