La Salle University recently presented two faculty members with annual awards: Vincent Kling, Ph.D., professor of German, received the Faculty Distinguished Scholarship Award, and Michael Dillon, J.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Political Science Department, received the Faculty Distinguished Service Award.
In presenting the honor to Dillon, University Provost Joseph Marbach, Ph.D., said, “As a Lindback Award recipient (for distinguished teaching) with a long list of published articles and public lectures, this year’s recipient illustrates Aristotle’s point: teaching and scholarship are fully integrated with service for the common good.”
Dillon joined the La Salle faculty in 1968. In 1985, he earned a law degree and practiced environmental law for more than two decades before returning to the University in 2007.
Marbach noted that Dillon had a long history of service to the University but had created a “supererogatory range” of activity since his return: starting the Lasallian Forum for Politics and Policy to bring notable speakers to campus; instituting an alumni newsletter, Publius; starting a high school mock trial tournament that brings high school students from across the state to campus; and launching a Legal Careers Night, an annual event in which La Salle alumni in the legal profession meet students considering that field. He also reinvigorated the St. Thomas Moore Pre-Law Society, Marbach said, making connections with some of Philadelphia’s most prominent lawyers, judges, and law firms to provide internship opportunities for students.
“The more I thought about the term ‘service,’ the more I decided it was a good thing that we at La Salle do not think a lot about service. At La Salle, service is just part of the way of life. It just happens,” Dillon said. “Service is nothing more, and nothing less, than participation in the formation of the next generation of our student poets, politicians, scientists, novelists, doctors, lawyers, educators, accountants, nurses, journalists, financiers, social workers, and entrepreneurs. I cannot imagine a more fun way to spend my days, and I still don’t plan to think about service.”
In presenting the scholarship award, Marbach said Kling had been an active scholar since he joined the full-time faculty in 1980, but in the past few years, “our recipient has seen seven books into print, with three more under contract. As a review of their titles indicates, these works collectively display his impressive scholarly reach, whether as translator, as editor, as interpreter, or as essayist.”
Also a recipient of the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, Kling is known around campus, Marbach said, for his influence on students as he engages them in research projects, assists them in applying for Fulbright Scholarships, and takes the time to get to know them outside of class.
“A person who has never been shaken with fundamental self-doubt is not being honest. So it is with scholarship as well, then,” said Kling. “The larger question arises fairly often about why I am doing what I’m doing, whether it makes any difference at all, or how the scholarly endeavor changes the world. The insecurity is all the keener in that recognition of scholarship is extremely rare, and probably not many people in the world, if that many, are likely to know about my work. That fact makes today’s award all the more welcome.”
Marbach noted in presenting the award that a member of the Yale University German Department has said Kling is “second to none in the U.S.” among scholars of Austrian literature. Kling recently was awarded the Schlegel-Tieck Prize of the Goethe Institute in London for the best translation of a literary work from German to English. He was honored for translating the novel Why the Child Is Cooking in the Polenta (in German, the title is Warum das Kind in der Polenta kocht) by Aglaja Veteranyi, published by Dalkey Archive.