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Award for USC College Philosopher and Popular Religious Writer

Baylor University honors Professor Dallas Willard with Distinguished Alumni Award

By Kirsten Holguin
January 1, 2007

Award for USC College Philosopher and Popular Religious Writer

Dallas Willard, professor of philosophy at USC College, last week received the Baylor University Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award for 2007.

The honor was presented at a black-tie banquet Friday, Jan. 19, at the university in Waco, Texas. Presented annually since 1965, the award has honored governors, scientists, artists, religious leaders, as well as educators and entrepreneurs.

"I am very grateful to be included in such a prestigious group of fellow Baylor alumni for this recognition," said Willard. "How great it is to be a part of all this."

Willard, 71, who has taught at USC since 1965, is currently on sabbatical. He has told colleagues that he will return to teaching in the College’s School of Philosophy, where he was director from 1982-1985.

Prior to joining the USC faculty, Willard taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also has held visiting appointments at UCLA and the University of Colorado.

He has earned numerous honors for teaching excellence including, the USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Blue Key National Honor Fraternity’s "Outstanding Faculty Member" award for outstanding contributions to student life at USC and the USC Student Senate Award for Outstanding Faculty of the Year. Willard is a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta and the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Societies.

Although Willard is frequently published in journals of philosophy, he is most well known for his treatises on religious issues and the role of religion in one’s personal life.

During the banquet in Texas, Willard was recognized for his religious writings, which include The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God, which was chosen as the book of the year by Christianity Today in 1999; Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ, which received another book award from Christianity Today in 2003 in the area of spirituality; The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’ Essential Teachings on Discipleship, and Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God.

An ordained Southern Baptist minister, Willard received his first B.A. from Tennessee Temple College in psychology, before receiving a B.A. in philosophy and religion from Baylor University in 1957. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy and the history of science from the University of Wisconsin.

Peter Starr, dean of USC College, congratulated Willard on the award and his distinguished career at USC.

"Dallas is extremely deserving of this award and everyone in the College is pleased to hear that he is not retiring anytime soon," said Starr.

During his sabbatical, Willard is at work on his next book, The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge.