In addition to providing a stipend and program/research support, an endowed chair represents one of the most prestigious achievements for college faculty members at American universities. Wittenberg now has four endowed chair positions.
The Paul Luther Keil Chair in Psychology is funded through a gift to Wittenberg's $70 million Defining Moments Campaign, which is working to provide for the university's academic, endowment, capital and technology needs. The Rev. Paul L. Keil, a 1947 Wittenberg graduate who served the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as a pastor for more than 50 years, endowed the chair in honor of his parents, Luther F. and Mary Ruth Slater Keil. Rev. Keil passed away Sept. 21, 2000.
Wilson, who joined the Wittenberg faculty in 1982, was nominated for the Paul Luther Keil Chair in Psychology by the department of psychology faculty. She has authored more than 20 peer-reviewed articles, most with Wittenberg student co-authors, on subjects ranging from schedule-induced behaviors in humans and other animals to eating disorders. Among her current research topics are development of appetite in preschool children and a rat model for arousal-induced eating and anorexic behavior. The recipient of the 1988 Omicron Delta Kappa Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 1993 Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Teaching, Wilson teaches courses in behavioral neuroscience, health psychology, psychology of women, and sensation and perception.
Wilson, who resides in Yellow Springs, has presented more than a dozen papers at conferences, frequently with student co-presenters, and she has received numerous research and equipment grants from various sources. She received her bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at Fredonia, two master's degrees and a Ph.D. from Columbia University, and a D.D.S. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Former Wittenberg University Board of Directors member Ruth Wray endowed the Kenneth E. Wray Chair in the Humanities not only to honor her husband, but also to recognize the university's humanities faculty whose work she admired. Both Ruth and Kenneth Wray were members of the Wittenberg University Class of 1937, and they remained active in the community and with the university until their deaths. The family made its financial commitment to the chair during The Campaign for Wittenberg in 1977-82, and it was funded following Ruth's death on Dec. 27, 1998.
A faculty committee representing six humanities departments nominated Otten, who came to Wittenberg in 1966 and has compiled an impressive record as a teacher and a scholar. Otten, a Springfield resident, received the Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1975. Thirteen years later he was named Ohio Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and he was a bronze medalist in the national competition. He was also granted an Honorary Doctor of Literature Degree from his undergraduate alma mater, Georgetown (Ky.) College, in 1996.
Chairperson of the English department from 1981 to 1986, Otten teaches mostly Romantic and modern literature and drama. He has authored more than 50 articles, three books - "The Deserted Stage," "After Innocence" and "The Crime of Innocence in the Fiction of Toni Morrison" - and essays in six anthologies. The recipient of a variety of grants during his time at Wittenberg, Otten has been a reader for various scholarly journals and publishers, and he has served on regional and national committees for professional organizations. He holds a bachelor's degree from Georgetown College, a master's from the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D. from Ohio University.