Posted: January 8, 2002
MIDDLEBURY, VT - Middlebury College has established the first endowed professorship in its Chinese department. The endowed chair was made possible by a gift of $1.5 million from Kathy O'Connor Truscott and William F. "Ted" Truscott, both members of the College's class of 1983, in honor of Middlebury College Professor of Chinese John D. Berninghausen.
The chair will be known as the Kathleen O'Connor Truscott and William "Ted" Truscott Chair in Chinese until Berninghausen's retirement, at which time it will become the John D. Berninghausen Chair in Chinese.
Middlebury College President John M. McCardell Jr. publicly announced the news in October at the Chinese department's 25th anniversary celebration, which many alumni had traveled thousands of miles to attend. "Ted and Kathy have chosen a fitting tribute to a man who has dedicated his life with such passion both to his academic specialty and to his students," said McCardell at the event.
Ted Truscott, who was an East Asian studies major at Middlebury, is currently the chief investment officer of the Minneapolis-based American Express Financial Advisors, part of the American Express Financial Corporation. Truscott said, "We chose to honor John Berninghausen because of his commitment to excellent teaching, his ability to expand the mind, and his courage in establishing what was, in 1976, a unique undertaking?a Chinese language program at Middlebury College. I owe my global view of the world largely to John, and I am indebted to him for teaching me about a fascinating region."
Berninghausen, who recently stepped down after more than two decades of service as chair of the Middlebury College Chinese department, earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Minnesota with a double major in Chinese and Spanish. He also received a master's and a doctorate in Chinese from Stanford University.
In 1976 Berninghausen joined the Middlebury faculty, co-founded the Chinese language program with the late Gregory Kuei-ke Chiang, and became the program's first chair. In 1982, the program officially became a department with its own major.
Since Berninghausen's arrival he has served in a number of roles at the College, including co-founder and first chair of the inter-disciplinary major in East Asian studies from 1979-1984, chair of the division of foreign languages from 1981-1986 and 1991-1994, dean of the Middlebury College Chinese School from 1988-1994, and acting director of the Language Schools from 1990-1991. In 1993 he was named to a Charles A. Dana Professorship. Prior to coming to Middlebury, Berninghausen founded and directed the Chinese language program at the University of Vermont, where he taught from 1973-1976.
Berninghausen is the author of a book of essays in Chinese, co-editor of an anthology of Chinese short stories, and translator of a number of short stories, speeches, essays and other works for publication in newsletters, books and journals. He has also collaborated on two advanced Chinese language textbooks.
Berninghausen has served as a faculty member and visiting scholar at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, and a visiting scholar at the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan and at the Center for Asian Studies at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. He has also served as a member of the external review team of the Wellesley College Chinese department, an outside evaluator of the Williams College Chinese language program, and a member of the executive board of the Chinese Language Teachers Association.
Currently on academic leave in China, Berninghausen, in collaboration with his wife Alice, is conducting research into modern Chinese painting, including extensive interviews with leading contemporary Chinese artists.