Spotlight: Carl F. Wittke

Carl WittkeThe Carl F. Wittke Award was established in 1971 in honor of Carl Wittke, who joined the faculty of Western Reserve University in 1948. He served as a professor of history, department chair, graduate school dean, and university vice president. He retired in 1963 as chairman emeritus.

Raised in Columbus, Ohio, Wittke was the son of a German immigrant. As a student at The Ohio State University, Wittke performed as a troubadour and had a genuine affection for those less fortunate. He often took public stands on controversial issues. Wittke served as an advocate for women's rights and a champion for African Americans during the Civil Rights movement. He also spoke out in favor of unions, and economic and social reforms.

Wittke earned his bachelor's degree from Ohio State in 1913. He went on to attend Harvard, obtaining both a master's degree in 1914 and a doctorate in 1921. Through the course of his career, Wittke published numerous books and articles, including We Who Built America: The Saga of the Immigrant. He also served as a professor of history and dean at Oberlin College. He was appointed to the history faculty at Ohio State and later became a professor and department chairman.

Wittke was considered a "grass roots" historian who touched the lives of many. After his retirement from Western Reserve University, the Carl F. Wittke Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching was established.