The School of Education's award for distinguished teaching is named after Burton Gorman. Susan Klein presented a brief history of his life in her acceptance speech for the 2001 Burton Gorman Teaching Award. Her comments are reproduced verbatim.
Burton Gorman was born in 1907 in Mitchell, Indiana. His father, William, was a railroad station master, and his mother, Minnie, was a schoolteacher. Mr. Gorman attended Indiana University, where he met Rebecca Evelyn Tolle of Lebanon. They were introduced by her brother, who, with Burton, were members of the Acacia Fraternity. Burton and Rebecca married in 1931 after Burton graduated, and they became a team. Joseph Gorman fondly recalls that his father would write out his work in longhand and Rebecca would type his notes.
While completing his master's degree, also from Indiana University, Mr. Gorman began what would be a 57 year career in education. His first position was as a high school history teacher and band director, at Bardstown High School in Kentucky. Upon completion of his master's degree in 1936, he became the superintendent of schools in Rising Sun, Indiana.
From there he moved to Lawrenceburg for a position as high school principal. Another move to Connersville for positions as director of counseling, then principal, and then superintendent of schools. His last school position before initiating his doctoral program of studies was as principal at Manual High School in Indianapolis.
Upon completion of his Ph.D. from George Peabody College, now Vanderbilt University, Prof. Gorman joined the faculty at DePauw University, and then Kent State University, where he was Head of the Secondary Education Department and Professor of Educational Administration. During the summers he was a visiting professor at Butler University, Indiana University, University of Vermont, and the University of North Carolina. Following his retirement from full-time teaching in 1972, he joined the faculty of Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, as a part-time professor. Professor Gorman passed away in 1999.
Joseph says of his father that he never stopped trying to improve the educational process. He talked about the more than 200 workshops for teachers that his father gave around the country and the dozens of awards he received for his articles, speeches and other contributions. Among his honors was a Distinguished Alumnus Award from George Peabody College. His books include Education for learning to live together, published in 1969, and Secondary Education: the high school American needs, published in 1971. He wrote extensively about the teaching/learning process in schools, with articles appearing in Educational Leadership, Peabody Journal of Education, and the journal of Phi Delta Kappa.
In the early 80's, Prof. Gorman established teaching awards at Indiana University and Kent State University. In helping to develop the IU award for Professor Gorman, Professor Lee Ehman fondly recalls that Professor Gorman wanted to reward teachers who are risk takers, people whose innovative and imaginative ideas are foremost. Professor Gorman wanted teaching to be broadly construed, so as to include conceptualization, instruction across settings, individual work with students, and evaluation. The first Burton Gorman Teaching Award was presented in 1983.
Professor and Mrs. Gorman instilled a passion for education in their own sons, too. Drs. Benjamin Gorman and Dr. John Gorman were university professors. Dr. Joseph Gorman is a corporate executive in the Cleveland, Ohio, area, and has been a champion for education in his own right. In a 1997 hearing before the Subcommittee on Trade of the US House Committee on Ways and Means, Dr. Gorman addressed the need for all Americans to get the education and learn the skills they need in order to be as competitive as individual citizens as we are now as a nation. And, recently, he established the Rebecca Tolle and Burton W. Gorman Chair for Leadership in Education at his alma mater, Kent State University.
What a wonderful story about a family... and studying and working with families of children with special needs is at the heart of my teaching and research.
Dr. Joseph Gorman is very, very proud of his parents. He described his father as a passionate and highly effective teacher whose principal goal was to engender in all of his students a lifetime love for learning.