Piper Professor

Piper Professor

By Lisa Y. Garibay

UTEP continued its strong tradition of winning one of Texas’ most prestigious academic awards.

Professor of Mathematical Sciences Larry Lesser, Ph.D., has been named the 14th Piper Professor award recipient for UTEP.

The Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation in San Antonio established its award in 1958 to honor professors for their dedication to teaching and their community. Every May, the foundation selects 10 winners from among all two- and four-year colleges and universities in Texas.

The Piper Professor designation comes with a $5,000 award. 

“Not since winning a University of Texas System Board of Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award in 2011 have I been so excited to win an award and join such exclusive company at UTEP and statewide,” Lesser said, noting that he took courses from Piper Professors at both The University of Texas at Austin, where he received his graduate degrees, and Rice University, where he completed his bachelor’s degree. 

“It is humbling to win what feels like a lifetime achievement award when I feel I still continue to grow as an educator,” Lesser said. “I’m so grateful for the inspiration and support I’ve received over the years from my family as well as from my colleagues and students, especially at UTEP. Through my work as a professor and director of UTEP’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, I try to pay the inspiration forward.”

UTEP’s Piper winners include faculty from philosophy, biological sciences, electrical engineering, English, economics and finance, teacher education, political science, metallurgical and materials engineering, and chemistry. Lesser is the second winner from mathematical sciences. 

It is humbling to win what feels like a lifetime achievement award when I feel I still continue to grow as an educator.
— Larry Lesser