Brasington named first Powell Professor of History at WT

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CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – According to the University, Dr. Bruce Brasington has been named the Twanna Caddell Powell Professor of History, the first endowed professorship ever in West Texas A&M University’s Department of History.

“I am profoundly grateful,” Brasington said. “I truly believe that this is a vocation. It is a real honor and blessing that I am able to teach, and I believe I am meant to be here at WT.”

As described by the University, Brasington, a Stillwater, Okla., native, began his career at WT in 1990 and has taught a variety of courses, from introductory American history to graduate seminars in medieval and early-modern history. He is a Regents Professor for The Texas A&M University System and a Piper Foundation Professor.

The Powell Professorship was established this month by Don and Twanna Powell to enhance the student learning experience by supporting an exceptional faculty member in the history department.

In the establishing documentation, Twanna Powell’s fondness for history, inspired by a public school teacher, and an appreciation for education are cited.

“I have known Twanna Powell for more than 20 years,” said University President Dr. Walter Wendler. “She is a wonderful person with a strong commitment to her faith, family, community and education. It is a privilege for the university to be associated with her through the Twanna Caddell Powell Professorship of History. The legacy she advocates through her values and this gift will help sustain WT’s service to the Texas Panhandle as articulated in WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.”

The professorship and the financial support it provides, said the University, will aid in Brasington’s scholarly activities.

“This means an opportunity to keep pushing forward as a scholar and as a teacher,” Brasington said. “It is almost like fuel. … And whatever I am doing as a scholar, it is incumbent upon me to make sure I use that with my students.”

Dr. Jessica Mallard, dean of the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities, said she is thrilled with Brasington’s appointment.

“He is an excellent professor and scholar and also takes the time to give to the campus and community. In March after the university was closed, Bruce reached out to me to ask if he and his colleagues could create care packages for any students who were living in the dorms. He definitely goes the extra mile to help our students,” Mallard said. “We greatly appreciate Don and Twanna Powell’s support of the college and university.”

The appointment is “a huge honor,” said Dr. Timothy Bowman, head of the history department.

“Bruce is a top-notch scholar,” Bowman said. “His scholarly output is second to none. The energy he gives to his teaching and to his research is unparalleled, and this professorship will allow him the support to continue to write and publish articles like he has before.”

Brasington said he is excited to live up to the expectations of his new role.

“I am honored, blessed and challenged,” Brasington said. “It’s an opportunity, and I want the Powells and my colleagues to know that I am going to do my best to make their confidence in me justified.”

Brasington is noted as having received his bachelor of arts in history from Oklahoma State University, his master’s from SMU, and a Ph.D. from UCLA, where his dissertation concerned the development of jurisprudence in medieval Church law. His research since then has focused on medieval and later legal history.

Don and Twanna Powell were inducted into WT’s Old Main Society in 2012, the same year they led a capital campaign for the University. The Powells have established and contributed to numerous scholarships, professorships and other vital initiatives supporting West Texas A&M University.

The University said that endowed professorships are one way in which WT will meet its goal of becoming a regional research university, as outlined in the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

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