Augustana College announced Dr. Dan Lee, professor of ethics and director of the Augustana Center for the Study of Ethics, is the inaugural holder of the Marian Taft Cannon Endowed Chair in the Humanities. As the college’s first Cannon Professor of the Humanities, Dr. Lee has the unique opportunity to shape the way this endowment will impact Augustana College faculty, and influence the transformative educational experience they provide students.
Established by the estate of Wilbur and Marian Taft Cannon, the endowment was envisioned by Wilbur Taft as a means of honoring his wife and the passion she had for teaching.
Marian Taft was born in China and later settled in the Quad Cities. She taught French at Augustana from 1962 to 1976. The couple retired in Florida. Wilbur Cannon died in 2000, and Marian Cannon passed away in 2006.
In 1978, when asked about the endowment he was helping to establish, Mr. Cannon was clear on several points. He wanted it named for his wife, and wrote that she so enjoyed teaching at Augustana, “she would have taught for zero compensation.” In fact, he once observed that he saw their gift as “in some measure a return for the salary she received from Augustana.”
John H. Erickson ’69, a former student of Marian Cannon’s, said recently, “I remember Madame Cannon most vividly. She was always exuberant, joyful and energetic. Although I’m certain she did stand still from time to time, I certainly don’t have that image in my memory.”
Erickson added, “Her love and enthusiasm for all things French must have made a lasting impression on me. I am currently enrolled in an intermediate French course at the Philadelphia Alliance Française—and have been pleasantly surprised to discover how much of what I learned from Madame Cannon is still with me.”
Dr. Lee has been a member of the Augustana faculty since 1974. His teaching responsibilities include courses in business ethics and medical ethics. On a two-year cycle, he teaches the course “Faiths in Dialogue,” following which he and his students spend 12 days in Rome visiting various sites of significance, attending an audience with the pope, and meeting with church officials and other individuals to engage in dialogue about issues discussed in the course. Appointed chair of the Department of Religion in 2008, he will continue serving in that capacity through the 2013-14 academic year.
He is a Navy veteran, and the author of numerous articles and books. Dr. Lee holds degrees from Concordia College in Moorehead, Minn., and Yale University.