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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Professor Gilbert Gonzales awarded 2023 Chancellor’s Cup

Gonzales said he was “completely surprised and did not know [he] was even nominated” when presented with the award, which has honored mentorship beyond the classroom for over 60 years.
Alice Tang
The Buttrick Hall atrium, as photograhed on Oct. 29, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Alice Tang)

CORRECTION: This article was corrected on March 24 at 7:24 p.m. CDT. It previously stated that Professor Gonzales was awarded the 2024 Chancellor’s Cup. He was awarded for 2023.

Professor Gilbert Gonzales, associate professor in the Department of Medicine, Health and Society, was awarded the 2023 Chancellor’s Cup. In an interview with The Hustler, Gonzales shared his appreciation for being recognized as an integral figure for student mentorship in the community. 

The Chancellor’s Cup Award is given annually to a professor for their contributions to undergraduate student-faculty relationships beyond the classroom. The Nashville Vanderbilt Club established the award in 1963, and the Club’s president presents it. 

The award itself is a silver bowl from Tiffany & Co., bearing the name of each of its recipients since 1963. The Chancellor considers nominations from several on-campus organizations before distributing the award along with a $2,500 cash prize. 

“I go into the classroom every day with my enthusiasm for the topic that I’m going to be teaching,” Gonzalez said, “and it’s just nice to be recognized for that work inside the classroom, but also it’s very warm to also be recognized for the work that I do outside of the classroom.”

Gonzales conducts research examining healthcare disparities faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. His research has been covered by CNN, Reuters, the New York Post, The Guardian and U.S News and World Report. In addition to his teaching and research, Gonzales serves as a mentor for undergraduate, graduate and medical students who wish to further research LGBTQ+ healthcare. 

“A lot of my students seek out those research opportunities during their four years here, and I try to provide those opportunities either through their honors thesis, through independent study or through paid research assistantships to help them understand why we have these health inequalities and what research can do to eliminate them,” Gonzales said. 

Owen Cai, a sophomore, said Gonzales takes the time to learn each of his students’ backgrounds and interests to provide them with resources to help them prosper in their areas of interest.  

“Across all contexts, he is an exemplary thinker and person who really cares to connect to his students holistically. As my MHS advisor, he’s always looking for avenues to elevate the next generation of conscientious leaders,” Cai said. 

For other educators who wish to improve student faculty relationships, Gonzales suggested experimenting with trial and error to navigate becoming a mentor. 

“For those of us who have been around a little bit longer, sometimes we just need to educate ourselves, get some training and try to keep up with technology and the new generation,” Gonzales said. 

Audrey Lingan, a junior and student in Gonzales’ “Healthcare in the U.S.: Policy and Politics” class, spoke about his curriculum and passionate teaching.

“He is invested in his students even after they graduate,” Lingan said. “His courses are creatively thought out, and he finds great ways to boost student engagement.”

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About the Contributor
Alice Tang
Alice Tang, Staff Photographer
Alice Tang (‘25) is from Columbia, Mo., and is majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in environmental and sustainability studies. She enjoys birdwatching and arts and crafts. You can reach her at [email protected].

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