Faculty Giving Back

How two Professors Gave More Than Just an Education  

As a chaplain for the U.S. Air Force, Vaingamalie Tafuna answers airmen’s tough questions about death and war. He advises commanders on ethical and moral dilemmas. He provides counseling to servicemen and women fighting internal and external battles. It’s an emotionally difficult job, but it’s a fulfilling one.

Tafuna, who is currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan, says his background in philosophy has given him the skills to be a chaplain, but philosophy wasn’t even on his radar until he attended Weber State University’s Philosophy Distinguished Lecture Series as a student. “Philosophy challenged my traditional thinking and piqued my interest in serving in the military,” said Tafuna, who graduated from WSU in 2010. “Through the lecture series, I realized philosophy was exactly what I had been looking for.”

Five years ago, philosophy professor Robert Fudge provided personal funding to create the Philosophy Distinguished Lecture Series. Speakers from across the country visit Weber State to discuss central philosophical questions and topics with students and community members. The series also brings scholars whose research bridges the gap between philosophy and other disciplines to campus to demonstrate how various fields of study can be mutually reinforcing. 

In addition to the lecture series, Fudge recently created a lasting legacy at Weber State by funding a scholarship to be awarded annually to one philosophy student.

“It has been truly gratifying to be able to provide these opportunities for our students,” Fudge said. “Even though Weber State does an amazing job keeping a college education affordable, many of our students are still in need of support. It gives me great pleasure knowing that this scholarship fund will help generations of students long after I retire.”

Fudge is among the many generous faculty and staff members in the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences who give back to the college each year.

Retired political science professor T. Ramakrishna (T.R.) Reddy is another.

No stranger to serving others, Reddy has been helping people at WSU, in his local community and his native home of India for many years. Most recently he and his wife, Prasanna Reddy, signed an agreement with Weber State University to create the Ramakrishna Reddy & Prasanna Reddy Endowment.

Funds will support several areas, including an annual scholarship for a political science student, an annual student award for the Best Paper in Political Science, travel expenses for faculty professional development and faculty release time for research.

“I am proud of the fact that a Weber State professor dreamt of a worthy project that will be an eternal benefit to the institution and is able to work with dedication with the university to bring it into fruition,” Reddy said.

To help contribute to these programs, contact Chuck Holland at charlesholland@weber.edu or 801-626-7539.

As the new Lindquist Hall nears completion, named spaces — the Dr. Robert Fudge Classroom and the Dr. T.R. Reddy Political Science Conference Room — will remind generations of students, faculty and staff of the professors’ generosity.