Bruce Davis Named to Endowed Chair in Modern Languages

May 15, 2012

Bruce DavisBruce Haywood Davis has been named to the Burkhardt Distinguished Chair in Modern Languages at Knox College. The appointment was announced by Knox College President Teresa Amott, who also announced the appointment of Professor Penny Gold to the Burkhardt Distinguished Chair in History.

"It gives me very great pleasure to announce that two of our faculty colleagues have been appointed to endowed professorships in recognition of their distinguished teaching, scholarship, and service to Knox College," Amott said.

Davis joined the faculty at Knox in 1982 to teach French, having previously taught as instructor at the University of Virginia. His scholarship has ranged from a contribution to an anthology on 17th century French dramatic and moral literature to several recent contributions to the University of Michigan's Encyclopedie by Diderot and d'Alembert.

Davis has also conducted research on French anti-Semitism, on the Vichy regime, and on the transformation of urban landscape and social fabric of Paris through gentrification.

At least seven times since coming to Knox, Davis has served as on-site director of Knox's program in Besancon, France. He also has served as Knox campus advisor for the Besancon program, and provided leadership to the College through service as chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

Davis won the Philip Green Wright-Lombard College Prize in 2008, which is awarded to Knox College faculty in recognition of outstanding teaching.

Davis earned his B.A. in history with honors at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. After a year of post-baccalaureate study in French at the College of William and Mary, he entered the graduate program at the University of Virginia, earning his M.A. and Ph.D. in French.

The Burkhardt Distinguished Chair in Modern Languages was established in 2009 through the generosity of Dr. Richard W. Burkhardt '39 and Dorothy Johnson Burkhardt '39. The Burkhardt Language Center is also named in their honor.

Now retired, both Burkhardts had long and distinguished careers in the academy. Dr. Burkhardt served on the faculties of Syracuse and Ball State Universities; he served as vice president and dean of the faculty at Ball State and retired in 1985. Mrs. Burkhardt served as instructor of French, Spanish and Russian, also at Ball State, from 1958 to 1983, and was awarded the Palmes Academiques by the French government for her efforts to promote cross-cultural learning between France and the United States. She was a member of the Board of Trustees at Knox from 1976 to 1990, when she was elected a life trustee. The Burkhardts reside in Muncie, Indiana.