The Janet Rahamut Award is given in recognition to the faculty member who exhibits the most heart for students evidenced by frequent interaction and positive involvement with them outside of the classroom.
The award is named in memory of Dr. Janet Rahamut, a veteran English professor whose tragic death in 2000 shocked the campus and left a tremendous void in the collective heart of the Lee family. The award was created to honor Rahamut’s dedication to her students, in and out of the classroom.
Riley joined the Lee University Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in 1978, where he customarily teaches a wide range of biology classes, including Principles of Biology, Parasitology, and Histology. He served as the department's chair from 1994 to 1996.
In 1996, Riley was the recipient of Lee's Excellence in Scholarship Award and in 1999, he received the honor of System Educator of the Year for Lee University by the Tennessee Science Teachers Association. He was the first faculty recipient of the Charles W. Conn Servant Leadership Award in 2009.
The recipient of the Janet Rahamut Award is chosen by a student committee chaired by the Student Leadership Council chair and sponsored by the vice president for Student Development.
“Serving students is my passion,” said Riley. “Receiving this award from a committee of students is highly treasured.”
Riley is active in the medical missions program and since 1994 has helped lead 18 teams to various parts of Central and South America. He and his wife Lois are active members of Westmore Church of God and have two married daughters, Alicia Duckett and Rebekah Kirby.
Riley received his doctorate from the University of Kentucky, his master of arts from the University of Georgia, and his bachelor of arts from Lee College.