University News

Educational Thought Leader Announced as 2018 Commencement Speaker

March 2, 2018

Denison University has announced that educational thought leader James D. Anderson will serve as the keynote speaker at the college’s 177th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 19, 2018.

At the ceremony, Anderson will be recognized with the conferring of an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. In addition, the college will recognize William M. Tuttle Jr., a member of the Denison Class of 1959, with a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Anderson is dean of the College of Education, the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor of Education and affiliate professor of history at the University of Illinois College of Education. Tuttle is professor emeritus of American studies at the University of Kansas.

Denison University President Adam Weinberg said, “Denison is proud to recognize the contributions of these two exceptional educators. The work of a liberal arts college prepares our students for a lifetime of success by giving them the skills, values, habits, networks and experiences needed to launch into successful lives. James has been a witness, historian and agent of change in the civil rights movement. Bill has impacted countless students through his profound understanding and writing of American history. These are two of the finest examples of mentors and leaders in higher education. We are delighted to honor their accomplishments.”

James D. Anderson

Anderson’s scholarship focuses broadly on the history of U.S. education, with specializations in the history of African-American education in the South, the history of higher education desegregation, the history of public school desegregation, and the history of African-American school achievement in the 20th century. His book, “The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935,” won the American Educational Research Association outstanding book award in 1990. He is senior editor of the History of Education Quarterly. Anderson has served as an expert witness in a series of federal desegregation and affirmative action cases. He served as an adviser for and participant in the PBS documentaries “School: ‘The Story of American Public Education,” “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow,” “Forgotten Genius: The Percy Julian Story” and “Tell Them That We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities.” He was elected to the National Academy of Education in 2008.

In 2012, Anderson was selected as a Fellow for Outstanding Research by the American Educational Research Association, and that same year, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. In 2013, he was selected Center for Advanced Study Professor of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois. Anderson earned a B.A in sociology from Stillman College (1966), and he holds an M.Ed. in history and social studies education (1969), as well as a Ph.D. in history of education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1973).

William M. Tuttle Jr.

Tuttle has taught in American studies, history, and African and African-American studies, offering the first courses at the University of Kansas in African-American history and post-World War II American history. His course on recent America was legendary for attracting the very best seniors at KU. In 2007, he taught at Radboud University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, holding the John Adams Distinguished Fulbright Chair. He also has lectured in Cuba and Japan.

Tuttle has written seminal work in African-American history, labor history, the history of childhood, and recent American history that has influenced scholars and students around the world. As a pioneer in history from the bottom up, he produced the classic books: “Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919” and “Daddy’s Gone to War: The Second World War in the Lives of America’s Children,” and he co-edited “Plain Folk: The Life Stories of Undistinguished Americans.” Through seven editions of the co-authored “A People and a Nation,” Tuttle reached millions of students. His scholarly articles have been reprinted frequently and widely cited. In addition to his B.A. in history from Denison (1959), Tuttle earned his M.A. in history (1964) and Ph.D. in history (1967) from the University of Wisconsin. Tuttle was honored by Denison with its prestigious Alumni Citation in 1995.

Denison University’s place at the forefront of higher education is recognized by “Colleges That Change Lives,” U.S. News, and Forbes, among others. Denison is a leading national college of liberal arts and sciences where students from around the world come to pursue academic inquiry and research, to analyze and solve problems, and to forge the skills needed to succeed. On a beautiful, fully residential campus, located minutes from Forbes-rated #1 Opportunity City, Columbus, Ohio, students build enduring relationships and pathways to the professions, supported by faculty mentorship in classrooms, laboratories and studios; through a wealth of career-launch programs and internships; and in partnership with a thriving, far-reaching alumni network.

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