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Convocation Installs Endowed Academic Chairs, New Class

Hiram’s annual Convocation on Sept. 1, 2011, celebrated the many new beginnings that come with a new academic year.

Along with the Class of 2015 being initiated, Colin Anderson, associate professor of philosophy, and Rick Hyde, professor of theatre arts, were installed as academic chairs.

The tradition of academic chairs began in Elizabethan times, when chairs were a luxury. Most people sat on wooden stools, benches or cushions on the floor. But when a teacher was raised to a position of professor, he was presented with an actual chair as a symbol of his elevated status in the world of learning. Now, academic chairs are endowed faculty positions, made possible for the generosity of donors who are committed to sustaining excellence in teaching and scholarship.

Hiram has five academic chairs, and President Tom Chema began the Convocation by thanking the families that make these endowed positions possible and recognizing the “extreme honor” that comes with them.

The George & Arlene Foote Chair in Ethics

Anderson was installed as the George & Arlene Foote Chair in Ethics, a position previously held by emeritus professor of religion Jonathan Moody. Moody introduced Anderson, calling him an excellent teacher and model.

“Colin teaches students how to think about ethics, and is an ethically engaged citizen in his own environment,” Moody said.

In his installation speech, Anderson said Hiram has a unique responsibility, as a residential liberal arts college, to spread ethics education beyond the classroom in order to educate the whole person.

“Hiram has the higher purpose of ethics across the whole curriculum, but also beyond the curriculum,” he said.

 

The Howard S. Bissell Chair in the Liberal Arts

Linda Rea, the previous occupant of the Howard S. Bissell Chair in the Liberal Arts, introduced Hyde as he was installed in the position.

The professor emerita of communication praised Hyde’s sense of humor and his connection with students.

“He would love students,” Rea said. “It was such a joy to me to see him interact with students.”

In his installation speech, Hyde told the crowd that while knowing things is good, escaping from reality and reveling in stories is just as important. And likewise, while being a good student is important, it’s all the more important to truly learn – beyond just the facts.

“We remember the story we tell, not the facts,” he said.

More photos of the Convocation are available on Flickr.

Endowed Positions at Hiram College:

  • The Herbert L. & Pauline Wentz Andrews Chair in Biomedical Humanities: Professor of Chemistry Colleen A. Fried
  • The Howard S. Bissell Chair in the Liberal Arts: Professor of Theatre Arts Richard F. Hyde
  • The George & Arlene Foote Chair in Ethics: Associate Professor of Philosophy Colin A. Anderson
  • The John S. Kenyon Chair in English: Professor of English Joyce A. Dyer
  • The Edward J. Smerek Chair in Mathematics, the Sciences, and Technology: Professor of Biology Brad Goodner

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