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Parents Association names its Professor of the Year

April 13, 2011

For more than 25 years, Ileana Orlich has introduced students at ASU to a broad global perspective and encouraged them to experience their world geographically, historically, linguistically and culturally beyond their previous experience.

Orlich has been honored for her lifelong commitment by the ASU Parents Association as its 2011 Professor of the Year, during a Celebration of Teaching and Learning Excellence event on April 12.

She is professor of Romanian studies and comparative literature in the School of International Letters and Cultures in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU. Orlich also is the founder and director of ASU’s Romanian Program.

Through the program — the largest of its kind in the United States — Orlich extends ASU’s vision of global engagement and empowers each of her students to pursue their dreams in an ever-changing world.

More than 200 ASU faculty, students, staff, administrators, parents and friends applauded her recognition at the event.

“I am grateful to parents for entrusting me with their children and for the wonderful opportunity of expanding their vision for the future — this is a lifelong project for me, and  their world is my world,” said an astonished Orlich as she accepted the award.

Orlich, who has a doctorate in English and comparative literature, was a lecturer in ASU’s Department of English before becoming an assistant professor of languages and literatures in 1998. A full professor at ASU since 2005, she was chosen from 26 colleagues as a true inspiration.

Four undergraduate students and three faculty colleagues contributed heartfelt letters in support of Orlich’s nomination. It was these letters that the committee of parents, other Professors of the Year and scholarship students looked to when making their decision.

“Professor Orlich demonstrates a commitment to students, research and scholarship,” said Shelley Carson, Parents Association executive board member and Professor of the Year committee chair. “Through the deliberation process with the selection committee, it was clear to see that she was an outstanding representative of all the qualities that ASU professors possess and the impact they have on their students, colleagues and the community.”

Among her many honors, Orlich was recognized as a Centennial Professor by ASU in 2001 and was awarded the Translation Prize by Romania’s Institute of Culture in 2004. She has been awarded several grants, including those from European partners, for her work in Romanian Studies and comparative literature.

Orlich extends research and publishing opportunities to her students, helping them participate in conferences and publishing in international journals. In January 2010, she was appointed Romania’s Honorary Consul General in Arizona.

With her internationally recognized career and extensive ongoing research, Orlich provides tremendous vision and direction to ASU students. Through passionate and inspirational classroom instruction, she demonstrates a powerful devotion to undergraduate students and inspires each to excel both in and out of the classroom.

In addition to Orlich’s honor, the Professor of the Year selection committee designated five additional nominees for special recognition for teaching and scholarship. This year’s special recognition awardees were:

• Bertram Jacobs, microbiology.

• Manfred Laubichler, biology.

• Pamela Marshall, biology.

• Sergei Suslov, mathematics.

• Matthew Whitaker, history.

The other 20 nominees this year also set a high precedent for teaching at ASU and were applauded at the event for their efforts. Their contributions can be explored further at

The ASU Parents Association Professor of the Year award was given for the first time in 1994 and has been awarded 15 times. Thanks to the continued generosity of ASU families and the participation of ASU students, faculty and staff, the ASU Parents Association is able to award this prestigious honor on an annual basis.

Sara Turley,