Professor James R. Soles (1935-2010)
Professor Soles joined the Department of Political Science and International Relations in 1968 and taught courses specializing in American government and public law until he retired in 2002. He received his undergraduate and master's degrees from Florida State University and his doctorate in government from the University of Virginia
Twice a recipient of the University of Delaware’s Excellence in Teaching Award and a winner of the University’s Excellence in Advising Award, he was named the University’s first Alumni Distinguished Professor created to recognize outstanding teaching and mentoring. He was named a Danforth Associate, selected as an American Council on Education Fellow, and chosen as a Salzburg Seminar Fellow, and also served as Chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations. He is also the recipient of the Liberty Bell Award from the Delaware State Bar Association, the Del Tufo Award for Distinguished Service to the Humanities from the Delaware Humanities Forum, and the University of Delaware’s Medal of Distinction for his lifelong personal contribution to public service and the encouragement of hundreds of his former students to pursue public service. Professor Soles was the co-author of The Government of Delaware and co-producer of the WCAU-TV series Delaware: The First State, and has written in the areas of constitutional law and politics, Delaware government, and higher education. Shortly before Professor Soles retired from the University of Delaware in 2002, many of his former students and colleagues created and contributed to the James R. Soles Citizenship Endowment.
Professor Soles’s most enduring legacy has been his extraordinary impact on the lives of thousands of UD students whom he taught and advised during his long career, hundreds of whom have served or continue to serve the public and their communities in Delaware, Washington, DC, and other states throughout the United States. Here are some comments from a few of his former students:
Three times elected Delaware Attorney General and now a judge in Delaware’s Superior Court, the Honorable Jane Brady:
Each day, in Delaware, decisions are made regarding significant and influential matters of state by those of us who were his students and now his confidants and devotees. We come from all political ideologies, and serve in many different roles, but we each share the thrill of having been fortunate enough to learn from his passion for service that we have something worthy to give.
The Honorable William B. Chandler III, the Chancellor of Delaware’s distinguished Chancery Court:
Over a period spanning four decades, Jim Soles has inspired and mentored thousands of students at the University, an exceptional number of whom, guided by the ideals of citizenship he exemplified and taught in his classes, have pursued careers in public service. Jim Soles encouraged his students to live up to those high ideals that were the foundation of this country.
Charles Lewis, former “60 Minutes” producer, founder of the Center for Public Integrity in Washington DC as well as the Fund for Independence in Journalism, and now Distinguished Journalist in Residence at American University:
His faculty leadership inside the department and the university was magnificent, officially and unofficially, and his civic engagement and involvement personally in the life of Newark, New Castle County, the State of Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic region are frankly peerless, over a period literally of decades. It is difficult for me to imagine a more indelible human impact and contribution.