Professor makes University history with award win

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Professor of music education and director of bands Michael Burch-Pesses, who has taught at Pacific University since 1995, was recently named the recipient of the John C. McManus Distinguished
Teacher Award.

Burch-Pesses is the first Pacific educator to receive this honor from the Oregon Music Education
Association in the university’s history. Burch-Pesses said he was both surprised and honored when he was nominated for the John C. McManus Distinguished Teacher Award, which recognizes exemplary lifetime achievements in music education by music educators in Oregon.

“The people who have received this award in the past have distinguished themselves as wonderful teachers, dedicated mentors and educators who are truly in tune with the whole idea of service to their students,” Burch-Pesses said. “To be included in that group is a true honor. I really can’t think of any other way to describe the wonderful feeling that I got when they announced my name.”

Burch-Pesses, who was also awarded Pacific’s S.S. Johnson Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006 and was named a Distinguished University Professor in 2017, said he loves making connections with his students and is always ready to learn from them.

“You have to be willing to listen to what your students have to say, and not just expect them to be
open to what you have to say,” Burch-Pesses said. “It’s a give and take.”

In an effort to continue making contributions to the musical world, Burch-Pesses will start a new
position in June as the president of the Oregon Band Directors Association.

“I will have to continue to be active, and I will have to continue to be proactive to make my voice
heard,” Burch-Pesses said. “I don’t intend to be just a sit-down and let things pass me by president of the organization. I want to really move things forward.”


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