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    Art professor Grace Megnet wins TSUS Regents' Teacher Award

    Megnet holding a book titled Modern Art while leaning against a library bookshelf.
    Grace Megnet, professor of Art at Lamar State College Port Arthur, was named the Texas State University System Board of Regents Teacher Award winner during the Regents' quarterly meeting this past week.

    Grace Megnet arrived in Texas in the late 1990s in pursuit of the American dream. Little could she dream, though, that after more than two decades of dedicated hard work she would earn one of the most coveted education awards in the state.

    Megnet, an art professor at Lamar State College Port Arthur, was selected as the 2018 Texas State University System Board of Regents’ Teacher Award winner. The announcement came during the TSUS Regents Quarterly Meeting in Lost Pines, Texas this past week.

    Megnet received a call from LSCPA President Dr. Betty Reynard with the news.

    “She asked me if I was sitting down,” Megnet said of the president’s call. “Fortunately, I was. I honestly can’t recall what I said when Dr. Reynard told me that I got it.”

    Megnet’s voyage from Switzerland to Port Arthur has taken her down many varied paths. With little more than the clothes on her back, she arrived in Texas pursuing a dream that would include art, literature and education ... lots of education.

    Growing up in Switzerland, she studied at the University of Berne, and at the Sorbonne, and then became a teacher. In Switzerland, she prepared gifted children for the gymnasium for four years at a Swiss school, then joined Mother Teresa in her charitable works. Grace opened three new foundations, including one with a school for refugee children.

    When she came to the U.S., she taught Fine Arts at a Catholic school, opened an art gallery, earned an Master’s of Fine Art in painting, and pursued a career as an artist. She joined LSCPA in 2005 and became a full‐time assistant professor in 2009. She recently completed a second master’s degree in literature. 

    “When I found out about winning the Regents’ Teacher Award, I had a flood of memories come to me,” she said. “I remembered Texas’ goodwill toward this immigrant. I remembered a house, a car, a cat, a college degree, art shows, stories published. I remembered smiling faces, listening hearts, encouraging words, outstretched hands, and hugs. I remembered tears and laughter with my friends, and I remembered the gentle presence of my husband through it all.”

    The TSUS Board of Regents annually recognizes one teacher from a member institution with the Regents' Teacher Award. Regents' Teachers are selected based on their outstanding performance as educators, contributions to the development of courses, and use of innovative teaching methods, among other criteria. In addition to a framed resolution and commemorative medallion, winners receive a $3,000 cash award and maintain the title of "Regents' Teacher" for the duration of their service within TSUS. Established in 2015, Megnet is the first instructor from Lamar State College Port Arthur to win the award.

    “Grace’s global education and multilingual talents offer students a glimpse into the world beyond Southeast Texas and the United States,” Dr. Reynard said. “Not only is she accomplished and respected within her profession but students seek her out for her deep knowledge of art, her willingness to support their success, coupled with her engaging personality, wit, and wisdom.”

    Megnet earned her bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages from the University of Berne in Switzerland, and three master’s degrees in Art from Stephen F. Austin State University, and Studio Art and English from Lamar University. She speaks Swiss, German and English fluently, and is proficient in Italian, Greek and Spanish. She has displayed art in exhibitions around the world and her work is on permanent display at the Swiss Embassy in Madrid, Spain, the Museum of Corme in Spain and in Beaumont at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas and Lamar University. She is a five-time first-place winner of the Texas Association of Creative Writing Teachers competition, and has studied abroad in Japan and Korea.

    Megnet will take part in an official presentation of the award during the February 2019 meeting of the TSUS Regents.

    “Winning this award means that Texas honors my work as a scholar and a teacher. It also means that Texas validates my efforts to give back to the community. Furthermore, it is a clear proof that the United States of America is still the land where nothing is impossible, and dreams,” she said. “I have always understood Lamar State College Port Arthur and its people as a beacon of hope where we all strive for excellence, work toward a brighter future, and help make dreams become realities.

    “If something this important and this big can happen for me, it can happen for anybody.”