Arthur J. Slavin
Professor Emeritus Arthur J. Slavin, an internationally acclaimed scholar who is among the top authorities on 16th century England of his generation, was extremely influential in the college and the university over his long career at UofL. A “genuine academic luminary,” according to his colleagues, Dr. Slavin is credited with raising A&S’s reputation toward national prominence during the key period of the 1970s to the 1990s.
A Korean War veteran in the United States Air Force, Dr. Slavin is a 1958 graduate of Louisiana State University and earned his Ph.D. with honors from the University of North Carolina in 1960. He taught at Bucknell University before moving to UCLA in the mid-1960s. In 1969 he was the youngest UCLA professor to be named a Golden Anniversary Distinguished Scholar.
Dr. Slavin came to UofL in 1974 as A&S dean and later served as director of the International Center in the mid-1990s. During his time as dean, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Pan-African Studies Department and the Women’s Studies Program. From 1977-1997, he served as the Justus Bier Distinguished Professor of Humanities, a position created especially for him.
In 1998, Dr. Slavin’s 40 years of scholarly work was studied and honored at the American Historical Association’s Annual Meeting where scholars from the U.S., Canada, England and Wales presented him with a Festschrift, a book that honors a respected academic with original contributions by his or her close colleagues. The volume of essays is titled State, Sovereigns and People in Early Modern England.
In addition to his work on 16th century England, he taught and wrote about the Norwegian expressionist Edvard Munch, playwright Henrik Ibsen, Nobel Laureate Knut Hamsun, the Holocaust, music history, Christianity and other wide-ranging topics.
“As past watchdog of academic and teaching excellence, as adviser to college deans and UofL presidents, Professor Slavin was something like the modern equivalent of the Roman princeps senatus, who was… consulted first on any matter of importance,” his nominator says. “He has served the college, the university and, ultimately, the entire outside community in a way which has seldom been equaled.”
After his retirement in 1998, Dr. Slavin continued to teach graduate level Humanities courses until 2011.