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Distinguished Professor of History and University of Detroit's First University Professor



Francis Arlinghaus was born in June of 1905. He received his Bachelors degree at Xavier University in 1926, where he majored in English and minored in History. In 1929 he received a Master's in History with a minor in Political Science at the University of Cincinnati. He followed this up with a Master's in History and minor in Government from Harvard University in 1931. He also did his doctoral work at Harvard and received his Ph.D. in 1933. His doctoral dissertation was entitled: “The Agadir Crisis: The System of Alliances and the Newspapers.”

From his years of study, Dr. Arlinghaus considered that he had six particular areas of expertise: the History of Modern Germany since 1500; the History of England since 1450; the History of the Far East since 1793; the History of the United States since 1789; the History of Medieval France to 1461; and International Relations – especially of Europe since 1870.

Throughout his academic career, Dr. Arlinghaus was recognized with many awards and distinctions. Among these were the Prize Debate Medal at Xavier University in 1926; the Taft Fellowship in History at the University of Cincinnati, 1929-30; the Edward Austin Fellowship in History at Harvard, 1931-32; and a University Fellowship, also at Harvard, 1932-33.

During the summers of 1931, ’32, and ’33, Arlinghaus taught history classes at Xavier University as a part-time instructor. Once he had completed his doctorate, he began to look for a place to commence a full-time career as a teacher. He contacted Fr. Albert H. Poetker, S.J., President of the University of Detroit. Impressed with his academic credentials, Fr. Poetker offered Dr. Arlinghaus a position as a full time instructor in history. Arlinghaus accepted and signed a contract with the university on June 22, 1933.

Through the years, Dr. Arlinghaus rose in stature, not just at the University of Detroit, but among historian colleagues across the country. In 1948, one year after he’d become a full professor he was chosen by his peers to serve as President of the American Catholic Historical Association. And in 1953, he served with great distinction as a member of the Civilian Faculty Group of the National War College.

Dr. Arlinghaus’s stature was increasing not only as an accomplished academic, but as a university administrator as well. In 1950 he was named director of the university’s summer session and evening division. Under his leadership, enrollment in the evening division more than doubled! In 1957, the university turned to Dr. Arlinghaus once more to head up the newly organized “TV College,” which offered credit courses on both channel 2, and channel 56, the local public television affiliate.

Throughout the decades of his teaching career, from the ‘30s into the late ‘60s, Dr. Arlinghaus contributed articles and book reviews to many prominent historical journals. He also spoke before literally hundreds of groups interested in his learned views on both historical matters and the latest concerns in international affairs.

In 1960, Dr. Arlinghaus was named Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He served in this position until April of 1964 when he was appointed Vice President for Student Affairs, a position he maintained until his retirement in 1968.

In April, 1968, as a special tribute for his 35 years of illustrious service as both a teacher and administrator, Dr. Francis A. Arlinghaus was named both Distinguished Professor of History and University of Detroit’s first University Professor.  

Eight years after his retirement, Dr. Arlinghaus’s talents were once again tapped by the university, this time to aid in the preparation of the university’s centennial celebration in 1977. University of Detroit president, Fr. Malcolm Carron, S.J., appointed Dr. Arlinghaus Vice Chairman of the Centennial Executive Committee and Chairman of the Program Policy Committee.

University of Detroit

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