Lawrence Okamura began teaching at MU in 1987. In his 16 years at the university, Okamura has stressed the importance of history in basic education. By using role playing, foreign language exercises and musical pieces to help enhance certain themes, Okamura breaks through the barrier many teachers face: what students think they should know and what students actually want to know. Okamura’s students absorb the knowledge he shares and offer their own perspectives. His students label him as brilliant, energetic and “masterful.”
In addition to his duties in the history department, Okamura serves as an adjunct professor in classical studies. He also serves on the national teaching committee for the World History Association and on the Editorial Board of the World History Teaching Journal, both of which are dedicated to enhancing the teaching of international history to K-12 students.
Among his many awards and recognitions, Okamura won the Purple Chalk Teaching Award from the College of Arts and Science in 1994. Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate approved President Bush’s nomination of Okamura to be one of the 24 members of the National Council for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Okamura earned his bachelors of history at Pomona College, followed by his masters of history at the University of Chicago. He completed his Ph.D. in Roman history at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.