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Students surprise Howard on last day of class

On the last day of class, Professor Matthew Howard received a touching surprise from his students, when they presented him with a thank you card signed by all, and a restaurant gift certificate.

Howard’s “SOWO 701: Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs: Biomedical Basis” course covers those and other kinds of addictions — internet, shopping, food — and is a demanding one with a lot of information to cover, he said. Students read 10 books, including a large textbook; were quizzed every week; and wrote a number of book reviews. They worked hard and did such a great job that Howard treated them to a pizza party on the last day.

Howard was impressed with the students’ efforts. But as it turns out, the students were just as impressed with his.

Boyd Wilson, MSW ’13, stood up to speak on behalf of the class:

“Dr. Howard, we just really appreciate all of the tireless hard work you put into this class for us this semester. You really worked hard for us and we noticed and we appreciate you for that. You showed that you recognize that different students have different learning styles, and so provided opportunities for each of us to shine in our preferred learning style way. We thank you for recognizing that and providing opportunities for each of us in this way!


We have been the beneficiaries of your heart for both research and teaching, including the fact that we have benefited from much of your own research in the field of addictions. Thank you for sharing that with us. Your enthusiasm for teaching and learning has been contagious as well. Again, we say thank you!”

“I think it’s the nicest thing you can have,” said Howard of their acknowledgement. “It’s incredibly meaningful…and amazingly gratifying to get a note like that.”

He also enjoys receiving phone calls and emails from former students. “Over the years, I’ve had dozens, if not scores of students who have stayed in touch,” said Howard. One recently contacted him from a class he taught 16 years ago, and Howard remembered him.

As a nationally-renowned researcher, author and journal editor, “Teaching is only one of the things I do…but I think it’s the most gratifying,” he said. “I really love it.”