LIMA — Earning a distinguished teaching award is pretty special in itself, but knowing the nominations came from students made it even more so for OSU-Lima’s Ed Valentine.“I think it is really very sweet because sometimes I think I am kind of hard core and kind of push them to the point to maybe even having them think I am a grumpy, old curmudgeon,” the associate professor of art said Thursday before receiving the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching.Valentine is one of 11 Ohio State professors to earn this year’s award. He is the ninth from the Lima campus to win it. His recognition came Thursday while OSU President E. Gordon Gee met with faculty. Gee spent the day on campus. “You have made an enormous difference,” Gee said, adding that selecting the recipients is always difficult.The award honors faculty members for teaching excellence. Recipients are nominated by students, alumni and faculty and are chosen by a committee of students, previous recipients and alumni. There were more than 600 nominations this year. “I am really very humbled and pretty shocked,” Valentine said. “It is a huge honor. It really is.” Valentine has taught drawing and painting classes at OSU-Lima for 14 years. He started as an adjunct at OSU in Columbus after doing graduate work there. He is credited for starting the art program on the Lima campus.“Ed is a wonderful example of the dedication our faculty have to teaching to their students,” OSU-Lima Dean and Director John Snyder said. “We are so proud of the way he engages his students in the visual arts and shares his expertise to help them see the world from a different perspective.”Outside the classroom, he has more than a dozen solo exhibitions in New York City and Los Angeles, as well as the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in The Czech Republic, and the Atrium Gallery in Prague. He does oil painting, largely abstract portraits right now.Valentine’s work has been part of group exhibitions in Paris, Tokyo and the United Arab Emirates. He also has three paintings in the permanent collection of the contemporary wing at the National Gallery in Prague. In September, he will open the season at the Linda Warren Gallery in Chicago. Despite his art success, Valentine loves teaching and has never thought of not doing it.“I love the fact that our students are mostly first-generation college students, which I am,” he said. “Part of what I get to do here is just making them feel comfortable about being a college student and trying to force into their heads that they can do it. That is what I love about it.”The Ohio State recognition includes a cash award and an increase in base salary. Valentine will also be inducted into the Academy of Teaching, which provides leadership for the improvement of teaching at OSU. You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.