Looking Back: Department News From the Past

Winston Hall, home of the department in 1981-1986 and 1988-2006

1968/69: A record 1,323 students enroll in the department’s courses during the regular academic year, an increase from 1,226 in 1967/68. There are 22 declared majors in philosophy, six of whom graduate in May. The department organizes and hosts a three-day symposium on “Religious Alternatives for a New Age” with three nationally recognized panelists. The symposium is supported by funding from the Liberal Arts Council, the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, the NC State Program on Science and Society and the Chaplains Cooperative Ministry. Visiting speakers in philosophy include Morris Lazerowitz of Smith College and Richard Brandt of the University of Michigan.

1978/79: Eight students sign up for the new B.A. in Philosophy with a Concentration in Religious Studies; this concentration is eventually replaced by the B.A. in Religious Studies in Fall 1993. The department’s faculty publish 11 articles in books and journals and have a further 21 articles accepted for publication. Mary Ann Tolbert (Ph.D., Chicago), assistant professor of religious studies, publishes Perspectives on the Parables (Fortress Press, 1979). Yale University Press nominates James Moorhead’s recent book American Apocalypse: Yankee Protestantism and the Civil War, 1860-1869 (Yale University Press, 1978) for a Pulitzer Prize.

1988/89: 4,145 students enroll in the department’s courses during the regular academic year, an increase from 3,568 in 1987/88 and a new record. Andrews Reath (Ph.D., Harvard) is appointed as an assistant professor of philosophy after three years on the faculty at Mount Holyoke College. He is promoted to associate professor in 1993 and resigns in May 1994 to accept a position at the University of California, Riverside. William Adler (Ph.D., Pennsylvania), assistant professor of religious studies, spends the academic year as a Fellow at the Annenberg Research Institute in Philadelphia. Robert S. Bryan (Ph.D., Virginia), professor of philosophy, retires from NC State after serving as department head for 23 years and building a first-rate undergraduate department with an outstanding research record. Bryan died in March 2019 at the age of 93. Read more.

1998/99: There are 107 declared majors in philosophy and 32 in religious studies. Sixteen of these students graduate: nine in philosophy and seven in religious studies. Four of the sixteen graduate summa cum laude, two graduate magna cum laude and one graduates cum laude. The department submits proposals for new courses on Chinese Religions (REL 333), Japanese Religions (REL 334) and The Scientific Method (PHI 440/540). William Adler, associate professor of religious studies, has a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the academic year. Visiting speakers include Ralph Wedgwood of M.I.T. and James Cargile of the University of Virginia.

2008/09: A new minor in Logic and Methodology is approved for introduction in Fall 2009. Gary L. Comstock (Ph.D., Chicago), professor of philosophy, is a Fellow at the National Humanities Center for the academic year. Jason C. Bivins (Ph.D., Indiana), associate professor of religious studies, publishes The Religion of Fear: The Politics of Horror in Conservative Evangelicalism (Oxford University Press, 2008), which is selected as February Book of the Month by Religioustolerance.org and as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year. Douglas M. Jesseph (Ph.D., Princeton), professor of philosophy, resigns after 18 years at NC State to pursue a faculty career at the University of South Florida. Robert M. Hambourger (Ph.D., Rockefeller), associate professor of philosophy, retires after 27 years at NC State.

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