The USC Mentoring Awards recognized professors in departments across the University Wednesday evening in the University Club.The awards program hopes to promote mentoring as “part of the culture” of the University and a fundamental tool for academic success, according to the awards website.Started in 2005, the awards have been given to nearly 300 faculty for their mentoring efforts in the university community. Each year, 21 faculty are chosen “through a rigorous and competitive nomination and selection process,” according to the award program.Out of more than 150 nominations for faculty mentoring awards, 21 were chosen. Twelve faculty members reviewed letters from students and fellow faculty members from across the University. Edward Finegan, director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Master of Ceremonies for the event, had words of commendation for nominees.“It is humbling to come face to face with an extraordinary group of colleagues,” Finegan said.Finegan also spoke about the three essential themes he found in the recommendation letters and which he believes lead to effective mentoring.“The first [theme] had to do with caring. The mentees and the mentors frequently talked about how much mentors who are important in their lives had cared about them,” Finegan said. “Another is generosity, how much time they gave, how much dedication they gave, and how available they made themselves to their mentees. The third [theme] is the care that mentors take in cultivating writing amongst their mentees.”Provost Michael Quick also spoke, discussing the power of mentoring in a university environment.“I am speaking to the choir,” Quick said. “Everyone in this room understands the importance of mentoring. We are only going to be the kind of university we aspire to be by having the great networks of people who understand how to get ahead, how to be the best scholars we can be, and that only happens because we have great role models. Nobody does this stuff alone.”Quick continued by saying that the individual attention and little moments of encouragement given by mentors in attendance has a major impact on students.“You can have all of the formal mentoring in the world, but in the end, we forget how much that one comment at the right time can have all the difference in the world,” Quick said.As the awards were presented to the 21 faculty recipients, Finegan repeated the points made in their recommendation letters. The letters expressed the important role faculty members played in the lives of the students and fellow faculty members who wrote the recommendations.“All those who took care to write letters, all those cared enough about their colleagues or their teachers to sit down and write letters explaining how much those mentors had meant to them,” Finegan said. “That’s a very humbling experience, and one I think we all can very much enjoy.”Of the faculty honored, seven staff members were from the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, five were from the USC Keck School of Medicine, four from the Viterbi School of Engineering and one faculty member each was selected from the Thornton School of Music, Ostrow School of Dentistry, Price School of Public Policy, School of Cinematic Arts, School of Architecture and Marshall School of Business.