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Kleinfeld Gift Enhances German Cultural Studies


Dr. Gerald R. Kleinfeld, a professor emeritus of history at Arizona State University, has created the Gerald R. Kleinfeld Distinguished Professorship in German History. Kleinfeld created the professorship with a combination of outright gifts and charitable gift annuities.

Kleinfeld is the founder and former executive director of the German Studies Association, a scholarly organization that hosts the world's largest annual meeting on German and Austrian affairs, politics and culture.

"Wartburg is the last German immigrant—founded college in the United States that still supports active programs and relationships with Germany," said Kleinfeld. "The college's positive connections to Germany are important."

Dr. Daniel J. Walther, Wartburg associate professor of history and chair of the history department, will serve as the first distinguished professor. "I was so impressed, it ultimately led me to Wartburg," said Kleinfeld. "I liked what I saw in Dr. Walther's work. I know he's a good scholar and teacher because I visited his class at Wartburg. I watched his students and their reaction to him."

In addition to Wartburg offering majors in German and German studies, students regularly study in Germany through courses in music, religion, language, history, business, communication arts and mathematics. In July 2006, Wartburg's Discovering and Claiming Our Callings Initiative sponsored a faculty and staff development trip to Germany, where participants gained a better understanding of Wartburg's roots.

"This gift is unique because it marks a rare occasion when someone who spent his career at a public institution chooses to leave a legacy to a small private Iowa college," said Scott Leisinger, vice president for institutional advancement. "At a place like Wartburg College, a gift like this creates a campuswide impact in perpetuity."

Kleinfeld visited Wartburg in May to experience campus life firsthand and gain a better understanding of the college. "I'm a researcher, so I did research," he said. "I read the accreditation reports and did research on the Internet. I have friends and colleagues who are professors in the Midwest, so I spoke with many of them. Then I did on-site research in May; I went to Wartburg, spoke to professors and had lunch with students. What I found was a very good college with very good students and interesting, modern programs with an international emphasis."

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