The transformative education offered at the University of Chicago begins with the faculty who inspire, engage and inform the students they teach.
The University annually recognizes faculty for their incredible teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students through the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Awards, believed to be the nation’s oldest prize for undergraduate teaching.
We're proud to share the news that Robert L. Kendrick has received a 2023 Quantrell Award.
UChicago undergraduates most impress Prof. Kendrick by their curiosity and their willingness to state their own perspectives boldly in the classroom.
“It is wonderful to see them develop interests in things about which they had no idea previously,” he said. “One of my students told me that she listens to Italian Baroque opera all the time now, never having experienced it before.”
A key moment in his classroom occurred when his undergraduate students watched the original choreography of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.” According to Kendrick, his students came alive through the combination of the ballet’s visual aspects, Modernism, striking musical gestures and overall place in European culture.
Additionally, he admires the intellectual independence of UChicago students and their willingness to make arguments even against the opinions of instructors or source texts.
Kendrick followed an unusual path to his professorship at UChicago. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, he became an autoworker and union activist. After a decade, Kendrick decided to return to school, earning his Ph.D. in musicology from New York University.
At the end of each academic quarter, he asks his students to listen with open ears. “Just as they discovered repertories and styles new to them in the classes, so life will bring them new kinds of sounds and historical situations,” Kendrick said. “Keeping an open mind will be of great importance to their future.”
From the story published by UChicago News. Photo by Jean Lachat.