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Krebs and Moran Receive Distinguished Professorships

2019.06.05 Distinguished Profs Krebs Moran_web600.png

CONWAY, Ark. (June 5, 2019) – Two Hendrix College professors have been named to distinguished professorships. At an installation ceremony scheduled for August 29, Dr. John Krebs will become the Willis H. Holmes Distinguished Professor of Music, and Dr. Matthew D. Moran will become the Elbert L. Fausett Distinguished Professor of Biology.

The professorship Krebs will hold was established in 1976 and is named for Willis H. Holmes, a 1921 Hendrix graduate, an attorney, and a member of the Board of Trustees for the College from 1964 until his death in 1975. Krebs will be the fifth faculty member to hold the Holmes Distinguished Professorship, following in the footsteps of Dr. M. Francis Christie (1976-1989), Dr. Rosemary E. Henenberg (1991-2002), Dr. M. Warfield Teague (2002-2008), and Dr. John B. “Jay” McDaniel (2008-2018).

“It’s daunting to see the names of my predecessors,” Krebs said. “I feel honored to be associated with this professorship.”

He had not known he was in the running for a distinguished professorship until he learned of his selection from College Provost Dr. Terri Bonebright. “She came over to my office to make the offer and watch me nod in astonishment,” he said.

Krebs, who arrived at Hendrix in 1992, has taught courses covering music fundamentals, opera, Western classical music, the history of jazz, and more, including individual piano instruction. Alongside religious studies professor Jay McDaniel, he co-taught The Engaged Citizen course “Music, Spirit, and Community,” encouraging students to explore how various forms of popular music provide context for social engagement and spiritual sustenance. A gifted accompanist, he often appears at the piano in support of other talented instrumental and vocal performers in central Arkansas, across the U.S., and internationally.

He hopes to use some of the professorship’s funding to bring visitors to campus to perform in concert as well as talk with students about how to build successful full-time careers in the performing arts. He will begin teaching World Music this fall, and expects to find opportunities to use the funding in conjunction with the student learning experiences that course provides, as well.

A native of Iowa, Krebs holds degrees in piano performance from Northwestern University, the University of Illinois, and the University of Maryland. As the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, he also studied at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany. He has served as president of the Arkansas State Music Teachers Association, chaired the Humanities Area of Hendrix College, and served three terms as chair of the Department of Music.

In addition to praising Krebs’s talent as a musician and professor, the colleague who nominated him for the distinguished professorship noted that Krebs’s role as “the consummate accompanist” has served the College well in collaborative situations beyond those that place him at a piano keyboard. The nomination letter praised his effectiveness in committee work, including his time on the Odyssey Task Force, the Strategic Planning Committee, and numerous influential committee assignments related to academic affairs.

“Within the realm of professional development, the bulk of Dr. Krebs activities and accomplishments may be seen to diverge from what is traditionally (though, I believe, too narrowly) thought of as ‘scholarship,’ but they very much conform to what Hendrix values in this area,” wrote his colleague. “While I have not personally observed Dr. Krebs in the classroom, many of my advisees have taken courses of his, as well as piano lessons from him. To a person, I have only heard positive feedback. Furthermore, in my personal interactions with him, I understand Dr. Krebs to be an exceedingly patient and dedicated professor who is genuinely interested in the well-being of his students.”

The professorship Moran will hold was established in 1980 to honor Elbert L. Fausett, a leading Arkansas businessman, realtor, member of the Board of Trustees, and long-time friend of the College. Moran is the fifth Hendrix faculty member to hold the Fausett Distinguished Professorship; previous recipients include Dr. George H. Thompson (1980-1991), Dr. Robert C. Eslinger (1997-2004), Dr. Thomas E. Goodwin (2004-2016), and Dr. Stella M. Čapek (2017-2019).

When Provost Bonebright notified Moran of his selection for the professorship, he was in the hospital recovering from a knee replacement. “It was a nice thing to hear when you’re going through a pretty painful surgery and recovery,” he said.

Moran sees a number of possibilities for using the funding that comes with the endowed professorship, but “regardless, it will be work that benefits students,” he said—possibly through field research on the prairies of Oklahoma, or in the Children’s Eternal Rainforest in Costa Rica, two sites he visits frequently for scientific study.

He received his B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Delaware, where he studied the role of insect predators in grassland communities. At Hendrix, he has taught courses on ecology and evolution, zoology, field ecology, and natural history.

Dr. Moran has led numerous field trips to study the natural environment including experiences in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Kenya, Tanzania, and the American Southwest. Colleagues who nominated Moran cited his productivity in research and writing, his teaching skills, and his leadership and mentoring of both students and faculty.

“Matt has truly excelled in his mentoring of students in recent years, not just in numbers (17 highly active research students last year alone) but in quality of the student experience (10 are already co-authors on peer-reviewed papers and 16 gave presentations at scientific meetings last year),” wrote his colleagues. “One need only be in the general vicinity of one of Matt’s meetings with his groups of research students to hear the laughter of students who are truly enjoying the research experience, from project conception stage to paper submission and presentation stage.”

Krebs and Moran will be honored at an installation ceremony during a campus-wide convocation on Thursday, August 29, at 11:10 a.m. in Reves Recital Hall, Trieschmann Fine Arts Building.

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit