About 30 minutes into his lecture Wednesday morning, Nursing Prof. Stephen Strobbe was caught off-guard by a group of students who offered congratulations and presented him with a bouquet of flowers, balloons and an apple.
The Golden Apple award honors one teacher on campus each year chosen based on student nominations. The award is sponsored by the University of Michigan Hillel and more than two dozen other campus organizations and units.
To announce the selection, the Golden Apple committee surprises the recipient, typically in the middle of their class. Strobbe said he was very surprised when the students handed him the gifts.
“Does someone want to tell me what is going on?” he asked.
After being told that he had won the Golden Apple, Strobbe was speechless for a few moments.
“Thank you all so much,” he said. “I am moved beyond words. What an incredible honor.”
As the recipient of this year’s award, Strobbe will deliver the Golden Apple lecture on March 31 at Rackham Auditorium. Each year, the winner is instructed to choose a lecture topic as if it is the last lecture he or she will ever give.
Business junior Jacob Berman, co-chair of the Golden Apple award committee, said there were 750 nominees since Jan. 16, when this year’s nominations began, with well over 100 professors nominated.
“First of all, he got a ton of nominations,” Berman said, referring to Strobbe. “Clearly, he is someone who is beloved and just the way that so many students said he has helped them personally, he is so inspiring in class and he’s helped them out of class, with what he’s done on campus. All that just made him such an obvious choice.”
Strobbe is the first director of the University’s Addiction Treatment Services, a clinic that provides treatment for those recovering from alcohol and drug addictions. In 2007, he was the recipient of the Administration Management Award by the International Nursing Society on Addictions for his work.
On his Nursing School webpage, Strobbe notes that his main areas of academic interest are addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous, mental health and substance-use disorders, prevention, treatment and recovery, as well as spirituality.
After receiving the award, Strobbe informed his students that their scheduled midterm was still going to take place that day, though he admitted that this was the “best diversionary tactic” he had ever seen.
Nursing junior Kristina Ballough, one of Strobbe’s students, said she nominated Strobbe.
“He is honestly the best teacher I’ve ever had,” she said. “He is just so passionate and enthusiastic about everything, and just makes it fun to learn and keeps your attention for a three-hour class, which is ridiculous. He does a great job.”