2009 Metcalf Cup & Prize

Thomas David Gilmore

gilmore_white2Professor Thomas David Gilmore unites a passion for research with inspiring teaching. His explorations in molecular biology into the Rel/NF-kb family of transcription factors shed new light on mechanisms by which certain genes can transform normal cells into malignant cells. He also is a born teacher. In his legendary undergraduate Molecular Biology Laboratory course, he introduces students to DNA cloning techniques, mammalian cell culture and transfection, and immunofluorescence. Each year he conceives a project based upon a new “gene of interest,” and the students then perform hands-on research. Each year he inspires students to pursue advanced work in molecular biology.

Day and night, weekday and weekend, Professor Gilmore carefully considers how best to teach his undergraduate and graduate students and to advance their projects. Always accessible, he recommends the proper technique required to answer each scientific question and helps further their research. He provides assistance on their manuscripts, fellowship proposals, and application letters–and he even took care of a student’s mice during her honeymoon! “When does this guy sleep?” wondered one grateful student. The accolades are unanimous: “He is by far the best professor I have had during my undergraduate years.” “Enthusiasm! He obviously loves to teach and loves what he teaches. He really believes in us and cares for us.”

Professor Gilmore has mentored countless students and his academic progeny populate prestigious scientific departments and institutions throughout the world. Committed to cultivating research in all disciplines, Professor Gilmore recently accepted the directorship of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, and the student applications have since doubled.

World-famed researcher, dedicated teacher, and exemplary mentor, Professor Gilmore communicates the excitement of disciplined discovery and has ignited the ambitions of generations of students. Boston University proudly presents Professor Gilmore with the Metcalf Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

Michelle LaCourse

lacourse_whiteProfessor Michelle LaCourse has transported audiences with her masterful viola playing for over three decades. Whether interpreting the subtleties of Bach in a solo recital, reveling in the sultry torch songs written for her in the album Chocolates, collaborating intuitively with chamber ensembles, or contributing to a unified orchestral voice, she always succeeds in communicating the beautiful complexities of music. One expert praised her playing as “a miraculous blend of intense passion and artistic elegance”; another recognized that she “has a mastery of the instrument like a sixth sense, and with it reveals to us the most profound secrets.”

Professor LaCourse’s devotion to music and to her instrument has engendered a sense of responsibility to transmit her special knowledge, to teach aspiring artists. She brings alive the different styles of music, explores their context, and describes their forms and underlying gestures; without understanding these, the performer cannot communicate and connect with the audience. In her lessons, Professor LaCourse gives advice on subjects ranging from posture, to variety of vibrato, to methods of focusing nervous energy into healthy performance. Her preparation of her students is exhaustive and she is a demanding teacher. Yet she is very accessible, and an appreciative student noted that “she even gives extra lesson time.” Another cited her “patient, thoughtful, and insightful guidance” that will enable him to become a good pedagogue in his own right. “She cares so much about her students; I look forward to her classes and lessons!” Another gave her a simple, eloquent evaluation: “Wonderful!”

Lover of the luscious, chocolate sound of the viola, inspired performer, and dedicated teacher, Professor LaCourse is truly a musician’s musician. Boston University is pleased to present the Metcalf Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching to Professor LaCourse.