Minnie Piper, huge recognition
Reuben A. Buford May, a Presidential Professor in sociology, was recently given the distinguished recognition of a Piper Professor by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation.
by Heather Rodriguez ’04
Every year, the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation names ten Piper Professors in recognition for their superior teaching at Texas higher education institutions. This year Reuben A. Buford May, a Presidential Professor in sociology, was one of the select few.
“I see it as a very high honor and it’s wonderful to be thought of at your own university as someone who cares about higher education but it’s an exceptional experience to be recognized with others in the state of Texas that carry that distinction,” May said.
Along with being named a Piper Professor and a Presidential Professor, May has received the Glasscock University Professor in Undergraduate Teaching Excellence award. Around campus, he is known as Reginald S. Stuckey, the rapping professor, who writes and performs rhymes about complex issues and often brings the art form into the classroom.
“One random day, I’ll go into class and tell students to take out a sheet of paper. I’ll have them listen to a beat, and then write four to eight lines of content based on their reading assignment. Then they perform it,” he said. “It breaks down barriers and creates a vulnerable environment where people can talk about difficult and critical matters.”
Along with the award, May and the other honorees will receive $5,000. Organized in 1950, the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation in a non-profit charitable corporation focused on higher education in Texas. The awards were established in 1958, and candidates must be nominated through the college or university president’s office.
Pamela Matthews, the dean of Liberal Arts, said, “Reuben May has demonstrated consistently his effectiveness and his dedication by offering transformational learning experiences to Aggies. He richly deserves this recognition.”
The College of Liberal Arts will recognize May in the fall.