David M. ’70 and Linda Roth, longtime Lafayette benefactors who have been members of the Société d’Honneur since 1997, have established an endowment during the Live Connected, Lead Change campaign that supports three named professorships.
Here’s why: to enable the College to recognize faculty who are exceptional teachers and mentors, are leading scholars in their disciplines, and are actively engaged in campus life.
Curlee Holton, Roth Professor of Art, has given scores of students opportunities to excel in art, to work side-by-side with significant artists, and to exhibit their work locally and nationally.
“Mentorship of a student by a teacher-artist is perhaps the most effective way to develop a young scholar for facing personal and professional challenges,” says Holton, who founded the College’s Experimental Printmaking Institute in 1996. “Students often influence my work by their unique approaches to problem-solving and personal experiences that are different from my own,” he adds.
The Roth Professorships are among more than three dozen endowed positions at Lafayette, some dating back more than a century, across all four academic divisions. Faculty who hold them are the stewards of a legacy forged over many years by outstanding teacher-scholars with the support of benefactors whose impact on the College has been immense.
The impact of visionary supporters has continued during the Live Connected, Lead Change campaign. To date, gifts to the campaign have endowed 10 new professorships and other key positions (including those held by the director of the Engineering Division, the director of the Life Sciences program, the co-directors of the IDEAL Center, and the head football coach) plus a new faculty fellowship program. In addition to the Roths, donors include Robert W. Adenbaum ’49, Peter C.S. d’Aubermont ’73, the F.M. Kirby Foundation, James T. Marcus ’50, Robert E. ’84 and Susan J. Sell, and Walter A. ’59 and Kate Scott.
“Endowed positions are the highest academic honors we give to our professors,” says Provost Abu Rizvi. “They commemorate a life of achievement and the promise of much more to come.”
The role that endowed faculty positions play in sustaining Lafayette’s reputation for excellence in teaching, mentoring, and scholarship can’t be overstated. In addition to the honor of having a position that exemplifies the College’s highest standards for scholarship and teaching, faculty members holding named professorships receive additional funding each year to support research and travel needs related to their teaching and professional development. They enhance the College’s prestige as they use their titles when they publish, participate in academic conferences, and deliver public lectures.
An internationally renowned printmaker and painter, Holton has exhibited his work for over 25 years in more than 60 one-person shows and over 100 group shows. His art is in many private and public collections, including the Library of Congress. This year he received the Anyone Can Fly Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award for enriching and making known the history of African American art and culture.
“The Roth Professorship has brought with it much prestige and honor and has distinguished me among my peers,” Holton says. “I discovered that there are only three endowed chairs in the visual arts held by African Americans in the country. This sets Lafayette College apart from its cohort and from most colleges and universities, period.”