New professorships illustrate Colleges' pride in excellence in teaching and scholarship
May 19, 2000 Geneva, NY – Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Mark D. Gearan has announced the appointments of four professors to fill the three new named chairs approved by the Board of Trustees at its February meeting and one existing chair. The appointees are:
• Professor of Chemistry David Craig to The Philip J. Moorad '28 and Margaret N. Moorad Professorship in the Sciences;
• Professor of English James Crenner to The John Milton Potter;
• Professor of Economics Scott McKinney to The William R. Kenan, Jr.,; and
• Professor of English and American Studies Lee Quinby to The Donald R. Harter '39 Professorship.
Endowed professorships have become an increasingly important part of the higher education landscape, serving to honor distinguished faculty and providing funds to support faculty research, scholarship and other academic initiatives.
In a letter to the campus community, President Gearan expressed his pleasure at having the opportunity to close his first year as HWS president with this announcement. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the many alumni, alumnae, friends, and other supporters who made these chairs possible, Gearan wrote, “This unprecedented opportunity to name four appointees marks a milestone for the Colleges and a deeply felt appreciation of faculty who stand at the heart of the institution.”
The three professorships approved by the Board this year expand the opportunity for faculty recognition, as in the past only one named chair existed and only faculty members who taught in the humanities qualified for that appointment.
Sheila Bennett, HWS provost, noted, “It's a point of great institutional pride that our alumni and alumnae, as well as friends and others like the Kenan Foundation, not only value the excellent faculty here but are willing to support such excellence with the funds to make these professorships possible.”
The Philip J. Moorad '28 and Margaret N. Moorad Professorship in the Sciences is the first endowed chair in the sciences in the history of the Colleges. It was funded through the generosity of the Moorad family in honor of husband and father, Dr. Philip J. Moorad, who had always treasured his experience at Hobart. Born in Persia, Moorad moved to the U.S. when he was 16, matriculated at Hobart College fours years later, and received the bachelor of science degree in just three years. He went on to receive his medical degree at the University of Rochester and opened a practice in New Britain, Conn. True to the sense of community he experienced at Hobart, Moorad was also a community leader until his death in 1998.
One of the most visible and active members of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges' faculty and community, Professor of Chemistry David Craig, who now occupies the Moorad Chair, brings what colleagues and students describe as “unquenchable enthusiasm” and “innovative strategies” to the classroom, laboratory, and many endeavors beyond those venues. Craig has recently received a great deal of national recognition for his collaborative work with Professor Wesley Perkins on the prevention of alcohol abuse on college campuses, but Craig has long brought distinction to the sciences at HWS, helping secure numerous equipment grants and developing collaborative relationships with other institutions. Noted for his service to the community and burning desire that students not only pass his courses but embrace their learning, Craig is the very essence of a scientist in the liberal arts. Craig received the B.A. from California State University, Chico, and the Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside.
The John Milton Potter Professorship offers another example of support coming from alumni and alumnae of these Colleges. The Hobart College Class of 1949, on the occasion of its 50th Reunion, presented the Colleges with a $1 million check to endow a professorship honoring John Milton Potter, a former president of the Colleges. The journey toward creating the professorship began 10 years earlier as members of the Class of 1949 celebrated their 40th Reunion and pledged to endow the professorship. Although Potter served only briefly as President (1942-47) he made an indelible impression on students and on the future of the Colleges. Potter was instrumental in the formation of the Western Civilization series of courses that became the core of the Colleges' unique multi-disciplinary liberal arts curriculum, and it was during Potter's presidency that the Colleges of the Seneca were created, assuring full equality between Hobart and William Smith.
Teacher, poet, mentor, consummate colleague, and a pillar of the community, Professor of English James Crenner, who will occupy the Potter Chair, is described by students and faculty members alike as one of the Colleges' great treasures. While his work as a poet draws praise in some of the leading showcases for contemporary American poetry, Crenner continues to serve and teach with the same focus, dedication, and insight that have drawn students and faculty members to his classes and office for more than 30 years. Crenner leads by example: teaching an unusually broad array of courses; serving on countless committees at the Colleges; and continuing to publish and grow as a poet. Studying with Crenner is understood by generations of students as a quintessential part of the Hobart and William Smith experience. Crenner received the B.A. from St. Vincent College and the Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.
The William R. Kenan, Jr. Professorship has been established and endowed at the initiative of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, which commemorates William Rand Kenan, Jr., chemist, engineer, industrialist, farmer and philanthropist. Acting upon a long standing belief in the values of liberal education and in the Colleges dedicated to that mission, Kenan made a substantial challenge grant to Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 1998. The new professorship resulting from this grant reflects the support of many alumni, alumnae, parents, and friends who have joined with the Trust in making a permanent statement of their commitment to furthering the legacy of outstanding teaching and learning at these Colleges.
Professor of Economics Scott McKinney, first Kenan Chair, is routinely praised for “going above and beyond” what people would ordinarily expect from even the finest teachers. Colleagues and students laud his teaching excellence, scholarship, and, above all else, his humanity. As an economist, McKinney has brought vitality and new perspectives to academic inquiry at HWS. He is widely credited with expanding the Colleges' focus on Latin American economies, as well as for bolstering enrollments and enthusiasm for core elements of the economics program. McKinney possesses extraordinary academic credentials. A former visiting scholar at the Urban Institute (a leading think tank in Washington, D.C.) and a former Fulbright Scholar who has taught extensively in Latin America, McKinney embodies the very best aspects of a liberal arts education. He received the B.A., cum laude, from Middlebury College and the Ph.D. from Indiana University.
The Donald R. Harter '39 Professorship is funded by the generosity of the many friends, family members, associates, and classmates of Donald R. Harter in honor of his service, generosity, and the many accomplishments that reflect his commitment to higher education, especially the liberal arts. As a student, Harter gave his very best to the Colleges' community. Alongside his outstanding academic achievement, Don was described in the 1939 Hobart “Echo” as one of the very few men whom we shall always be proud to have known as a friend. A graduate of Cornell University Law School, Don achieved extraordinary professional success as an attorney and