Regents grant two professorships

by Kamariea Forcier

The University granted its top academic positions to two new professors Friday, when the Board of Regents appointed a pair of Twin Cities faculty members to regents’ professorships.
Chosen for the highest academic rank to which faculty can rise were H. Ted Davis, dean of the Institute of Technology and professor of chemical engineering and materials science, and Patricia Hampl, professor of English.
Davis, who joined the University faculty in 1963, was appointed dean of the Institute of Technology in November 1995.
“I feel very honored,” Davis said.
“I was on a business trip on behalf of the college,” Davis said. “As I got off the plane, I met someone who said, ‘Congratulations.’ Later, I found out it was a congratulations for the regents’ professorship.”
Hampl, a poet and memorialist, has published several collections of her work since joining the University faculty in 1982.
Regents’ professors are nominated by their peers and brought before the board by University President Nils Hasselmo for approval. Regents approved Davis and Hampl in a meeting of the Committee of the Whole in Duluth during their May meeting.
“I think it’s very important that we take stock of the excellence of our faculty,” Hasselmo said to the board Friday.
“Our regents’ professors are certainly true leaders of this University,” added Board of Regents Chairman Tom Reagan.
But Davis downplayed the award as a measure of a professor’s talent.
“This is, in some ways, what every professor hopes for,” he said. “You try to teach well, you try to research well — it’s a recognition the University sees fit to give.”
Only 20 professors can hold the title during any given time. Davis and Hampl replace retiring Regents’ Professors William Hartup, professor of child development, and Paul Murphy, professor of American History and American Studies.