Meera Chandrasekhar was named as the recipient of Baylor University's 2014 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, the only teaching award in the US that carries the single largest monetary reward of $250,000.
"Dr Chandrasekhar is an internationally known teacher, scholar who combines an impressive academic record with a stellar reputation for the extraordinary impact she has had on undergraduate and graduate students," said Elizabeth Davis, executive vice president and provost at Baylor.
Chandrasekhar will get an additional $25,000 for the physics department at the University of Missouri.
She is expected to teach in residence at Baylor during the spring 2015 semester.
"Dr Meera Chandrasekhar has an outstanding record of recognised teaching accomplishments and awards. The selection committee was particularly impressed at the impact her teaching has had at all university levels and with her K-12 outreach efforts," said Michael W Thompson, chair of the award committee.
"I am deeply honoured to learn that I will receive the 2014 Robert Foster Cherry Award, and I am humbled to join the illustrious group of teacher scholars who received the award before me," she said.
Chandrasekhar was named a finalist for the award in April 2013, along with fellow distinguished teacher and scholars Joan Breton Connelly, Professor of Classics and Art History, New York University, and Michael K Salemi, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
An IIT Madras Alumni, Chandrasekhar earned her Bachelors and Masters from MGM College in Mysore in 1968. She is a professor of physics and astronomy, and Curator's Teaching Professor of Physics at the University of Missouri.
In 1999, she received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from the National Science Foundation.
In 2002, she was honoured with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). She received an Alfred P Sloan Fellowship in 1985 and was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1992.