Denison Names Three Professors As New Holders of Named Chairs
Posted: April 2, 2001
GRANVILLE - Denison University honored its faculty members who hold named chairs at its Named Chairs Convocation on March 22 in Swasey Chapel. New holders of three chairs were also introduced - Rita Snyder, professor of psychology, as holder of the Henry Chisholm Chair in Natural Sciences; Tom Schultz, professor of biology, as holder of the Tight Family Chair in Physical Sciences; and Desmond Hamlet, professor of English, as holder of the Lorena Woodrow Burke Chair of English. A lunch reception in Slayter Hall followed the convocation.
New Holders of Denison's Named Chairs with University administrators outside Swasey Chapel following the convocation. From left: President Dale T. Knobel, Professor Desmond M. Hamlet, Professor Rita E. Snyder, Professor Thomas D. Schultz and Provost David R. Anderson.
- The Henry Chisholm Chair was founded in 1881 by the Chisholm family in honor of the late Henry Chisholm of Cleveland. At first the chair was limited to faculty in the chemistry and physics departments; but in 1998 the Denison Board of Trustees, noting that the original donors had not restricted the professorship in that way, and recognizing that science had changed over the hundred or so years, designated the Henry Chishom chair for a faculty member in the science division at Denison.
Provost David Anderson shared part of the minutes of the 1881 Board meeting at which the Board accepted the gift: "This Board, while recording their profound thankfulness for these munificent benefactions because of the urgent needs of our valued University thus so providentially lightened, esteems these offerings more precious for their association with the honored names they bear, and as an expression of a beautiful sentiment which cannot be too highly commended ... For generations will the benign influence of these endowments be felt in opening to eager minds the inspirations of an enlarged culture."
- The Tight Family Chair in the Physical Sciences was established and funded by the family during the college's 150th anniversary year, with the holder to be selected from among the faculty in the departments of physics, chemistry, biology and geology and geography, which explains why a biologist is to hold a chair in "physical" sciences. The Tight family is one of the "first families" of Denison. In all, some 21 members of the Tight Family, representing five generations, have been educated at Denison or one of its predecessor institutions.
Members of this distinguished family include William George Tight (class of 1886), who was awarded the University's first master of science degree in 1887 after he stayed an extra year to do special work in geology and natural history. He taught geology and botany at Denison for many years until he left to become the third president of the University of New Mexico in 1901.
Dexter J. Tight, William's son, graduated in 1912 with a bachelor of science degree in physics and a master of science in geology. Dexter Tight's long years of service to the college as a member of the board of trustees and as a leader of the college's advancement efforts were recognized with an Alumni Citation in 1972. His son, Dexter C. "Ted" Tight (class of 1948) served on the Board of Trustees with his father and is now a Life Trustee of Denison.
- Lorena Woodrow Burke, Denison class of 1906, was the spouse of Charles Felix Burke, class of 1904, who funded the establishment of a chair with gifts during his lifetime and with a further gift from his estate. It was Burke's wish that the chair be located in the English department. It was established in April 1937 after Burke's death; Lorena Woodrow Burke lived until 1967.
- Snyder earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan and her doctorate at Indiana University. She joined Denison's faculty in 1973. Her scholarship has focused most recently on causal relationships among gender, self-concept, nutrition and body-image attitudes. Snyder has also published research on racial and gender stereotypes in popular media and worked on issues of inferential decision-making and implied "superiority effects" in advertisements. Her work has appeared in such journals as Women and Health, Psychology of Women Quarterly, the Journal of Consumer Psychology and Behavior Research Methods.
Snyder has served as a research consultant during her career at Denison, including a period as head of marketing research for Paramount Pictures, Motion Pictures Division.
In nominating her for this professorship, Snyder's colleagues noted that while research and teaching are fully integrated activities for her, teaching is the "defining centerpiece" of her career at Denison. She received the "Professor of the Year" award in 1995. Her contribution to teaching extends far beyond her classroom. She has been instrumental to the mentorship program for untenured faculty, the faculty-led orientation program for new colleagues that commenced this past summer, the revival this year of "Teaching Matters," and her informal teaching/mentoring of a long list of colleagues on campus.
A former chair of the psychology department, Snyder has served on the President's Advisory Committee and University Council and she currently chairs the Personnel Committee as well as serving as a faculty representative to the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees.
- Schultz earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Chicago and his doctorate at the University of Texas. A post-doctoral research associate at the University of Arizona, Schultz taught at Yale University before coming to Denison in 1990. He has been a visiting professor at Penn State University. His research interests include visual communication involving color in dragonflies and damselflies, in behavioral and physiological ecology of animal coloration, the behavioral and physiological ecology of habitat preference in insects, predator defense strategies in insects and conservation and biomonitoring of insects as indicator taxa.
Schultz's long list of publications includes articles in Ohio Biological Survey, Physiological Zoology, Natural History magazine and Experimental Biology. He is the co-author of a book,The Biology of Tiger Beetles and a Guide to the Species of the South Atlantic States. Five of his publications or manuscripts in preparation have been co-authored with Denison students and he has advised 17 senior/honors thesis projects.
Chair of the biology department, Schultz also serves as director of the Biological Reserve. His nomination by faculty applauds his strong sense of leadership and integrity in his department, including his attentiveness to assessment, his work on redesigning the biology major, his work on searching for and mentoring junior faculty and, now, his leadership in helping to design the new life science building.
- Hamlet earned a bachelor of arts degree from Inter-American University (Puerto Rico) and a bachelor of divinity degree from Waterloo Lutheran University (Ontario). He earned both his master's degree and doctorate from the University of Illinois. He served as an ordained Lutheran minister from 1961 to 63 and has taught at the Inter-American University, SUNY at Buffalo, the University of Ife, Nigeria, and at the University of Illinois before joining the Denison faculty in 1984.
A scholar of the English poet John Milton, Hamlet also studies the Caribbean poet Wilson Harris and the Nigerian writer and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka. He is the author ofOne Greater Man: Justice and Damnation in 'Paradise Lost,'as well as a book-length manuscript of Wilson Harris and articles in journals such as Milton Studies and Review of Contemporary Fiction.
Hamlet has served as chair of the department of English and as a member of the former University Senate and of the Academic Affairs Council. He has also worked effectively and exhaustively on behalf both of students of color and of the broader purposes of diversity at Denison. His colleagues in the English department describe him as a highly esteemed mentor to his colleagues, a wise, tactful, and principled presence that both inspires and steadies his department.
Other Denison faculty that hold named chairs who also were honored at the convocation are: David Baker, the Thomas B. Fordham Chair in Creative Writing; Daniel D. Bonar, the George R. Stibitz Distinguished Professorship of Mathematics; Kennard B. Bork, Alumni Chair; Thomas A. Evans, Wickenden Chair of Chemistry; Jon R. Farris, the Jonathan R. Reynolds Distinguished Professorship in Theatre; Zaven A. Karian, Benjamin Barney Chair of Mathematics; Anthony J. Lisska, Charles and Nancy Brickman Distinguished Service Chair; Michael E. Mickelson, the J. Reid Anderson Distinguished Professorship in Physics; and Ronald E. Santoni, the Maria Theresa Barney Chair of Philosophy.
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