Facebook pixel Underwood Lecture Award

46th Underwood Lecture Award

Underwood Lecture Award

Underwood was known for his love of education and deep concern for the welfare of students and staff alike. Recipients of the Underwood Memorial Lecture Award demonstrate that same dedication and commitment.

Aug. 19, 2021 | 10 a.m. | Terry M. Fischer Theatre | YouTube Live

This Year's Award Honoree

LaRhonda Wilson, Associate Professor of Sociology

LaRhonda Wilson headshotLaRhonda Wilson, associate professor of sociology at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, is the winner of the David L. Underwood Memorial Lecture Award. She is also the program coordinator for the service-learning program on campus.

Wilson is known for being compassionate in the classroom, engaging students and encouraging them to participate in activities that stretch their comfort academically and socially. She is involved in voter registration, education efforts and local politics – having served as campaign manager and political advisor for several successful grassroots elections. Over her more than 20 years as a teacher, Wilson has enhanced students’ learning experiences by connecting them to court watch programs, voter engagement and environmental activities, reentry populations, services for children and families, communities of poverty, city government, political campaigns, and more.

Wilson has earned awards including: Iota Phi Lambda Sorority Inc.’s Apple for the Teacher Award, League of Innovation’s John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Award, North County Incorporated’s 30 Leaders in their Thirties Award, the Organization for Black Struggle’s Unsung Shero Award, and St. Louis American’s Salute to Excellence in Education Award. Wilson is a member of the American Sociological Association, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., the Lincoln University Alumni Association, and Missouri Sociological Association. She is also the proud mother of Serenity Wilson-Mitchell.

About the David L. Underwood Award

David L. Underwood was known for his love of education. He was deeply concerned with the welfare of students and staff alike. His dedication went beyond office hours – and he tirelessly gave of his time and talents to further the educational mission at Florissant Valley.

Recipients of the Underwood Memorial Lecture Award demonstrate that same dedication and commitment. Chosen by a committee of peers, the recipient exhibits excellence in instruction and a genuine, humanistic concern for students, faculty, staff, and all of education.

About David L. Underwood

david l. underwood headshotDec. 26, 1925 – March 16, 1975

David Underwood was born near Ava, IL, and moved to St. Louis in 1926. He attended elementary and high schools in St. Louis and Desloge, Mo.

After two years in the navy, Underwood enrolled at Central Missouri State College where he earned A.B. and B.S. degrees. He earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Missouri in 1951. Underwood taught English at McKinley High School until he was transferred to Southwest High School as head of the English department. In 1962 he became chair of the English department at Beaumont High School.

After teaching for the community college on a part-time basis, Underwood joined the Florissant Valley faculty in 1963. He served as chair of the humanities, communications division and later associate dean of instruction. He was appointed dean of instruction July 1, 1967 and served until his death in 1975.


Welcome and Introductions

Sharon North, committee chair, professor of mathematics and the 45th David L. Underwood Memorial Lecture Award recipient, 2020


Sergei Prokofiev’s “Sonata No. 3 in A Minor,” 1891-1953, conducted by Paul Higdon, D.M.A., professor of music and the 40th David L. Underwood Memorial Lecture Award recipient, 2015 

Introduction of Recipient

Steve Ehlen, supervisor of the Engineering Technology Center, manager of the Additive Manufacturing Lab and the 44th David L. Underwood Memorial Lecture Award recipient, 2019


“Good Trouble: Ethical Behavior, Kindness and Compassion” by LaRhonda Wilson, associate professor of sociology and the David L. Underwood Memorial Lecture Award recipient, 2021

Selection Committee

Steve Ehlen, Carol Hake, associate professor of English and the 43rd David L. Underwood Memorial Lecture Award recipient, 2018, and Sharon North.

Special Thanks to All Who Make This Celebration Possible

  • Marie McCool, theatre manager
  • Bryant T. Williamson, technical director
  • Aaron Linder, media specialist
  • Shantana Stewart, campus marketing and communications coordinator
  • Paul Higdon, professor of music

Previous Award Recipients


1976 - Myron Marty

1977 - Ronald Eldringhoff

1978 - Gladys Thum

1979 - Marvin Barnum

1980 - Leonora West

1981 - James O’Grady

1982 - L. William Miller

1983 - Peter Kellams

1984 - Kenneth Smith

1985 - Carol Edwards

1986 - Emily Liebman

1987 - Ken Boyer

1988 - Stan Kary

1989 - Carolyn Davis

1990 - Carl Bruns

1991 - Jeanette Kimbrough

1992 - Ted Finkelston,

1993 - Sidney Reedy

1994 - Jack Ballinger

1995 - Mary Seager

1996 - Kim Mosley

1997 - K. Ann Dempsey

1998 - Lea Plarski

1999 - Michael Fuller

2000 - Herbert Niemeyer

2001 - Donna M. Spaulding

2002 - Otis Beard

2003 - Ashok Agrawal

2004 - Dorothy McGuffin

2005 - Carol Berger

2006 - Richard Berne

2007 - Pat Williams

2008 - Terrance Freeman

2009 - Christopher Stephens

2010 - Teresa Huether

2011 - Joe B. Worth

2012 - Allieze Ruby Curry

2013 - Mary Luebke

2014 - Sharon A. Fox

2015 - Paul Higdon

2016 - Cindy L. Campbell

2017 - Janice B. Nesser-Chu

2018 - Carol L. Hake

2019 - Steve Ehlen

2020 - Sharon North

Back to top