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Essigmann, Oppenheim, Lindgren Awarded MAcVicar Fellowships

By Jennifer Lane
Contributing Editor

Three professors will be named MacVicar fellows for excellence in undergraduate teaching today at a reception and luncheon sponsored by President Charles M. Vest.

This year's MacVicar fellows are Professor of Chemistry John M. Essigmann PhD '76 , Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Alan V. Oppenheim '59, and Professor of Music Lowell E. Lindgren.

The MacVicar Faculty Fellows Program was established in 1991 to honor Margaret L. A. MacVicar '65, MIT's first dean for undergraduate education.

The appointments were made by Provost Joel Moses PhD '67 with advice from a committee chaired by Dean for Undergraduate Education Rosalind H. Williams.

The committee searches out candidates who have made "exemplary and sustained contributions to the teaching of undergraduates at MIT," Williams said.

MacVicar fellows are faculty who have "gone beyond ordinary excellence in teaching,"she said. Often their contributions have had effects nationally or globally, she said.

John M. Essigmann PhD '76

Being named a MacVicar fellow is an honor since "both the nominations and selections are made by a group of students and faculty," Essigmann said.

To see students and faculty "working together is a terrific thing," he said.

Essigmann had the opportunity to work with Dean MacVicar in setting up Biotechnology and Engineering (5.22J).

At the time, MacVicar was "interested in people who had ideas to make freshman year more varied," he said.

Essigmann was selected for the new approaches he has taken to several classes, Williams said.

Essigmann has temporarily retired from teaching Biological Chemistry (5.07) and is currently teaching 5.22J, Genetic Toxicology (TOX.213), and researching toxins as inducers of genetic disease.

In addition to teaching, Essigmann also serves as housemaster of New House.

Alan V. Oppenheim '59

The MacVicar fellow appointment is "absolutely fantastic,"Oppenheim said. "It is very, very humbling."

One of the greatest things about being a MacVicar fellow is "to be associated with Margaret MacVicar. She had a set of standards and ideals about undergraduate education that were very special," he said.

Oppenheim felt honored to be included in the group of MacVicar fellows, many of whom had been inspirations to him. "There are many talented and inspired faculty members in that group," he said.

The committee was impressed with Oppenheim's "range of publications and textbooks in his field," Williams said.

Oppenheim is currently teaching Discrete-time Signal Processing (6.341) as well as helping to further develop Introduction to Communication, Control, and Signal Processing (6.011).

Lowell E. Lindgren

"I think that it is a miracle Igot [a MacVicar fellowship]," Lindgren said. "Iwas flabbergasted when Iheard."

Lindgren did not have the opportunity to work closely with MacVicar, but the fellowship "honors MacVicar the way she should be honored," he said.

Many programs at MIT, such as the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences program, "owe everything to her," he said.

Lindgren is currently serving on the Committee for Undergraduate Performance and teaching Western Music after 1750 (21M. 205) as well as Hayden, Mozart, and Beethoven (21M. 240).