Once a year, one professor from each of OSU’s six colleges is chosen by students of the OSU Mortar Board honor society for special recognition. For an assistant professor from the Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders, it is a validation of the work he does every day to help and guide students and research alike.
Dr. Ramesh Kaipa, who also serves as the department’s graduate studies coordinator and director of the Motor Speech Laboratory, was awarded the 2017 Golden Torch Award by the Achafoa chapter of Mortar Board, representing the college during the honor organization’s April 2 banquet in the Student Union Ballroom.
“I feel that helping students, mentoring them, is a big part of my job here at Oklahoma State,” Kaipa said. “I feel it helps fulfill the land grant mission here at OSU, and professionally, it feels really good to be recognized among the wonderful people who are doing similar things as I am.”
The Golden Torch award is given to faculty members selected through secret nominations by students who are members of Mortar Board. The award recognizes professors that the local chapter feels best exemplify scholarship, leadership, and service. This is not to be confused with the chapter-level Gold Torch award, which OSU won in 2016.
The award provides Kaipa with more than just recognition. The 2016 A&S Distinguished Teaching Award winner can add the award to his list of honors as he submits his packet for tenure by the end of the year.
“Getting this award has been very fulfilling to me,” Kaipa said. “It helps me to be firmer in my approach to students. Knowing that my teaching has a big impact on students who are graduating from here makes my job worthwhile.”
Founded with four chapters in 1918, Mortar Board is a national honor society for college seniors selected for distinguished ability and achievement in scholarship, leadership, and service. OSU’s Achafoa chapter – Achafoa being a Choctaw word meaning “a few rare and precious ones,” – was founded in 1930 as a women’s only society, with the first group of members added in 1931. Each year, 11 junior women – increased from six in 1940 – were selected by nomination and application until 1975, when membership was opened to males nationwide. Today, there are 55 active Mortar Board members at OSU.