HAYS, KS -- Dr. Ruth Firestone, professor of modern languages and President's Distinguished Scholar for 2000 at Fort Hays State University, delivered the scholarly address today at the Honors Convocation.
Firestone's address was "Themes and Variations: The War Epic from the Iliad to Catch-22." Firestone is chair of the Department of Modern Languages.
Nominees for the President's Distinguished Scholar are evaluated for their performance in service and instruction, but the primary focus is placed on their research and creative activities.
The award was first bestowed in 1989 at the suggestion of the Faculty Senate. Since then, university President Edward H. Hammond has conferred the honor on a faculty member each year. The award comes with a prize of $1,000, a certificate, a lapel pin and a medallion especially designed by Jim Hinkhouse, former FHSU professor of art. The recipient is also recognized on a plaque in the Memorial Union.
Firestone was a professor of German and chair of the Department of German and Slavic Studies at the University of Missouri, Columbia, before joining the FHSU faculty in 1986. She received her A.B. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1959. Her M.A., in 1965, and her Ph.D., 1965, were both in German and were both earned at the University of Colorado.
During her career she was an assistant professor at Otterbein College from 1969 to 1970 before moving to the University of Missouri. There, between 1970 and 1986, she moved up the academic ranks from assistant professor to associate professor and departmental chair.
Firestone's research is in medieval German literature, primarily secular narratives from about 1180 to 1600. Her work focuses on two areas -- the structure, style and history of the literature and the study of how the moral-philosophical works help give Christian moral sense to heroic epics and courtly romances.
The Honors Convocation also recognizes other faculty members and students for their achievements and service during the previous year.