CHARLESTON - An art professor from Shepherd University was named the 2015 Professor of the Year for West Virginia.
The Faculty Merit Foundation announced Sonya Evanisko as the winner of the award Wednesday evening during a banquet in the Great Hall of the West Virginia Culture Center on the West Virginia Capitol Complex in Charleston.
Dr. Lisa Di Bartolomeo, director of the Slavic and Eastern European Studies program at West Virginia University, was first runner-up. Jill D. Cochran, Ph.D., clinical science professor at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine; John Howard Hull, Ph.D., psychology professor, Bethany College; and Andrew Paul Nichols, Ph.D., engineering professor, Marshall University, were finalists for the award.
The Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia each year honors an outstanding faculty member at a West Virginia college or university. The Professor of the Year winner receives a $10,000 cash prize, with smaller awards to the other finalists. The award is presented with financial support from Graystone Consulting.
Evanisko earned her master's degree from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, and a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania.
Evanisko has taught at Shepherd for 23 years, receiving the University's Outstanding Academic Advisor Award in 2015.
Evanisko has taken a leading role in creating and implementing this nationally recognized art program at Shepherd, and her work has been exhibited throughout West Virginia, the United States and internationally.
She is actively involved in the community throughout the year with a number of community-based projects - most notably the Town Run Garden site in Shepherdstown. Twenty years ago it was an abandoned, half-acre, weed-filled space that Evanisko helped transform into a natural woodland community garden that provides a peaceful respite for students and the community, and a place where wildlife may find refuge.