For the faculty at Hobart and William Smith, there is no greater honor than receiving an endowed professorship. The appointment increases opportunities and financial support for faculty research, scholarship and academic initiatives while celebrating the best and brightest teacher-scholars at HWS. Thanks to the generosity of many HWS community members, three professors have been named this year to receive this honor.
Ted Aub, professor of art and architecture, is the recipient of the Classes of 1964 Endowed Chair, established in honor of the 40th Reunion of those classes to help the Colleges recognize a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.
“These Classes have a very strong vision of the importance of recognizing great faculty and excellent teaching,” said the late Trustee C. Dixon Kunzelmann ’64, who played a key leadership role in organizing the gift. “This symbolizes the importance faculty play in the lives of students.”
“There are few greater honors you can receive in this profession that are from your home institution than an endowed chair position,” says Aub, who came to the Colleges in 1981. “As there are relatively few of them, it is a huge endorsement of the work you have done after many years of service. It came to me as a total surprise; I am honored and humbled and of course very pleased to receive this special award.”
Aub plans to use the endowed chairship to purchase supplies and equipment for his upcoming projects, to help pay for studio assistants, and to fund travel to “places I have always wanted to go to see great works of art and architecture.”
“I want to see Chapelle Notre Dame du Haut (Le Corbusier) in Ronchamp, France-maybe this summer,” Aub says. “And I want to visit the monuments of Egypt in the next few years, and sites in the Middle East, Turkey – you know, the cradle of civilization. I want to see some of the objects that I love to teach about. Of course I will continue traveling in Italy as well. Whatever fuels my interests will find its way into my courses. The value of this endowed chair is immense; the funds are certainly useful, but the honor is priceless.”
Donna Davenport, professor of dance and former associate dean of the faculty, has been named the John Milton Potter Professor in the Humanities, endowed by the class of 1949.
At the suggestion of Bill Scandling ’49, LL.D. ’67, the endowment was named in honor of John Milton Potter, who served as president of the Colleges from 1942-1947. Potter died suddenly of a heart attack in 1947, leaving a powerful impact on the Classes of 1949.
“We decided that the best thing we could do would be to endow a professorship – the Colleges’ first endowed professorship,” remembers Tony Bridwell ’49 about his classmates’ decision to endow the John Milton Potter Professorship in the Humanities in honor of their 50th Reunion “We had great admiration for Potter. To honor that memory, our endowment is awarded to professors who exhibit Potter’s influential character and invaluable leadership skills.”
Davenport, who joined the faculty in 1990, says: “It is a deep honor to be awarded the professorship, first because my department colleagues have nominated me, and second because those sitting in endowed chairs have deliberated with the president to make these selections. Access to additional research funds makes it possible for me to travel to collaborate with colleagues at other institutions, present research at more than one conference each year, and pay professional artists with whom I choreograph, perform or produce concerts. It will make a big difference and is very exciting.”
The Donald R. Harter ’39 Professorship in the Humanities has been awarded to Professor of Political Science Jodi Dean.
The late Donald R. Harter ’39, P’68, LL.D. ’76 dedicated years of service to the Colleges. In the 1939 Hobart Echo, he was described as “one of the very few men whom we shall always be proud to have known as a friend.” After graduation, he spent 20 years as a Hobart trustee, vice-chair of the Board of Trustees, and honorary trustee. In 1976 he received an honorary degree from the Colleges.
In honor of his love of Hobart and William Smith and his commitment to a liberal arts education, The Donald R. Harter ’39 Professorship in the Humanities was established and funded by Harter’s friends, family members, associates and classmates.
“The endowed professorships are the highest academic honor a faculty member can receive,” says Dean, a member of the faculty since 1993. “I was completely thrilled when I got the call from President Mark Gearan. And I was surprised. I have many dedicated and talented colleagues. I was particularly honored to receive the Harter chair because it has been held by Steven Lee from the Philosophy Department, who is internationally recognized for his important work in political and moral philosophy.”