Posted on Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Since 1968, David Conroy has been teaching math at Northern Virginia Community College. It’s estimated that he’s impacted the lives of more than 20,000 students in the decades that have followed. Many of those very same students correspond with him even today.

“36 years after your teaching me, you have made the most significant difference in my career. Your teaching was animated and engaging, and you were always available to help me,” wrote one former student. “With you, I finally understood math and you made a lasting impression upon me as my professor, a man to be admired and deeply respected,” wrote another.

One student even told him that he was the father she never had.

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During last month’s Annual Meeting banquet, Conroy received the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) and was presented with a check for $5,000.

An ordained deacon in the Catholic Church, Conroy’s classes are repeatedly filled to capacity. He keeps extensive office hours and encourages his students to become stakeholders in the learning process. 

“I try to establish what I call self-accountability with my students,” he said. “If I can make my classroom a learning village, then I’ve succeeded.”

Central to his teaching mission is the infusion of life lessons.

“I love my students. I try to be there for them in many ways, not just mathematically.”

During his illustrious career, Conroy has received numerous awards from the college for excellence in teaching: two Golden Apples, two Jefferson Cups and the Alumni Federation Cup award. As a significant personal honor, Dr. Conroy was invited by the White House to offer the invocation for President Obama when he visited the college in 2012.

Conroy has become a legendary fixture on the NVCC campus. Perhaps the most fitting testament to both his personal and professional achievements was summarized in this passage taken from a CATE nomination form:

Dr. Conroy has been a dedicated educator, assiduously committed to the complete well-being of his students. His legacy will always remain a magnificent testimony to the fundamental meaning of excellence in teaching.'

Craig Butterworth

A native of Richmond, Craig Butterworth is an award-winning broadcast journalist and communications professional. He has worked as a spokesperson, staff writer and editor for a variety of non-profit and for-profit organizations throughout the Richmond area.

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