Archives > Historical Features > Penn Biographies

PENN BIOGRAPHIES

Humphrey R. Tonkin (born 1939)

University Affiliation:
  • Professor of English
  • Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Studies
  • Director of the Office of International Programs
Biographical Summary:
  • President of the University of Hartford
  • President of the Universal Esperanto Association and the World Congress of Esperanto
  • Author and editor

 

A dual British and United States citizen, Tonkin earned his Bachelor's Degree in 1962 from Cambridge University and his Master's Degree in Doctorate from Harvard University in 1966. That year he became an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania and was promoted to a Professor of English in the Standing Faculty in 1980, after having taken a scholarly leave of absence in fall 1979. Tonkin was the Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Studies at Penn from 1972 to 1975 and became the Director of the Office of International Programs in 1977. He received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1970 and was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1974.

Tonkin has held positions in many professional organizations including the Spenser Society, the Esperanto Studies Association of America (of which he is a former President), the Esperantic Studies Foundation, the Pennsylvania Council on International Education, the Global Interdependence Center, the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Council for International Visitors. He is the former President of the Universal Esperanto Association and the World Congress of Esperanto, Lucerne, Switzerland. He was also the official representative of the Universal Esperanto Association at the United Nations and the Organization of American States. He is also a former editor of the International Education Review.

He has held membership many other professional organizations including the Modern Language Association of America, the Renaissance Society of America, the Milton Society of America, the American Comparative Literature Association, the American Association for Higher Education, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, and the University of Pennsylvania Seminar on the Renaissance.

Tonkin served as the President of the University of Hartford for nearly ten years until 1998 (while serving as president, he still continued to teach), and how teaches courses on Shakespeare and sociolinguistics. A Senior bibliographer of the Modern Language Association, Tonkin received an honorary degree from the University of Hartford in 1999.

His published works include Sir Walter Raleigh 1900-68 from the Elizabethan Biographies Supplements published in London (1971), Spenser's Courteous Pastora, Oxford: Clarendon Press (1972), Faerie Queen (1989) and more recently Service Learning Across Cultures: Promise and Achievement (2004). He co-authored with his wife World in the Curriculum: Curricular Strategies for the 21st Century (1981). He has also been editor of a number of books including Esperanto: Language, Literature, and Community by Pierre Janton (1993), Language Status in the Post-Cold-War Era, Vol. 4 (1996), Esperanto, Interlinguistics, and Planned Language, Vol. 5 (1997), and Masquerade: Dancing Around Death in Nazi-Occupied Hungary by Tivadar Soros, which he also translated (2001). He also has published numerous articles, some of which are in Esperanto, on various topics such as continental literature and higher education.

 

1972 photograph of Humphrey R. Tonkin

 

 

MORE PENN BIOGRAPHIES:

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

For more individuals see the University Archives' collections of personal papers