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Hoben Teaching Fellowship announced

Lehigh University’s history department recently announced the establishment of the Joan and Michael Hoben ’61 Teaching Fellowship, which will support a student for either a semester or an academic year by providing a stipend for teaching in the history department.

In the first year of the award, there are two recipients of the Hoben ’61 Teaching Fellowship: Rob Armstrong and Mike Gunther, who will each teach a course in the spring semester of 2006.

The department will continue to award this endowed fellowship annually to a highly qualified, advanced graduate student, normally one who has nearly completed or recently completed the doctoral dissertation.

“The department extends its heartfelt thanks to Joan and Michael Hoben for their extraordinarily generous endowment of this fellowship,” said Michael Baylor, professor of history and chair of the department.

Former chair Jean Soderlund, now deputy provost for faculty affairs for the university, added that Michael and Joan Hoben are “wonderful friends of the department of history and of Lehigh University.

“They conceived of this teaching fellowship because of their keen interest in history and concern about undergraduate education,” Soderlund said. “Teaching fellowships help support our graduate program but, even more importantly, will bring the very best young historians into our undergraduate classrooms.”

A transfer of knowledge

Michael Hoben, who has a long history of generosity toward Lehigh, said that he and his wife were motivated to support this program by his own experience at Lehigh. As an undergraduate with a major in finance and a minor in history, he remembers being particularly influenced by Joe Dowling, a professor of history.

“He made history come alive,” he said. “He made learning an enjoyable experience. And I’ve found that there is a great deal to be learned from history about human behavior, and also about not making the same mistakes twice. That’s very useful in the business world.

“We highly value education,” he continued. “If you look at the source of education, it boils down to teaching and learning – the transfer of knowledge. A number of years ago, we established a scholarship to fulfill the student side of this equation. Now, this fellowship fulfills the teaching side of the equation.”

The faculty of the history department will decide on the next recipient of the fellowship at its annual meeting concerning support for graduate students in its program, Baylor said.

The Hobens are members of both the Asa Packer and Tower Giving Societies. The couple established the Michael F. and Joan G. Hoben Endowed Scholarship in 1999, convinced that Lehigh University offers special opportunities for the education and development of young men and women on the undergraduate level.

Michael Hoben, recently retired from the position of president of Benefit Capital Management Corp. in Danbury, Conn., is a 1961 graduate of Lehigh University with a B.A. in finance. He also graduated from Arizona State University in 1966 with a M.S. in Economics. He pursued a Ph.D. in Economics at New York University while on active duty as an officer in the U. S. Air Force.

While a student at Lehigh, he was a member of Phi Kappa Theta fraternity and Alpha Kappa Psi honorary business fraternity, and he was active in sports; participating in soccer, track and boxing. He also participated in the Interfraternity Council and was a writer for the Brown and White.

He has been involved in pension fund investment management for the past 35 years in executive positions with Chase Manhattan Bank, T. Rowe Price, Exxon and Union Carbide, and has demonstrated a keen interest in the evolution of Lehigh’s College of Arts and Science and the College of Business and Economics. He continues to serve as a member of Lehigh’s Endowment Fund Investment Committee, where his expertise, background and commitment will remain a valuable asset for Lehigh’s students and faculty.

--Linda Harbrecht

Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2005

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