Orpen Receives Edgar M. Carlson Award Posted on May 31st, 2009 by

Rick Orpen

Rick Orpen

Rick Orpen, Professor of Music at Gustavus Adolphus College, received the 2009 Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching during the College’s commencement exercises on Sunday, May 31. Orpen was presented the award by the 2008 recipient, Associate Professor of Political Science Richard Leitch.

A member of the music department at Gustavus since 1980, Orpen has taught courses in music theory, jazz improvisation, jazz guitar, composition, and percussion techniques. Orpen holds a Ph.D., master’s degree, and bachelor of science degree from the University of Minnesota and is active as a guitarist, percussionist, and bassist.

Orpen’s performance credits include the Ordway Music Theater and the Walker Art Center along with numerous Gustavus events such as the Nobel Conference concerts and A Royal Affair. In 1999, he released a CD of jazz compositions entitled, “Hands of Time Jazz Quartet: Live from the Chestnut Tree Café.” He is the developer of the MIDI-based music lab at Gustavus and each summer he offers the Music Technology Workshop at the College which is attended by music educators from across the country.

Through the nominating process, Orpen was described by students as “completely accessible in and out of the classroom and a person who does everything possible to inspire and motivate students.” Another student said that Orpen “understands when students are frustrated in learning something and will never say no when someone asks for help.”

The Edgar M. Carlson Award was established by the Gustavus Board of Trustees in 1971 to honor former president Edgar Carlson for his years of distinguished leadership and in recognition of his commitment to academic excellence. Gustavus faculty, staff, administrators, and students nominate professors for this award, and each year at commencement a faculty member, selected by previous Carlson recipients, is awarded for their exceptional skill and effectiveness as an instructor.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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