Professor receives coveted German ambassador’s award
Founding Director of Fellowships Al Gurganus was presented the Federal Republic of Germany Friendship Award at The Citadel’s annual Commencement Week Awards Convocation May 6, 2010. The Friendship Award is conferred by the German ambassador in recognition of extraordinary efforts "on behalf of German-American relations." Constance Heery, director of communications at the German Consulate in Atlanta, made the presentation.
The award was a surprise to Col. Gurganus, who is retiring this summer after 35 years of secondary and collegiate teaching. For 21 years at The Citadel he has mentored cadets in preparation for successful Fulbright, Truman and Department of State Critical Language Scholarship applications and for graduate study at select universities worldwide.
Gurganus was nominated for the German Friendship Award by three former students: Dr. David Smith '92, assistant professor of German at East Carolina University; Dr. Matthew Lange '94, assistant professor of German at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater; and Dr. Matthew Belcher '02, who just defended his dissertation in German Languages and Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania.
"Al's impact as a mentor and friend can only be understood through the anecdotes of those of us fortunate to have studied with him,” said Smith. “We all bear his mark and are much better for it. There is no one more deserving of this award, and I thank the ambassador for recognizing Al's service."
Smith, Lange and Belcher traveled to Charleston to be at the awards ceremony.
During his career, Gurganus was recognized for his teaching with awards from Raleigh's Needham Broughton High School, the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and The Citadel. His book "The Art of Revolution: Kurt Eisner's Agitprop" examines the didactic fiction of the leader of the 1918 Bavarian Revolution. He has authored articles for Goethe Yearbook, German Studies Review, Germanic Notes and Reviews, The Dictionary of Literary Biography, The Journal of Black Studies, and Postscript.
In 2001, Gurganus and his wife Susan founded The Citadel German Studies Stipend, just renamed the Gurganus Scholarship by the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Culture, to fund cadet German majors' summer study projects in Europe. He negotiated the donation of two prominent gifts to Daniel Library: the Hardin Collection of German Literature and the O'Flaherty Collection of Hamanniana and Nietzscheana, which afford Citadel students and interested researchers access to hundreds of rare books and manuscripts.
In retirement Gurganus plans to finish a second book on German politics and culture of the early 20th century.