Virginia Olga Skinner’49 established the Ralph C. Huffer Professorship in honor of the mathematics and astronomy professor whose teaching and friendship inspired her to pursue her own successful and rewarding career as a mathematics professor.
“I am very happy to have Prof. Huffer recognized for the remarkable person he always was,” said Prof. Skinner, who was herself a mathematics professor for over 41 years. “He was always my favorite professor. He made mathematics fun. Because of his teaching, I found all later applications easy.”
A series of annual gifts support the salary and benefits of a senior faculty member who teaches mathematics and/or astronomy. Through a testamentary commitment, a significant portion of Skinner's estate trust was designated to fund the Ralph C. Huffer Endowed Chair, providing annual support that allows Huffer's spirit to live in perpetuity. The first Huffer Professor is Ranjan Roy, who has taught mathematics at Beloit since 1982.
Prof. Huffer was beloved across campus. Having joined the Beloit faculty shortly after his World War I service in a military band as a trumpet player, he directed the College band from 1925 through 1937. He was also Beloit’s foreign student advisor beginning in 1948. As such, he formed strong personal friendships with many students, and later visited them while on a round-the-world tour upon retirement in 1961.
“He brought to life wonderful attitudes and perspectives,” said Prof. Skinner prior to her passing in 2012. “We maintained a close friendship until he passed away in 1986.”