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A glimpse into the past; OHIO Distinguished Professors make their mark

A short history of OHIO’s first Distinguished Professors


On Feb. 18, Ohio University will hold a reception to honor the 2010 Distinguished Professor Charles Smith, professor of playwriting.

This honor began in 1959 with three faculty members recognized as the first Distinguished Professors. Each year the faculty elects a faculty member for the distinction. However, multiple professors have been named as Distinguished Professors in past years. The honor recognizes professors based on outstanding achievements and contributions to the University and beyond.

In addition to its lifetime designation, the award provides recipients with one quarter of professional leave and the honor of naming one student annually to receive the Distinguished Professor Scholarship, a scholarship that covers a full year’s tuition.

“Edwin and Ruth Kennedy established the Distinguished Professor award to be ‘a truly important incentive in furthering the high-quality education at Ohio University,’” said Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis. “Their legacy is realized through their generosity to support the Distinguished Professor Award – Ohio University’s highest academic honor. It is one significant way we recognize faculty members, who achieve and sustain the highest level of excellence.”

The rich and bright history of OHIO and the original recipients truly shaped this University. In honor of Founders Day, celebrated Feb. 17 and 18, Compass looks back at some of the first Distinguished Professors.

Paul Kendall
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In 1959, Kendall received one of the first Distinguished Professor Awards. He was a professor of English and taught at OHIO for 33 years prior to his retirement in 1970. Known as a scholar and biographer, Kendall was widely recognized for both his scholarly success and excellence of teaching in the classroom.

Kendall used the professional leave to spend a year in Europe where he researched and worked on a biography on King Louis XI.

John Cady
John Cady, professor of history also received the award in 1959. Cady always had an interest in Southeast Asian history. When he joined the OHIO faculty, Cady helped create the first Southeast Asian area of study for universities in America.

A portion of the Southeast Asia collection in Alden Library bears his name. He applied the benefits of his honor toward a trip to London where he researched his book, “Introductory History of Southeast Asia.”

Harvey Lehman
Harvey Lehman, professor of psychology, was also named a Distinguished Professor  in 1959. In 1927, he came to OHIO as an assistant professor, and he became a full professor in 1935. Lehman published over 150 works, but his most outstanding of the works, is his book “Age and Achievement.”

Lehman accepted his $1500 cash award to create his own general research fund and work on his book “Man’s Creative Years.”

Dwight Mutchler
Dwight Mutchler was named a Distinguished Professor of drawing in 1960. He was an illustrator for more than 24 years in Chicago before he came to OHIO. He was a member of the faculty for 18 years and retired in 1968. After his retirement, he continued to paint. His most famous mural is titled, “The Wright Brothers and their Accomplishments.” Several of his paintings are in Baker University Center.

Mutchler used his award to spend three months traveling Europe studying and experiencing art in countries such as Spain, Italy, France and England.

Robert Morton
In 1961, Robert Morton, for whom Morton Hall and hill are named, received the award. Morton was described as a world traveler, philanthropist and humanitarian. Morton was the sole author of nine books and coauthored junior high and elementary school mathematics textbooks, which in different editions represent 180 books. He used his award to work on research and books.

OHIO has had some incredible, inspiring faculty and students throughout time, which has kept this University thriving. The Distinguished Professor honor is something highly valued and established at OHIO and the University looks forward to celebrating Charles Smith’s accomplishments this year.

More information about the recipients can be found in the Archives in Alden Library.

Founders Day

Ohio University will celebrate Founders Day Feb. 17 with a piano and cello concert in Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium. Remarks begin at 7 p.m.

On Feb. 18, the University will honor Distinguished Professor Charles Smith. He will give his Distinguished Professor Lecture, "Helen Keller, Aliens, and WikiLeaks: How Theatre Helps Define Our Place in the World," at 7:30 p.m. in the Walter Hall Rotunda.

Related Links

Charles Smith named 2010 Distinguished Professor Distinguished Professors Founders Day concert to feature noted OHIO musicians

Additional Info

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