Practically any JMU student you ask would tell you that the professors you have in college can make all the difference in your educational experience. There are those certain special professors who you will come to know during your years here at JMU that even after you graduate, you will still remember how they touched your life. A professor like that is someone who challenges and inspires you; leaving their mark on your college career. Not all of us have been so lucky as to interact with such an inspiring person. The Kinesiology department is fortunate to have Dr. Judith Flohr; one of those people who would stand out in your mind when you think over your time at JMU.
When I announced to Dr. Flohr and her class of students that she was selected as a recipient of this award, the first thing she did was to thank her class, saying that this would not have been possible if not for them. This expression of gratitude embodies the spirit of Dr. Flohr. She is continuously thinking about her students and how she can serve them and better their lives. Through simply asking, “what is your dream?” she inspires her students to challenge themselves to reach their full potential. Anything is possible.
Sometimes other people can put things so eloquently that summarizing the thought will not do it justice. I’d like to share with you some quotes about Dr. Flohr said by her students. Each quote was said by a different student:
“Dr. Flohr has been a professor, mentor, and a friend. She makes this university better because she makes everyone she interacts with a better student and person.”
“Dr. Flohr has an incredible ability to inspire people to work passionately toward their dreams of changing and impacting the world.”
“Every time I go to speak with Dr. Flohr, I leave feeling like I will change the world.”
There seems to be a common theme here.
“Dr. Flohr is one of the best instructors I have ever had.”
“[She is] highly concerned for students’ welfare and that they take away the necessary knowledge for success.”
“Despite our classes having a large amount of students and [the fact that she is] obviously teaching multiple classes per semester, she somehow managed to not only know every single students name, but also know some interesting details about them so she could identify with them.”
“I have never met a more caring and wonderful professor in my college career. I am well prepared and excited to start my career, and it is Dr. Flohr who deserves all the thanks in the world!”
As a professor, Dr. Flohr likes to spend the first day of her classes not discussing grading rubrics or rules of the class, but rather calling students to think about their expectations of the class, of her, and to analyze their strengths and weaknesses as students. I am sure by now you all can recognize the importance of her students to her. Not only does Dr. Flohr love her students, but she also loves JMU.
Last fall Dr. Flohr founded The Center for the Promotion of Physical Activity for Girls and Women at JMU. The mission of the center is to “develop and provide activities to promote physical activity for girls and women and enhance their knowledge of health issues.” Programs put on by the Center include “Mother Daughter Day,” aday when a group of mothers and daughters from the community are invited to JMU to participate in fitness assessments, workshops and presentations to learn how to incorporate physical activity into their everyday lives. Another program put in place by the Center is “Movin' and Groovin'”, an event that brings children from the Harrisonburg/Rockingham community to JMU’s campus to attend a one-day workshop.
Dr. Flohr’s commitment to serving the community is clearly evident in her actions, such as her passion for promoting physical activity for children and expanding outreach into the community. The testimony to her efforts as a professor can be captured in the words of a student of hers: “Being a professor is not something she does…it is who she is.”
A person like Dr. Flohr truly is a gift to the JMU community. Her impact can never accurately be measured or fully realized, but it is safe to say that she has left a mark on countless numbers of students and those around her. One of the things I think makes Dr. Flohr so special is that she doesn’t realize the nature of her impact on others. To her, being a professor is what she does and enjoys doing. To others, she is an inspiration as a professor, coworker, friend, and leader.
I am honored to have had the opportunity to share with you Dr. Flohr’s accomplishments and impact. It is with great admiration and respect that I present her with the All Together One award.