Venerable Faculty Honored with Chair, Professorships
Date of Event: April 24, 2009
Posted: May 11, 2009 / Last Updated: May 21, 2009
Denison University’s faculty is renowned for its excellence, and recently three professors received extraordinary recognition from the college. At this year’s Academic Awards Convocation on April 24, David O. Woodyard, Steven M. Vogel and C. Wesley Walter were awarded named professorships, bringing the total of such positions at Denison to 19. This remarkable number is representative of the college’s high academic standing, as well as strong foundation support and the loyal dedication of Denison’s alumni, parents and friends. The college’s faculty includes 201 full-time professors.
Denison’s criterion for the selection of all named professorships includes the quality of the faculty members’ contributions in scholarship, teaching, and service to their students, the college and the discipline.
David Woodyard, professor of religion, was awarded the Alumni Chair, which was created by alumni in 1927 and first awarded in 1941. It recognizes faculty who are outstanding teachers, scholars and colleagues. They have earned the respect of their peers and their students, engage with and relate to alumni, have achieved distinction in their field, and demonstrate outstanding service to the Denison community. In the past the chair has been awarded to professors Wally Chessman, Bob Haubrich and Ken Bork.
Woodyard joined the faculty in 1960 and also graduated from Denison in 1954. He holds additional degrees from Union Theological Seminary and Vanderbilt University Divinity School.
In making the presentation, President Dale Knobel said, “David, it is only fitting that the Alumni Chair should be bestowed upon someone who so profoundly affects the lives of so many of our graduates, both while they are students at our college and long thereafter. Your commitment to your alma mater has shone through over a long tenure of teaching, scholarship, and devotion to the careful and caring guidance of your students.”
Steven Vogel, professor of philosophy, was awarded the inaugural Nancy Eshelman Brickman Professorship in memory of Dr. Ellenor Shannon.
This professorship was created by Nancy Eshelman Brickman, a Denison graduate in the class of 1954. It honors the late Ellenor O. Shannon, professor emerita of English, who taught at Denison from 1936 until 1965 and was named the Lorena Woodrow Burke Chair of English in 1962. She was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, as was Eshelman. The professorship recognizes a faculty member who is an outstanding teacher, scholar and colleague, who has earned the respect of peers and students, has achieved distinction in his or her field, and demonstrates outstanding service to the Denison community.
Vogel joined the faculty in 1984. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University, a Master of Arts from Boston University and a doctorate from Boston University.
In presenting a citation to Vogel, President Knobel said, “Steve, you have compiled an exemplary record as teacher, scholar, and member of the community. You also have been an active and respected contributor to important discussions in your profession, in your department, and in the college as a whole. In these capacities you have gained the respect of your colleagues and peers.”
Wes Walter was awarded the J. Reid Anderson Distinguished Professorship in Physics and Astronomy. First inaugurated in 1995, the chair honors the late Denison alumnus and trustee J. Reid Anderson, a prominent inventor and entrepreneur who graduated from Denison in 1938. It was established to not only recognize outstanding teaching by a physics and astronomy faculty member, but also to recognize his or her ability to inspire the same quality in aspiring younger faculty members. Previous holders of the chair include Michael E. Mickelson.
Walter joined the faculty in 1996. He earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Dallas, a Master of Arts from Rice University and a doctorate from Rice University.
In presenting the award, President Knobel said, “Wes, in an extraordinary alignment with the goals of the J. Reid Anderson Chair, your contributions to the college run deep and wide – across the spectrum of proficient teaching and accomplished scholarship, and significant contributions to the many other purposes of the college.”
The other holders of named chairs at Denison were also honored at the Convocation. Their names and titles are as follows: David Baker, Thomas B. Fordham Chair in Creative Writing; Gary L. Baker, William G. Bowen Distinguished Professor; Robin L. Bartlett, Bank One Professor of Economics; Sohrab Behdad, John E. Harris Chair of Economics; Daniel D. Bonar, George R. Stibitz Distinguished Professor of Mathematics; Steve D. Doty, John and Christine Warner Professor; Harry Heft, Henry Chisholm Chair in the Natural Sciences; Joan Krone, Benjamin Barney Chair of Mathematics; Eric C. Leibl, Richard Lucier Professor; Anthony J. Lisska, Maria Theresa Barney Chair of Philosophy; James R. Pletcher, Charles and Nancy Brickman Distinguished Service Chair; Thomas D. Schultz, Tight Family Professor in the Natural Sciences; Mitchell Snay, William T. Utter/Clyde E. Williams Jr. Professor; Ann C. Townsend, Dominick Consolo Professor; Marlene A. Tromp, John and Christine Warner Professor; and Cynthia A. Turnbull, Jonathan R. Reynolds Distinguished Professor in Theatre.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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