Formal Investiture Ceremony Honors Two Bethany Professors

BETHANY, W.Va. – Distinguished Bethany College professors Dr. James W. Farwell and Dr. Robert A. Paysen will be honored with a formal investiture ceremony on Friday, Nov. 14. Dr. Farwell will be officially installed as the Thomas W. Phillips Chair in Religious Studies while Dr. Paysen will be officially installed as the Goulding-Woolery Professor in Chemistry. The event begins at 4 p.m. in the Academic Parlour at historic Old Main with a reception to follow.

“This is one of the highest honors a faculty member can receive,” said Dr. Scott D. Miller, President of the College. “The formal ceremony of investiture illustrates the connection between the scholarship of our leading instructors and the tradition of philanthropy in support of that scholarship that has been a hallmark of Bethany College for nearly 170 years. Dr. Farwell and Dr. Paysen are acknowledged leaders in their respective fields and are very deserving of this recognition.”

The Thomas W. Phillips Chair in Religious Studies honors the memory of one of the College’s most prominent benefactors. A great admirer of Bethany College founder Alexander Campbell, Phillips joined the College’s Board of Trustees in 1866 – the year of Campbell’s death – and served on the Board until 1912. The generosity of the Phillips family over the years has made the Phillips family name a very familiar one on the Bethany campus through such examples as Phillips Hall, the T.W. Phillips Memorial Library, the Grace Phillips Johnson Visual Arts Center and the Thomas Phillips Johnson Health and Recreation Center.

The Goulding-Woolery Professorship in Chemistry was established through the estate of Claire Schley Goulding, a 1932 Bethany graduate. She was the granddaughter of W.H. Woolery (Class of 1876), who served as the third president of Bethany College from 1887-89. She was also the niece of W. Kirk Woolery (Class of 1908), who was a Professor of Political Science and History at Bethany from 1921-46. Her husband, the late J.P. Goulding, was a Professor of Biology and Chemistry for many years at Shepherd College, now Shepherd University.

Dr. James W. Farwell joined the Bethany College faculty in 2007 after six years (2002-07) in the H. Boone Porter Chair of Liturgics at The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York City. His scholarship focuses on ritual studies, Christian theology, Buddhist philosophy, and the interactions of religion with philosophy and culture. Dr. Farwell has published several journal articles and produced multiple entries for the Encyclopedia of Protestantism. He is the author of the 2005 book, This is the Night: Suffering, Salvation, and the Liturgies of Holy Week, published by T&T Clark/Continuum, and is currently at work on a second book, The Eucharist, Ritual, Ethics and Belief in Western Christianity, to be published by the New York University Press.

Dr. Farwell holds a Ph.D. from Emory University, a Master of Divinity from the General Theological Seminary and a B.A. from the Catholic University of America. Along with the General Theological Seminary and Bethany College, he has also taught at Emory, Hunter College of the City University of New York, and Drew University in Madison, N.J. He remains an affiliate of the doctoral faculty in liturgical studies at Drew. Dr. Farwell is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies and the Northern American Academy of Liturgy. He also serves as Chair of Bethany’s Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy.

Dr. Robert A. Paysen joined the Bethany College faculty in 1983 as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry after completing his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. Dr. Paysen has risen through the ranks at Bethany and is now a full Professor and Chair of the College’s Department of Physical Science.

While at Bethany, he has taught nearly every course offered in the Chemistry Program along with courses in such related fields as Physics and Computer Science. He has helped develop tracks in Biochemistry and other areas while serving on countless committees and task forces. Dr. Paysen has enhanced the College’s academic offerings by securing numerous grants for equipment and other supplies and has provided valuable supervision and guidance to many Bethany students with their Senior Projects and Gans Fund Projects. An integral part of the Bethany community, Dr. Paysen is a regular at the Saturday morning “Breakfast Club” at Chambers General Store and often performs with the Ohio Valley Chorale and other musical ensembles.

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.