Five Centre faculty members receive endowed professorships

Posted by Centre News in Academics, Chemistry, English, Math, Music, News, Religion 08 Oct 2015

old centre sealFive faculty members were recently awarded endowed professorships, once again demonstrating that Centre College is a place where great teaching is prized. Centre offers a number of professorships to worthy candidates, a growing number thanks to the generosity of alumni, friends of the College and foundations. This overwhelming support of faculty members speaks to their exceptional teaching and research endeavors and furthers Centre’s dedication to attracting and maintaining professors of the highest caliber. The following appointments have been made:

Helen EmmittHelen Emmitt, J. Rice Cowan Professor of English
J. Rice Cowan Professorship in English, established in 1962 by a bequest from Dr. Cowan, a Danville physician, member of the Class of 1890, and 18-year chair of the Centre Board of Trustees.

Emmitt joined Centre’s faculty in 2002 as an associate professor and has been a Centre Scholar, an NEH Professor and a recipient of the Kirk Award for excellence in teaching. Her scholarly work focuses on modern and contemporary poetry. Recent articles include “Forgotten Memories and Unheard Rhythms: H.D.’s Poetics as a Response to Male Modernism” and “The One Free Foot Kicking under the White Sheet of His-tory’: Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s Uncanny Landscapes.” She is working on a book of contemporary Irish poetry. Emmitt earned a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and did her undergraduate work at Bryn Mawr College.

Larry BitenskyLarry Bitensky, W. George Matton Professor of Music
W. George Matton Professorships, established in 1969 by a bequest from W. George Matton, a Louisville tobacco executive and friend of the College.

Bitensky teaches composition, music theory, musicianship and world music at Centre, where he was named a Centre Scholar in 2012. Educated at Skidmore College, the New England Conservatory of Music, Ithaca College and Cornell University, Bitensky’s musical personality is rooted in a range of influences including world music, classical, jazz and the Grateful Dead. His travels as part of the College’s study abroad program have also allowed him to explore the musical cultures of Morocco, Spain, Turkey and Bali. In 2014, Bitensky was named the winner of The American Prize in Composition in the professional band/wind ensemble division for his piece entitled Fearsome Critters.

Alex McAllister
Alex McAllister, H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Mathematics
H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professorships, established by a bequest from Mr. and Mrs. Stodghill. Mr. Stodghill was a member of Centre’s Board of Trustees and a member of the class of 1936.

McAllister joined Centre’s faculty in 1999 as an assistant professor of mathematics. In 2009, he received the Kirk Teaching Award and has also been honored as a Centre Scholar both in 2005 and 2010. McAllister holds a B.S. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. He has also worked as a research assistant at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. In 2009, Oxford University Press published A Transition to Advanced Mathematics: A Survey Course, which McAllister co-authored with William (Bill) Johnston, former mathematics professor at Centre College.

Jennifer Muzyka
Jennifer Muzyka, H. W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Chemistry
H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professorships, established by a bequest from Mr. and Mrs. Stodghill. Mr. Stodghill was a member of Centre’s Board of Trustees and a member of the class of 1936.

Muzyka is a professor of chemistry at Centre College, where she has taught since 1994. An organic chemist, Muzyka is committed to working with Centre students in collaborative research. Her current research involves the structure-based drug design of potential antibiotics, with focus on inhibiting the bacterial enzyme MurA. Muzyka also develops web-based applications such as the Spectral Zoo and the Reaction Zoo to help students learn organic chemistry. Muzyka received her B.S. from the University of Dallas and her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Rick Axtell
Rick Axtell, H.W. Stodghill Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Religion
H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professorships, established by a bequest from Mr. and Mrs. Stodghill. Mr. Stodghill was a member of Centre’s Board of Trustees and a member of the class of 1936.

Axtell teaches religion and is chaplain at Centre, where he was named a Centre Scholar in 2003 and 2008. He also received the Kirk Award for excellence in teaching in 2000 and 2015. In 2012, he was included in The Princeton Review’s The Best 300 Professors. Axtell’s worldwide travels have informed his teaching on issues of hunger, homelessness, human trafficking, religion and violence, sustainable development, peacemaking and liberation theology. He is the co-author of The Other Side of HOPE: Squandering Social Capital in Louisville’s HOPE VI, published in Journal of Poverty in 2015. Axtell is also the co-editor of Ethics as if Jesus Mattered: Essays in Honor of Glen H. Stassen (Smyth & Helwys, 2015). Axtell holds a B.A. degree from Mississippi College, an M.Div. and a Ph.D. degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and has completed other advanced studies at the University of Notre Dame.

by Centre College News
October 8, 2015

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