Paulsen ’49 Professorship Established – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Paulsen ’49 Professorship Established

Hobart alumnus George E. Paulsen ’49 made arrangements to create the George E. Paulsen ’49 Professorship through a bequest to the Colleges prior to his death in June 2009. This newly-established endowed professorship is the eighth in the history of Hobart and William Smith and will honor the research, scholarship and teaching of a distinguished member of our faculty. 

“We are grateful to George Paulsen for recognizing the important role that endowed professorships play in the lives of faculty and students,” says Provost and Dean of the Faculty Teresa Amott. “His generosity supports the unique collaborations between faculty and students in conducting research, presenting at conferences and publishing their findings.”

A faculty member, selected from nominations by his or her peers, will be appointed to the George E. Paulsen ’49 Professorship for a five-year term and will receive a stipend of $2,500 annually during that period to support research. Appointees will exhibit teaching excellence, commitment to students, scholarly and intellectual accomplishments and service to the Colleges’ community. 

Paulsen was a donor in each of the Colleges’ three comprehensive campaigns. His giving to HWS directly reflected his personal ethos and professional experiences, and began modestly with gifts to the Annual Fund in the first several years after his graduation. Around the occasion of his 40th Reunion, his level of support increased in earnest.

Moved to add his name to the list of donors to the Herbert J. Welker ’41 Memorial Scholarship, Paulsen also began to simultaneously make significant gifts to fund scholarships for students with an interest in the natural sciences. He later created the George E. Paulsen ’49 Endowed Scholarship, a permanent source of funds, which to date has benefited more than a dozen students.  

Providing insight into his motivation behind his lifetime of support, Paulsen wrote the following to President Mark D. Gearan in 2000, “The best colleges in the nation are known for the excellence of their academic programs and accomplishments of their graduates.”  

Following his graduation from high school, Paulsen enlisted in the U.S. Navy Air Corps and fought in WWII, serving until 1946.  He then earned a B.A. in history from Hobart. Paulsen worked for a short period at an aeronautical firm before enrolling in the master’s program at Rutgers University and then earning his Ph.D. in history at Ohio State University. He was a professor of history at Arizona State University from 1959 until his retirement in 1991. A prolific reader, researcher and writer throughout his lifetime, Paulsen’s book “A Living Wage for the Forgotten Man: The Quest for Fair Labor Standards” details the history of the minimum wage and reflects his interests in U.S. diplomatic history and international investment interests in the American southwest.

In the photo above, Paulsen is pictured with Sarah Gaffin’78, Assistant Vice President for Planned Giving.