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MU Professor Awarded 2012 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence

April 9th, 2012

Story Contact: Nathan Hurst, 573-882-6217,

By Jerett Rion

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton and Commerce Bank Chairman Jim Schatz of Commerce Bank today awarded one of the 2012 William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence to Paul Crabb, a professor and director of music in the MU School of Music.

Deaton, Schatz and a group of professors, administrators and staff surprised Crabb by honoring him with the Fellowship, which includes a $10,000 check. Kemper Fellowships are awarded to five outstanding teachers at the University of Missouri each year.

The William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence were established in 1991 with a $500,000 gift. Kemper, a 1926 MU graduate, was a well-known civic leader in Kansas City until his death in 1989. His 52-year career in banking included top positions at banks in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Commerce Bank manages the trust fund.

Paul Crabb

Paul Crabb has been a professor and director of choral activities for the MU School of Music in the College of Arts and Science since 2003, teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in choral music.  In addition to his time spent in the classroom, Crabb conducts two major ensembles, the University Singers, MU’s premier choral ensemble, and the Choral Union, a group of 150 MU students and community members.

Crabb is able to effectively teach his students to conduct music by applying information the students have already learned, such as music history and music theory. Crabb also is able to connect with his students through his enthusiasm, often praising and complimenting a job well done. His students say that this enthusiasm for music and his ability to bring attention to detail make him an exemplary teacher.

“His attentiveness doesn’t take a break,” Kaitlin Foley, former student and current music teacher, said. “Because of this, working with Dr. Crabb in an educational setting has been immeasurably crucial to my study of technique and musicality.”

Crabb’s influence goes beyond motivation in the classroom. His ensembles have performed at numerous conferences and conventions, with students winning awards for their choral conducting and singing performances. Current and former students consider him to be one of their most inspiring mentors.

“As a non-music major, he has cultivated what will be a lifelong passion of mine,” Drake Douglas, a student and member of MU’s University Singers, said. “His validating attitude has been one of the strongest driving forces behind my continuation of musical study.”

“The University is fortunate to have someone of Crabb’s ability and character leading its choral program,” Robert Shay, the director of the MU School of Music, said. “He is a man who inspires students to do their very best work and to stretch themselves in new directions.”

Crabb received a bachelor’s degree in elementary and secondary music education from Bethel College, a master’s degree in vocal performance from Wichita State University and a doctoral degree in choral music education from Florida State University.