Dr. Curtis’ wife, Marilyn Curtis, made a gift to create the scholarship to honor her husband upon his retirement from Southeast Missouri State University. Curtis is professor emeritus of history at Southeast.
The renewable scholarship will be awarded to a full-time undergraduate student attending Southeast Missouri State University majoring in history, historic preservation or social studies education. Financial need is preferred but not required. Recipients must be in good academic standing with an overall minimum 3.25 grade point average.
Dr. Curtis holds advanced degrees in history from the University of Rhode Island and in historical, philosophical and social foundations of education from the University of Oklahoma. He was an instructor at the U. S. Naval Submarine School in Groton, Connecticut, a high school social studies teacher in Moore, Oklahoma, and a faculty member in the colleges of Education and Liberal Arts at Southeast Missouri State University. At Southeast, he also held various administrative posts, including director of the Honors Program, associate to the provost, director of the University Studies Interdisciplinary Program and chair of the Department of Middle and Secondary Education.
His scholarship has dealt with the history of modern American and European educational, political and social thought. He has presented papers and written articles and reviews in the fields of history and philosophy of education, general and liberal education, and biographical studies in the history of education and history. He is a contributing author of “Lives in Education: A Narrative of People and Ideas,” “Thirteen Questions: Reframing Education’s Conversation” and “Strong Foundations: Twelve Principles for Effective General Education.” In 2004, the Educational Foundations Society named him the William E. Drake Lecturer.
As a professor of history at Southeast, he taught courses in European history, modern British history, historiography and methods of research. He concentrated his scholarship on modern British history, researching the post-World War II writings on politics and education of the late philosopher Michael Oakeshott. In 2008, he received a $6,000 grant to research the Oakeshott collection at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
During the 38 years he was at Southeast engaged in teaching and scholarship, Dr. Curtis spent 25 years as a naval officer, achieving the rank of captain. Trained as a submariner, he served onboard the USS Sirago SS485 and, later, as an instructor at the U.S. Naval Submarine School in Groton, Connecticut. His naval reserve career included positions with the Military Sealift Command and as a historian at the Naval Historical Center. At the conclusion of his naval career, he led a group of naval historians and a naval artist to the Subic Bay naval facility on the island of Luzon in the Philippines to collect documents and artifacts and to conduct interviews for the Naval Historical Center Archives six months before the facility was turned over to the government of the Philippines.