Park Reilly, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 1986

Chemical Engineering

Park Reilly has been a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering since 1967. Professor Reilly is a respected scholar engaged in research and teaching on the application of statistics in engineering. His courses range from the introductory level all the way to graduate courses. His expertise is widely recognized and he holds cross appointments in the departments of Management Sciences, Faculty of Engineering and Statistics and Actuarial Science in the Faculty of Mathematics. Professor Reilly came to Waterloo after a twenty-year career in the chemical industry. That industrial experience has provided him with an inexhaustible supply of practical examples and illustrations of his course materials. His ability to demonstrate convincingly why a topic is important, and to do it on the basis of first-hand experience, gives him great credibility with his students. The nomination of Park Reilly for the Distinguished Teacher Award was supported in the strongest terms by letters from his undergraduate and graduate students, by former students, and by faculty colleagues. These letters clearly show that his appeal as a teacher goes far beyond credibility and expertise. The picture which emerges is that of a dedicated, enthusiastic, and immensely effective teacher who spares no effort to help his students in their learning. His students see him as warm and caring, and utterly unselfish in making himself available to them. A formal citation does not convey much of the style of the man, but some of it can be gleaned from the letters. These quotations are very suggestive: “If I could pinpoint the one quality which makes Dr. Reilly so popular with the students and so successful in imparting knowledge to them, it would be the enthusiastic and exuberant manner in which he lectures.” And another: “It is his wonderful ability to argue, talk, respond, etc. which brings him success in his teaching. His students are always at ease in asking questions and receiving answers.” And still one more: “His greatest asset throughout the course was his willingness and desire to work with the students, rather than just present the information and leave it at that.”