The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


5 Old Capitol
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-0557; fax (319) 335-0558

Release: Immediate

UI's Folsom named F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor of English

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Ed Folsom has been named the F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Iowa. The appointment, effective July 1, was announced this week by Judith Aikin, dean of the UI College of Liberal Arts.

Folsom has been called the nation's leading scholar on the works of American poet Walt Whitman, but Aikin also praised his commitment to teaching and service. "As a teacher, Professor Folsom is one of the best the College of Liberal Arts has to offer," she said. "He is also generous in service, the most notable of which was his four years as department chair, a period when the department was strongly enhancing its national profile."

The winner of a Regents Faculty Excellence Award in 1996, Folsom has taught courses at all levels, from introductory general education courses to doctoral seminars. He has directed 16 doctoral dissertations and served on 50 doctoral dissertation committees. In 1996, he was a Fulbright professor at the University of Dortmund in Germany.

He is the author of one book on Whitman, "Native Representations" (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994) and the editor of five collections of essays. He is also editor of the "Walt Whitman Quarterly Review" and has published 30 articles in peer-reviewed journals and chapters as well as many scholarly notes and encyclopedia articles. More recently, he has been involved in electronic publishing ventures, including "The Walt Whitman Hypertext Archive," a project affiliated with the Center for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia.

Folsom also has given invited lectures and Fulbright lectures in China, Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Poland, England, Austria and Sweden. In 1992, the centennial of Whitman's death, Folsom established a Whitman conference and centennial project, attracting $110,000 in grant support.

The awardee earned his bachelor's degree in English from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1969 and both a master's degree in English (1972) and a doctorate in English and American Literature (1976) from the University of Rochester. He joined the UI faculty in 1976 and was promoted to professor in 1987. He served as department chair from 1991 to 1995.

Folsom is the fifth member of the UI faculty to be named an F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor. The appointments were made possible through the Miller Endowment Trust. F. Wendell Miller, a Rockwell City attorney and farm manager who died in March 1996 at the age of 97, left a will calling for creation of the trust to support scholarships, faculty development, concerts, lectures and other academic activities at the UI and Iowa State University. Income from the trust is to be split evenly between the two universities.

The first four Miller professorships, announced in May 1996, were awarded to Michael Lewis-Beck, professor of political science; Chunghi Choo, professor of art; Hans Breder, professor of art; and June Helm, professor of anthropology.