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Medal of Distinction citation for James R. Soles

Prof. James R. Soles (center) receives a standing ovation from the audience and those on the platform after receiving the Medal of Distinction.

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3:40 p.m., Jan. 6, 2007--James R. Soles, Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus and former chairperson of the Department of Political Science and International Relations, joined the University of Delaware faculty in 1968 and has specialized in teaching “American Government,” “Politics and the Media,” “American Civil Liberties” and “Introduction to Law.” He has twice received the University's Excellence in Teaching Award and has also received the University Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advisement. He has been named a Danforth Associate, selected as an American Council on Education Fellow and chosen as a Fellow of the Salzburg Seminar. He has been the recipient of the Award of Excellence from the Delaware Department of Public Instruction, the Liberty Bell Award from the Delaware State Bar Association and the del Tufo Award for Distinguished Service to the Humanities from the Delaware Humanities Forum.

His one-man show portraying James Madison reminiscing about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights has been performed extensively across the United States. He had twice chaired the Delaware Heritage Commission. He now serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees at Delaware Technical and Community College and serves on the Council of the Delaware Humanities Forum and the Board of Trustees of the Historical Society of Delaware.

Coauthor of the book The Government of Delaware and co-producer of the WCAU-TV series Delaware: The First State, Prof. Soles has also written in the areas of constitutional law and politics, Delaware Government and higher education. He received his undergraduate and master's degrees from Florida State University and his doctorate in government from the University of Virginia.

In 1999, former students and colleagues of Dr. Soles helped to establish the James R. Soles Endowment at the University to honor their former professor. Now worth approximately $375,000, the endowment provides stipends ranging from $100 to $25,000 to UD political science and/or international relations majors or minors while they work as summer interns in public service assignments throughout the country.

In addition, in 1999, former student Chuck Lewis, director of the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C., established the James R. Soles Junior Fellowship to honor his former instructor. The fellowship supports two UD political science majors or minors each year and enables the recipients to work with journalists, policymakers and government officials at the center while learning the political landscape of Washington, D.C.

Prof. Soles is joined today by a number of former students and by his wife, Ada Leigh, and daughter, Catherine.

To quote one of Dr. Soles' heroes, John F. Kennedy said: “The course of civilization is a race between catastrophe and education. In a democracy such as ours, we must make sure that education wins the race."

Jim Soles, for your part in educating generations of responsible and engaged citizens, the University of Delaware salutes you and proudly presents the Medal of Distinction for your distinguished service.

Photo by Duane Perry

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