By Shelbie Condie and Elysia Frink
Professor William Tavernetti, 2018 winner of the University Honors Program Outstanding Teaching Award and Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics, addressed graduates on "The power of diversity and the need for experts" at the UHP Spring Banquet graduation ceremony on May 17, 2018. Tavernetti spoke of how impressed he was by the students in his Honors MAT 21B course, exemplified UHP's core values through story telling about diversity of ideas and people, and concluded with advice to UHP's graduating seniors: value diversity, become an expert in what interests you, and acknowledge your own capabilities as well as those of others.
"If everyone's creative approach is generated by the same core philosophy, aesthetic sensibility and standards of value, then this will limit the spectrum of solutions considered... So too as a species must we place a high value on our diversity – ALL KINDS – in order to become more complete and stable as a unified whole, and more capable in all areas from technology to justice to the culinary arts, even in ecosystem stability, such as by way of biodiversity." - Professor William Tavernetti
Affectionately known as "The Tav," Tavernetti was chosen by UHP students to receive the 2018 Outstanding Teaching Award because he "exemplifies not only the best of the honors program, but also the best of people and the best of Davis." He brings a unique style to the teaching of mathematics - a field that is all too often experienced as inaccessible - by interjecting memes in lecture slides, discussing life in office hours, and promoting the enrichment of knowledge rather than simply preparing for tests.
Tavernetti's TedTalk on the importance of education also shows his passion for the subject matter. A former junior engineer for NASA who worked on Mars missions, Tavernetti's final remarks ring true: "Your education is never complete [throughout] your whole life, and no one, not even you, can predict what you are truly capable of contributing!"