CORVALLIS - David Robinson, Oregon Professor of English and director of American Studies at Oregon State University, has been appointed interim director of OSU's Center for the Humanities.
Robinson, a nationally known scholar and researcher specializing in Ralph Waldo Emerson, will remain interim director through the academic year as the university conducts a national search to find a permanent director.
Peter Copek, former director of the center, died last June.
"It is extremely fitting that David Robinson, an exemplary teacher and scholar with a national reputation for excellence, has been appointed as interim director of the OSU Center for the Humanities," said Kay Schaffer, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. "David has earned the respect of his OSU colleagues, as evidenced by his appointment as Oregon Professor of English and OSU Distinguished Professor of American Literature." Robinson has been a fellow at the Center for the Humanities on three different occasions.
"I can testify first-hand that the Center for the Humanities is an excellent place for faculty to advance their work and begin long projects," Robinson said. "The center eliminates the obstacles that are sometimes present when you are trying to develop a scholarly manuscript."
Robinson arrived at OSU in 1976 and saw the university develop the initial grants for the humanities development program. In 1984, the university received a $700,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to establish the center, which supports speakers, conferences and cultural events along with providing fellowships to scholars from across the country. These scholars typically study at the center, interact with OSU students and faculty, and present results of their latest research on campus and through national journals.
"The center is critically important to the mission of Oregon State University," said Rich Holdren, interim vice provost for research. "It has a strong national reputation, as evidenced by the accolades the center received from an external review committee this last spring."
Robinson said the center plays an important role in the recruitment and retention of faculty.
"This center is a great asset for OSU," he said. "It provides faculty with opportunities to advance their scholarly work and gives them an edge they may not have at other institutions. It's a fabulous setting for research and dialogue."