Dr. William “Bill” Cornelius, who has taught respiratory care at Temple College for more than 40 years, has been selected to receive the school’s 2017 Barnhart Teacher of the Year Award. The award includes a $2,000 stipend and the winner becomes Temple College’s nominee for a statewide teaching excellence award sponsored by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation.
Cornelius joined the Temple College faculty in January 1975 as an instructor in the Respiratory Therapy program. He was named director of the program in 1982 and has held the position ever since.
“Dr. Cornelius has shaped and molded the Temple College Respiratory Care program into one of the best programs in the state,” said David Fry, the program’s Director of Clinical Education. “He is passionate about respiratory care and his passion is contagious.”
Cornelius’ students pass national credential exams on par with baccalaureate program graduates and are equally as competitive and often preferred by employers over other graduates because of their work ethic, knowledge and performance. Many of his former students have gone on to become supervisors, department heads, college faculty, attorneys, physicians and physician assistants.
“One would be hard pressed to seek medical treatment within 150 miles of Temple and not run across at least one therapist who Bill has not directly impacted,” Fry said in his nomination letter. Fry himself if a graduate of the program under Cornelius.
Samaria Adkinson, another graduate of the program, said Cornelius is “truly the epitome of excellence in teaching.” “Dr. C taught me, by example, the difference between a job and a career,” Adkinson said. “A job is something one does and a career is something that becomes a part of oneself.”
Each year, Cornelius takes a student team to the Texas Society Respiratory Care annual convention to compete in the “sputum bowl” trivia game. Temple College teams almost always make it to the finals and on several occasions have won the state tournament, beating many four-year programs in the process.
Cornelius studied respiratory therapy at Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) and worked at Brackenridge Hospital in Austin before joining the Temple College faculty. Since joining the Temple College faculty, he earned a master’s degree in Health Services Management from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and an Ed.D. in Education from Baylor University.
Cornelius has served on the boards of numerous professional and civic organizations and is active in the Temple College Faculty Council. He also has been a reviewer for the past several editions of Egan’s Fundamentals of Respiratory Care.
Cornelius is the 29th faculty member at Temple College to receive the Barnhart Award, which was created in 1989. Previous recipients of the award include Robert Schlieker, Gwen Hauk, Virginia (Willis) Leak, Wayne Toone, Michael Donahue, Danny Scott, Sarah Nell Summers, Ed Morgan, Hal Ward, Nancy Burroughs, Billye Weaver, Pat Simpson, Sharon Burson, Talma Botts, Karen Robinson, Leigh Boyd, Paul Foutz, Kerry Aguillon, Kirby Johnson, Cynthia Martinez, Terry Austin, Norma Maedgen, Leslie Keeling-Olson, Neil Coker, Tom Fairlie, Craig Collins, Jason Locklin and Brent Colwell.
Two faculty members from Temple College – Robert Schlieker and Michael Donahue – have gone on to receive the Piper Professor Award.
The Barnhart Award is named in honor of Claudia and W.T. Barnhart, whose family established an endowment through the Temple College Foundation in 1988 to make the award possible.