Skip to main content

College of Arts and Sciences Newsroom

College appoints new endowed chairs in humanities, arts and languages

By Dave Larsen

The University of Dayton College of Arts and Sciences appointed two endowed chairs who will provide leadership in bringing greater visibility to the arts, languages and humanities on UD’s campus and in the Dayton community.

Suki Kwon, professor of art and design, was appointed the sixth Graul Endowed Chair in Arts and Languages. She succeeds Sharon Gratto, who sponsored and coordinated two funk music symposiums and a bluegrass festival evening in celebration of Dayton’s music traditions. Kwon’s four-year, non-renewable appointment begins August 2023.

Sam Dorf, who will be promoted to professor of music on July 1, was appointed the eighth Alumni Chair in the Humanities. He succeeds Julius Amin, who used the role to coordinate impactful symposiums on race at UD, and global awareness and engagement. Dorf’s four-year, non-renewable appointment begins August 2024, after he concludes his term as acting director of the University Honors Program.

“I am excited to work with Suki and Sam, and to see what they will accomplish in their new roles as endowed chairs,” said Danielle Poe, College dean. “They both bring unique visions to these positions, whose previous holders have made significant impacts on the study of humanities, arts and languages at UD.”

The Graul Chair is named for Thomas C. and Janet M. Graul in recognition of their generous support. It is intended to promote interdisciplinary approaches to the arts and languages with a particular focus on international perspectives.

Kwon is a Korean-born, American artist and scholar who speaks Korean, English and Japanese, and reads Chinese and ancient Greek. She conducted research in Tokyo, and has taught, researched and traveled in China as a visiting scholar, faculty leader of an education-abroad program and an international seminar participant. She was selected to participate in the 2023 Art for Change International artist residency in India. Her work recently was featured in Matter + Spirit: A Chinese/American Exhibition that toured the U.S. In addition, she presented papers on visual culture at international conferences. 

As Graul Chair, Kwon aims to increase the visibility of international arts and languages on campus; bringing the arts and languages to the core of the College’s interdisciplinary curriculum; and promote strong and regularly offered non-Western European education-abroad programs that highlight the arts and languages. In addition, she plans to use the new Roger Glass Center for the Arts as a hub for interdisciplinary and international arts and languages public programming, inviting diverse community groups in the greater Dayton-area.

“As Graul Chair, I want to assist faculty to develop programs in many other parts of the world that provide students with international study experience based in the arts and accompanied by language studies to amplify their education-abroad experience,” Kwon said.

The Alumni Chair was established in recognition of the centrality of the humanities to broad-minded learning. The recipient of this endowed chair works within the context of the mission of the University to stimulate innovative and interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship in the humanities. It was named to honor the many faithful alumni whose generosity made this position possible.

Dorf is a musicologist and dance historian who works with classical texts and modern reception of the ancient world. His book, Performing Antiquity: Ancient Greek Music and Dance from Paris to Delphi: 1890-1933, examined the interaction among scientists, humanities scholars and artists as they sought to perform and reinvent ancient Greek music and dance in turn of the century Paris and Delphi. His new book project moves away from fin-de-siècle Paris as he explores the modern performance of very ancient music from the Stone Age to ancient Greece.

Dorf’s goals as Alumni Chair include helping faculty, staff and students communicate their humanities scholarship to public audiences; hosting an annual symposium focusing on local public humanities projects; and communicating the value of the humanities to internal and external audiences. In addition, he plans to facilitate interdisciplinary exchange across the humanities in research and teaching.

“I firmly believe the humanities belong to the whole community, and as Alumni Chair, I plan to use my experience in administration, development, supporting undergraduate research and student success to advance the humanities in new ways both on and off campus,” Dorf said.

Carola Daffner, chair of UD's Department of Global Languages and Cultures, was chair of the Graul Chair search committee. Committee members included Joel Whitaker, chair of UD's Department of Art and Design; Sharon Gratto, outgoing Graul Chair; and Kathleen Costales, associate professor of Spanish.

Christopher Agnew, chair of UD's Department of History, was chair of the Alumni Chair search committee. Committee members Joseph Flipper, the Mary Ann Spearin Chair of Catholic Theology; Julius Amin, outgoing Alumni Chair; Tereza Szeghi, professor of English; and Rebecca Whisnant, chair of UD's Department of Philosophy.

For more information, visit the College’s endowed chairs website.

Photo: (left to right) Suki Kwon and Sam Dorf.

Previous Post

UD students, professor research 1918 influenza, COVID-19 pandemic experiences

A century after they were written, personal letters from the 1918 influenza pandemic are helping UD students better understand the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read More
Next Post

UD mock trial student attorney achieves only perfect score in the nation

University of Dayton senior Arabella Loera topped more than 7,300 mock trial students at the American Mock Trial Association’s regional and national tournaments.
Read More