"The gift allows Wittenberg to honor at once one of its most distinguished graduates, H. Orth Hirt, and one of its most distinguished faculty members, Professor Charles Chatfield," President Baird Tipson said.
"Endowed faculty chairs enable a university to recognize its outstanding teacher/scholars, and I am eager to encourage more donors to support Wittenberg and its faculty in this most visible and appropriate fashion. Endowed chairs allow Wittenberg to compete for, and keep, the kind of outstanding teacher/scholars that inspire students to excellence," he added.
The chair honors the memory of Hirt, a 1911 graduate of Wittenberg who began his career as a teacher of biology and history. At retirement he was president and chief executive officer of The Erie, the largest writer of auto and homeowners' insurance in Pennsylvania. He died in 1982 at age 95.
In a 1954 letter to his fellow alumni, Hirt said "...before two years were up I had fallen in love! Yes, madly in love, and it was not with some pretty co-ed either. I was in love with Wittenberg -- and you couldn't have dragged me away with a free scholarship to Yale, Harvard or Princeton."
Chatfield, who joined the Wittenberg faculty in 1961, is a noted authority on peace history and has written or edited numerous books and articles on the subject. Among his latest efforts, "An American Ordeal: The Antiwar Movement of the Vietnam Era," co-authored with the late Charles DeBenedetti, won the 1991 Kuehl Prize.
"It is a great honor and a vote of confidence from my colleagues," Chatfield said. "I am very pleased for the department and the university that the chair was endowed and I am grateful to the donor. I have valued being at an institution like Wittenberg which has valued scholarship as well as research and teaching."
"Those who know Charles think no one in the university is more deserving the honor of being named to Wittenberg's first endowed chair," Provost Sammye Greer said.
In their nomination of Chatfield for the chair, the history faculty stated that he "has been among the most prolific scholars in the institution for the last quarter century and that his scholarly contributions to peace studies have been remarkable."
Chatfield has presented papers to professional meetings in Wales, France, Austria, Mexico, India and Russia. He was one of the first scholars to draw a connection between peace and justice movements. "Peace advocates and pacifists all learned from Ghandi," he said. "Techniques of social change were then applied to civil rights and peace movments."
A former recipient of the Wittenberg Alumni Association's Award for Distinguished Teaching, Chatfield received his bachelor's degree from Monmouth College (Ill.) and his master's and doctorate from Vanderbilt University. He also received an honorary doctorate from Monmouth.
Chatfield teaches courses which focus on historical methodology and on U.S. progressive, urban and diplomatic history. He formerly chaired the department of history, directed Wittenberg's International Education program and organized and directed the "Global Issues and World Churches" study abroad program.
He has also been named a Danforth Fellow and a recipent of a Danforth Year of Theology Award and a fellow at the Mershon Center for Education in National Security at The Ohio State University.
"Our goal in the next few years is to establish endowed chairs in every major academic division of the University," said Charles Dominick, vice president for advancement and institutional relations.
"Endowed chairs will provide the resources necessary to recognize excellence in teaching and will increase the university's ability to attract academic talent in the future. We're extremely grateful to our anonymous donor for providing significant financial support for the heart of the academic enterprise," Dominick added.
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