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Gonas Named 2008 Tennessee Professor of the Year

Belmont professors selected four times since 2000 for statewide honor
JohnGonas2.jpgBelmont University’s Dr. John Gonas, an assistant professor of Finance in the Undergraduate and Massey School of Business, was named today as the 2008 Tennessee Professor of the Year, an award selection determined by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). This represents the second year in a row that a Belmont University professor has received this honor, with Psychology Chair Dr. Pete Giordano selected as the 2007 Tennessee Professor of the Year.
Dr. Gonas, who is currently in Washington, D.C. for special ceremonies to receive his award, was selected from nearly 300 top professors in the United States. Belmont will be holding its own celebration to honor Dr. Gonas on Thurs., Dec. 4 at 3:30 p.m.
“More than me, this award should be credited to the Belmont student,” Gonas said. “Over the past 10 years I have been blessed to teach and mentor some amazing students – many who possess what I find to be the ideal balance of a strong intellect, a disciplined work ethic, a solid character and a selfless commitment to community service.”
Prior to joining Belmont’s faculty in 1998, Gonas worked in the financial planning industry for eight years (most recently with J.C. Bradford, Inc. in Nashville) in retail brokerage, investment consulting and fee-based asset management. During the 2000-2002 academic years, he went on leave from Belmont to pursue a doctorate in Finance at the University of Kentucky, a degree he received in the spring of 2005.
Gonas currently teaches Corporate Finance, Introduction to Investments and Investment Management, and his teaching philosophy revolves around real life application of a subject matter. Gonas also serves as the Sam Walton Fellow responsible for advising Belmont’s SIFE students. SIFE, or Students in Free Enterprise, is an international, non-profit organization active on over 1,500 college and university campuses in 47 countries. Under Gonas’ leadership, Belmont’s SIFE program has won numerous regional and national awards, including the 2006 National Rookie of the Year Award, a 2007 and 2008 placement as a top-20 team at the USA National Exposition, and winning the Motion Picture Association of America 2007 Grand Prize of its Anti-Piracy Public Service Announcement.
Belmont University Provost Dr. Dan McAlexander said, “Belmont is extremely proud that for two years in a row one of its professors has been acknowledged for his outstanding and innovative teaching. John is an exemplary professor embodying in his classroom that which distinguishes the Belmont educational experience—academically rigorous, connected to the real world through experience, encouraging commitment to service to one’s surrounding community.”
Belmont University professors represent four of the past nine Tennessee Professors of the Year: 2000 winner Dr. Mike Awalt (Philosophy), 2001 winner Dr. David Julseth (Spanish), 2007 winner Dr. Pete Giordano (Psychology) and Gonas as the 2008 selection.


CASE and the Carnegie Foundation have been partners in offering Professors of the Year since 1981. TIAA-CREF, one of America’s leading financial services organizations and higher education’s premier retirement system, became the primary sponsor for the awards ceremony in 2000. Additional support for the program is received from a number of higher education associations, including Phi Beta Kappa.
This year there are winners in 44 states, the District of Columbia and Guam. CASE assembled two preliminary panels of judges to select finalists. The Carnegie Foundation then convened the third and final panel, which selected four national winners. CASE and Carnegie select state winners from top entries resulting from the judging process. Dr. Gonas was selected from faculty members nominated by colleges and universities throughout the country.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching was founded in 1905 by Andrew Carnegie “to do all things necessary to encourage, uphold and dignify the profession of teaching.” The foundation is the only advanced-study center for teachers in the world and the third-oldest foundation in the nation. Its nonprofit research activities are conducted by a small group of distinguished scholars.
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is the largest international association of education institutions, serving more than 3,400 universities, colleges, schools, and related organizations in 61 countries. CASE is the leading resource for professional development, information, and standards in the fields of educational fundraising, communications, marketing and alumni relations.