CAS presents inaugural Royall Professorships

Normal Royall Distinguished Professor AwardThe UMKC College of Arts and Sciences presented the inaugural Norman Royall Professorships to four faculty members during the College’s 2017 Fall Reception and Awards Ceremony. The Royall Professorship is the highest honor bestowed by the College.

“As the highest recognition in the College, the Royall Professorship will reward faculty committed to research and/or teaching excellence, creativity and interdisciplinarity,” said Dean Wayne Vaught during the presentation.

The Royall Professorships are named in honor of Norman Royall Jr., long-time UMKC professor of mathematics and physical sciences. Royall arrived at the University of Kansas City in 1947, and served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences until 1953. After leaving the Dean’s Office, he taught in the Department of Mathematics until his retirement in 1975. He taught the popular Foundations of Physical Science course, which was designed to expose majors and non-majors to what he called “the inner spirit of scientific thinking.”

Royall’s goal, as he said on multiple occasions, was to enable “students to catch the spirit of creativity found in original scientific research.”

“It is the creative part of this equation that has remained truly significant,” Dean Vaught said.

Royall paired a research focus on conical structures with a passionate love for music, fine arts and classical philosophy.

This perfect pairing of scholarship and the arts, as Royall once explained, elevates the amount of “rationality in the world … because in the long run the only thing that will protect this country is a general increase in wisdom.”

Congratulations to the following faculty members on receiving a 2017 Norman Royall Professorship:

Robert Riggs, Ph.D., Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy

Daniel McIntosh, Ph.D., Associate Professing in the Department of Physics and Astronomy

Jennifer Phegley, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature

Massimiliano Vitiello, Associate Professor in the Department of History