The Winter 2013 issue of Xavier magazine included a story about the Roger Fortin Award, which honors the former professor of history and University provost. The award is granted to faculty in the humanities who demonstrate outstanding teaching and scholarship. The first Fortin Award was granted in January and went to Richard Polt, chair of the Department of Philosophy.
“In his teaching and scholarship, Richard Polt has demonstrated that a professor can be both a creative distiller of difficult philosophical concepts and a public intellectual able to converse with a general audience,” said professor of English Tyrone Williams, who nominated Polt.“In the classroom he is able to elicit both gratitude for making philosophy palatable and excitement for making it relevant to the lives of his students. As a scholar his introduction to, and translations of, Heidegger have won him international accolades from scholars. At the same time his editorials for the New York Times have opened a ‘third’ portal through which he engages the public in philosophical debates. In short, [his] career is an exemplary model for how to move back and forth between different constituencies in and outside the classroom.”
Polt came to Xavier in 1992. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Chicago. When he writes, he prefers the method he has used since his teenage years: the typewriter. He has a collection of more than 200 of the machines. His oldest is a Hammond 1 from 1889.