European Historian, English Literature Scholar Named to Endowed Chairs at Lawrence University

Lawrence University President Richard Warch announced the appointment of Paul Cohen and Timothy Spurgin to endowed professorships Thursday (9/25) at his annual matriculation convocation.

Cohen, professor of history, was named to the Patricia Hamar Boldt Professorship of Liberal Studies, and Spurgin, an associate professor of English, was named to the Bonnie Glidden Buchanan Professorship in English Literature.

Appointments to endowed professorships are made in recognition of academic distinction through teaching excellence and/or scholarly achievement. Lawrence currently has 47 endowed chairs.

A specialist in modern Europe, modern France and intellectual history, Cohen joined the Lawrence faculty in 1985 and was promoted to full professor in 1999.

He is the author of two books, “Freedom’s Moment: An Essay on the French Idea of Liberty from Rousseau to Foucault” and “Piety and Politics: Catholic Revival and the Generation of 1905-1914 in France” and a member of the editorial board of the journal Contemporary French Civilization. In 1999, Cohen was recognized with Lawrence’s Freshman Studies Teaching Award. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Clark University and earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago.

The Boldt Professorship was established in 1989 in honor of Patricia Hamar Boldt, a 1948 Lawrence graduate. She was awarded an honorary degree by Lawrence at the college’s 2003 commencement in recognition of her long-time community service and volunteerism efforts with the Infant Welfare Circle, the United Way, the Salvation Army, the Fox Valley Symphony, LEAVEN, Mosquito Hill Nature Center and the Girl Scouts, among others.

Holders of the Boldt Professorship exemplify her commitment to the ideals of liberal education in their teaching, scholarship and service to the community.

A member of the faculty since 1990, Spurgin’s scholarly interests focus on 19th century English literature, especially the novel and works of Charles Dickens, as well as literary criticism and theory. His scholarship has been published in the academic journals Dickens Quarterly, Dickens Studies Annual and the Minnesota Review.

He was cited with Lawrence’s Outstanding Young Teaching Award in 1993, the Freshman Studies Teaching Award in 1994 and has been the recipient of the college’s Babcock Award for “giving generously of his time and energy to assist students” on three occasions, the most recent in 2003. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Carleton College, Spurgin earned his doctorate in English at the University of Virginia.

The Buchanan Professorship was established in 1994 by Bonnie Glidden Buchanan and her husband, Robert Buchanan, in recognition of her love of and interest in English literature and in appreciation for the special brand of liberal arts education Lawrence provides. Both Bonnie and Robert Buchanan are 1962 graduates of Lawrence and have been active volunteers for the college, serving the alumni association and Board of Trustees, respectively.