David R. Skeen ’62
B.A., Denison University
M.A., Xavier University
Ph.D., University of North Dakota
Citation awarded June, 2006
David Skeen retired last May after 37 years of teaching. Muskingum College’s president, Dr. Anne Steele, characterized him as “the quintessential professor.” The chair of the board states that they chose David to be interim president “at a vital and historic juncture for the college” because of his “steadiness, maturity, sound judgment and leadership.” By all accounts, David performed with distinction in a critical transition role. The students had high praise as well, selecting him to be the college’s 2005 commencement speaker.
David’s definition of retirement has nothing to do with rocking chairs. In August 2005, he and his wife, Becky Bates ’62, departed for Lithuania on a prestigious Fulbright Scholar appointment to Lithuanian Christian College to teach, assist with curriculum development and consult with faculty on developing research programs. Obviously, David is willing to demonstrate his belief in the viability of a small liberal arts college by extending his expertise to developing institutions abroad—as he did in the spring of 2003 with a sabbatical teaching position at the American College of Thessaloniki.
David’s principal nominator describes him as a “caring listener, culturally sensitive, ever-curious, bright…and fun!” His unique gifts are enhanced “by his generous giving of self, accented with his non-heralding of self, and all punctuated with an underlying joie de vivre and subtle sense of humor.”
David has been a leader in the New Concord community as well. As an environmentalist, he was one of the founding members of R.E.New, a volunteer citizens’ group promoting economic and aesthetic improvement for the village. He served as president of the group from 1986-88, returned to the post in 2000, and has just led the creation of a community-wide recreation council for the New Concord area. David was instrumental in organizing an Emergency Medical Squad for the community and served as a technician on the squad from 1977-81. At the College Drive Presbyterian Church, David has served as elder, continuing chairperson of the Steward and Mission Committee, and Finance Committee chair to the Muskingum Valley Presbytery.
David’s mission as a teacher reflects Denison’s own Mission Statement: “…to inspire and educate students to become autonomous thinkers, discerning moral agents and active citizens of a democratic society, and to develop the framework for an integrated intellectual life, spiritually and morally informed.”
As a Denison volunteer, David has served on various reunion committees, as a career advisor, and a member of the Varsity D Association.