The Master’s University honored two individuals this year with the title of “professor emeritus” through a new program implemented by the faculty advancement committee.
The honorees are Dr. John Hotchkiss and Dr. Paul Plew.
“It’s a standard thing done at universities, to recognize stellar faculty after they retire,” says Dr. Gregg Frazer, dean of the John P. Stead School of Humanities. As chair of the faculty advancement committee, Frazer worked to design TMU’s emeritus program.
“The point is to identify retired faculty members with whom we want to continue close identification,” Frazer says. “It’s also a way to recognize someone and honor them.”
The title will not automatically be bestowed on retiring faculty members. The faculty advancement committee has agreed that the status of professor emeritus should be given selectively, making the reception of it an exceptional honor.
The criteria include a minimum required length of service and continued faithfulness to the doctrinal and moral standards kept by acting professors. Qualifying professors must then go through a nomination and approval process.
The committee completed its first round of receiving and evaluating nominations this fall, with Hotchkiss and Plew accepted as the first to receive the title.
“It’s appropriate that these were the first two recipients,” Frazer says. “They are special in various ways. Their length of service — as well as the influence they had here — is extraordinary.”
Hotchkiss (son of Dr. Herbert Hotchkiss, the namesake of Hotchkiss Hall) graduated from what was then Los Angeles Baptist College’s English program in 1967 and returned as a professor two years later. In 1973 he became the English chair, leading the program from which he graduated until his retirement in 2013.
Nine years later, Hotchkiss says he was surprised and grateful to hear the news from Frazer.
“I am thankful to the selection committee to be among the inaugural group of profs with this rank,” Hotchkiss says. “I am certain that establishing this official status will benefit many faculty among those currently serving and in the future. May our Lord bless and keep TMU true to Him and His word until He comes again.”
Like Hotchkiss, Plew has a long history with the University. He joined the faculty in 1979 and led the music department until his retirement at the end of the 2021-22 school year. He continues to serve as the University’s choir director.
“It’s humbling and encouraging,” Plew said of receiving the title of professor emeritus. “My commitment to The Master at The Master’s University and the students will continue as long as I’m on God’s green globe.”
Frazer expects that more recipients of the professor emeritus title will be named before the end of the academic year, either from new retirees or from those who, like Hotchkiss, left longer ago but finally have a conduit for being formally recognized.
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