From President Amott:
Dear Knox Community,
It gives me very great pleasure to announce that three of our colleagues have been appointed to endowed professorships in recognition of their distinguished teaching, scholarship, and service to Knox College. I have made these appointments upon the recommendation of the Faculty Personnel Committee and the Dean of the College, and am grateful for their good counsel.
Dr. Heather Hoffmann, Professor of Psychology, has been named as the Robert M. and Katherine A. Seeley Distinguished Professorship, succeeding Professor Emeritus George Steckley. Hoffmann joined the Knox faculty in 1987, and specializes in human sexual psychophysiology, including the origins of patterns of sexual attraction and sexual arousal. In addition, her work in neuroscience includes examining developmental differences in learning in rats and the role of monoamine and neuropeptide transmitters in such ontogenetic differences. Hoffmann received her Ph.D. and M.A. in psychology from the State University of New York-Binghamton, and her B.A. in psychology from Lafayette College. She currently serves as President of the International Academy of Sex Research. Hoffmann has received grants from the National Institutes of Health and from the Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and was named a Research Fellow at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University. In addition to national and international presentations, her work has been published in numerous professional journals. In 1991, she was awarded the Phillip Green Wright-Lombard College Prize for Distinguished Teaching at Knox College.
The Robert M. and Katherine A. Seeley Distinguished Professorship was established in 1998 through a bequest from their son, Robert A. Seeley, Knox College Class of 1951. Robert Arnold Seeley ’51, and Katherine Arnold Seeley ’22, were direct descendants of Sylvanus Ferris, one of the founders and initial trustees of Knox College, and of Benjamin Franklin Arnold, a trustee of the College from 1899 until his death in 1920. While an undergraduate, Robert Arnold Seeley was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity; upon graduation he pursued a career in the insurance industry, initially in his home community of Freeport, Illinois. In 1954 he married Nancy Ferguson, a graduate of Stanford University. Katherine Arnold Seeley, a native of Galesburg, was involved in a variety of activities while an undergraduate, including membership in Delta Delta Delta sorority, and remained active throughout her life in community affairs in Freeport. In 1927 she married Robert M. Seeley, an insurance executive who had attended the University of Illinois. Nancy Ferguson Seeley remains a leadership donor to Knox, including support for Alumni Hall and the naming of an Admission counseling office in honor of the Knox connections of her husband and mother-in-law.
Dr. Konrad Hamilton, Associate Professor and Chair of History, has been named as the Burkhardt Distinguished Chair in History, succeeding Professor Catherine Denial, who has been named to the inaugural Bright Professorship in History (see below). Dr. Hamilton joined the Knox faculty in 1995, and specializes on the history of affirmative action policy and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the United States. He also has engaged in a comparative historiographical study of emancipation in the British Caribbean and the United States. Dr. Hamilton received his Ph.D. and M.A. in U.S. history from Stanford University; an M.A. in public historical studies from the University of California-Santa Barbara, and a B.A. in history, with honors, from the University of Oregon. At Knox, Hamilton plays a pivotal role in considering how Martin Luther King’s life and words continue to be relevant in the 21st century. He also served as project historian at the Grant Wood History Institute, focusing on “Teaching Reconstruction for Middle School Teachers, Teaching Liberalism and Conservatism in the 20th Century.” His teaching at Knox includes courses in the Black Image in American Film, Environmental Racism, America in the 1960s, Slavery in the Americas, Themes in African-American Political Thought since Emancipation, The Great Society, and The American Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Hamilton also served as co-director of the SPARK program in its inaugural year, lending his expertise on the millennial generation in Knox’s College readiness program.
The Burkhardt Distinguished Chair in History was established in 2010 through the generosity of Dr. Richard W. Burkhardt ’39 and Dorothy Johnson Burkhardt ’39; it followed the 2009 Burkhardt Distinguished Chair in Modern Languages. Both Burkhardts had long and distinguished careers in the academy. Dr. Burkhardt was a member of the faculties of Syracuse and Ball State Universities; he served as vice president and dean of the faculty at Ball State and retired in 1985. Mrs. Burkhardt served as instructor of French, Spanish and Russian, also at Ball State, from 1958 to 1983, and was awarded the Palmes Academiques by the French government for her efforts to promote cross-cultural learning between France and the United States. She was a member of the Board of Trustees at Knox from 1976 to 1990, when she was elected a life trustee.
Dr. Catherine Denial, Associate Professor of History, will be the inaugural holder of the Mary Elizabeth Hand Bright and Edwin Winslow Bright Professorship of American History. Dr. Denial joined the Knox faculty in 2005 and specializes in property and kinship in Dakota country and history pedagogy and curriculum. She received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Iowa after completing an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin and a B.A. with Honors in American studies at the University of Nottingham, England. Her publications include Making Marriage: Husbands, Wives, and the American State in Dakota and Ojibwe Country (2013), as well as articles, reviews, and web publications in her other areas of specialization. Denial also served as the lead historian for the U.S. Department of Education program on “Bringing History Home and the Grant Wood History Institute” (2001-2012). Her teaching at Knox includes courses on the American West, Great American Debates, Feminist Methodologies, the Historian’s Workshop, and Museums, Monuments and Memory. In addition, Dr. Denial served as co-director of the SPARK program in its inaugural year and is a co-facilitator of Knox’s Intergroup Dialogue Program.
The Mary Elizabeth Hand Bright and Edwin Winslow Bright Professorship of American History is supported through a trust established by Edwin W. Bright and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Hand Bright, a 1944 alumna of Knox College. Mrs. Bright came from Morristown, New Jersey to Knox College. After receiving her degree in history, she volunteered for the WACs, did her basic training in Georgia, and worked in Washington, DC during WW II. After the war she worked as a reference librarian. Mr. Bright graduated from Columbia in 1942 where he majored in engineering. During WW II, Ed received a direct commission in the Navy and worked on electronics. After many years of marriage, Mary Elizabeth passed away in 2008 followed by Ed in 2013. It was their intent for their bequests to support the study of early American history at Knox, defined as before the Civil War. Their interest in early American history may have stemmed from the fact that Edwin Winslow, Ed’s ancestor, came to the U.S. on the Mayflower and Mary Elizabeth’s ancestors hit American soil in 1633 or thereabouts. Ed and Mary Elizabeth Bright established two other funds at Knox College: the Bright Scholarship Fund, which is awarded to a student majoring in American history and the Bright Book Fund for early American history.
Please join me in congratulating Professors Hoffmann, Hamilton, and Denial and in thanking our donors for their generous support of the Knox College faculty. I am delighted that we can honor their teaching, scholarship, and service through these appointments.