New hire seeks to inspire

Dr. Freund appointed to new position, tasked with developing Jewish Studies program at CNU

On Monday, March 18, members of the press gathered in the Alumni House to cover the appointment of an important new faculty member to Christopher Newport.

At the event, Dr. Richard Freund was named the first holder of the Bertram and Gladys Aaron Endowed Professorship in Jewish Studies at Christopher Newport.

He will assume his new position at Christopher Newport in the Fall semester of 2019. 

Dr. Freund is a distinguished archaeologist, historian and explorer.

He is currently the Director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies and Greenberg Professor of Jewish History at the University of Hartford.

A press release from CNU stated Dr. Freund has been appointed this new position at Christopher Newport where he will lead Judaic Studies in addition to building strong ties with the Jewish community throughout the country. 

“This is a landmark day in the history of Christopher Newport University. Dr. Freund personifies what we expect of our students, that they lead, serve, engage and set the world on fire,” President Paul Trible said.

“He has done all of that with national and international impact. We are proud that Dr. Freund is joining us and grateful to Bert’ and Gladys Aaron for their generosity in making this appointment possible.”

Freund stated that his main goals at CNU is to bring his research in the field into the classroom and connect the campus with the surrounding community.

Freund was drawn to Christopher Newport because it has a pristine infrastructure; all that is missing was a person to lead.

“It’s rare to find a start up university … and a university that has great infrastructure to start with. Those two can really make for success,” Freund said.

“I want to make sure I create a curriculum that will allow students to seriously study Hebrew … but the other thing is to take students outside of the classroom and learn about the world. I think that’s going to be the main aspect that’s going to make Jewish Studies an exciting discipline.”

He has had three other opportunities throughout his career where he has created a Jewish Studies program from virtually nothing.

In order to create a solid Jewish Studies program and minor in Jewish Studies at CNU, Freund is planning to introduce the teaching of Hebrew language and culture, increase study abroad opportunities and engaging students on campus.

“I think this is something that the university is ready for,” Freund said.

Dr. Freund will be housed in the Christopher Newport University Department of Philosophy and Religion.

Dr. Freund places a lot of emphasis on giving students to get experience in the field for hands-on learning.

“This is how you learn to do these things. Not necessarily sitting in the classroom,” Freund said.

“I’m hoping I find the right cohort of students who are willing to go to the field.”

In addition to creating a comprehensive Jewish Studies program at the University of Hartford over the past two decades, Dr. Freund is most renowned for discovering a Holocaust escape tunnel.

He has been featured in over 15 television documentaries as well as authored six books on archaeology, two books on Jewish ethics and over one hundred scholarly articles.

Dr. Freund has also lead multiple archaeological projects in Israel and Europe, most notable a research project at the extermination camp at Sobibor, Poland that pioneered the use of ground-penetrating radar to look for burial grounds.

The appointment of Dr. Freund was made possible by a generous donation from Bert and Gladys Aaron. 

~Emma Dixon, News Editor~


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