Brian Hatcher

Brian Hatcher Named McFee Professor

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.—Illinois Wesleyan University President Richard F. Wilson announced that Professor Brian A. Hatcher of the Religion Department has been named the McFee Professor of Religion. This is the second endowed appointment announced at Illinois Wesleyan in the past week.

“The purpose of endowed professorships is to honor outstanding faculty who elevate the University with their teaching and scholarship,” said Wilson. “Receiving the McFee Professorship is a reflection of Dr. Hatcher’s excellent dedication and commitment to teaching and his ongoing scholarly work and to Illinois Wesleyan.”

The McFee Endowed Professorship of Religion was established in 1984 from the estate of Daisy McFee in order to honor her mother and father, Emma and Pulaski, and her brother, Alvin. It is one of 11 active named chairs and professorships at the University. The land, now known as the Illinois Wesleyan University McFee Farm, is located in McLean County, northwest of Bloomington.

A professor with Illinois Wesleyan since 1992, Hatcher graduated from Carleton College in Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1980. Earning his master’s degrees in divinity from Yale University in 1984 and in religion from Harvard University in 1986, Hatcher received his doctorate in the comparative study of religion from Harvard in 1992.

“I am honored and keenly aware I could not have risen to this appointment alone,” said Hatcher, a native of Minnetonka, Minn. “There are colleagues, teachers, family members and, of course, the institution of Illinois Wesleyan who must be considered as well.” Hatcher teaches various courses on religion at Illinois Wesleyan, and his scholarship focuses on the transformation of Hindu thought and culture in colonial and post-colonial India. An author of three books and more than a dozen articles and book chapters, his works are discussed worldwide.

A past recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Cultural Association of Bengal, Hatcher’s research has been honored with several major grants and fellowships, including the the ASIANetwork/Freeman Foundation Student-Faculty Fellowship and the Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship through the U.S. Department of Education, which allowed him to conduct research in Kolkata, India, and the United Kingdom while on sabbatical leave during the 2006-07 academic year.

Throughout his 15-year career with Illinois Wesleyan, Hatcher has been active within the University. He served as chair of the Religion Department from 1998 to 2004, helping to revamp the department curriculum, and returns to that position this fall. He has volunteered his time for a variety of campus committees and was director of the IWU London Program during the fall of 1994.

- Rachel Hatch (309) 556-3960