Springfield, Ohio - Wittenberg University Provost Kenneth Bladh announced the appointment of Warren Copeland, professor of religion and director of urban studies, to the Kenneth E. Wray Chair in the Humanities at the beginning of the 158th academic year. Bladh's action was based upon the recommendation of a group of faculty colleagues from each of the humanities departments. The endowment for this chair was given by the late university board member Ruth Wray to honor her husband and to recognize Wittenberg's humanities faculty, whose work she greatly admired.
An endowed chair represents one of the most prestigious achievements for college faculty members at American universities. Created by gifts to the university, endowed chairs, of which Wittenberg has four, are designed to support faculty activities such as program research. Both Ruth and her husband, Kenneth, were members of the Wittenberg University Class of 1937 and remained active with the university until their deaths. The family made its financial commitment to the Wray Chair following Ruth's death in December 1998.
"Dr. Copeland's long record of significant campus service and leadership is matched by an equally rich array of contributions to socially responsible public policy and governance in Springfield and Clark County," Bladh said
Copeland has authored numerous papers on ethics and served as the primary author and editor of "Updating the Dream: Springfield Looks at 2000 and Beyond." He has published three scholarly books, "And the Poor Get Welfare: The Ethics of Poverty in the United States" (1994), "Economic Justice: The Ethics of U.S. Economic Policy" (1988), and "Issues of Justice: Social Structures and Religious Meanings" (1988). He is currently developing a manuscript based on personal ethical reflections on his experience in city politics.
Copeland was recognized in 1995 when he received the Alumni Association's Award for Distinguished Teaching, and he has been a strong campus advocate for social justice, diversity and the needs of African American students. He served as the first director of Wittenberg's Common Learning Program after coming to campus in 1977. Also a committed public servant, Copeland was appointed to the Springfield City Commission in 1988; he won election in 1989 and reelection in 1993, 1997 and 2001.
He earned his B.A. degree from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill., where he was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year in 1983. Her obtained his M.Div. from Christian Theological Seminary and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Copeland and his wife Clara reside in Springfield, and they have two grown children, Scott and Karen, and a granddaughter, Angel Mitchem, who lives with them.
Located just 15 minutes from the I-70/I-75 interchange, Wittenberg University is consistently recognized as among the nation's leading liberal arts colleges for academic reputation and faculty quality. To learn more, visit www.wittenberg.edu.
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