2003 Kemper Fellows
Patricia Okker has been teaching at MU since 1990. She is now associate chair of the department of English. Students in Okker’s classes have been known to change their major to American literature once infected with her contagious enthusiasm and quest for knowledge. One student said, “Dr. Okker is the most inspiring, encouraging, and talented teacher I have ever worked with.”
Okker has earned numerous grants and awards for her professional work, but perhaps the biggest reward is to watch former students following in her footsteps. A colleague wrote, “Her students, many of whom are aspiring teachers themselves, have resolved to emulate not only her methods as a teacher, but her force of character, her sense of mission, and her belief in the process of education itself. Some portion of Pat Okker will be carried with them when they take teaching jobs of their own.”
Okker earned her bachelor of arts at Allegheny College and her master of arts at the University of Georgia. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.