Best University of Montana Professor
Professor Garon Smith, aka G. Wiz, retired earlier this year after 24 years of teaching. His final lecture occurred on the Oval, complete with the professor wearing his signature wizard hat and performing educational magic tricks for a loving crowd. “He understands his audience isn’t all chemistry majors,” says fellow chemist Dick Holmquist, who served as Smith’s aid for 6 years. “He’s made it so anybody with curiosity can learn. I never went by his room when it wasn’t full of eager [college] kids.” Smith has often taken students outside the classroom—to hazardous waste days, for instance—to apply their skills. “He took the memorizing out of chemistry,” Holmquist says. “And even with his wizard shows he made sure his students were learning real chemistry.” Smith now leaves big shoes to fill on the UM campus, as well as in this category.
Finalists, Best UM Professor
2. Robert Stubblefield