Playwright, teacher, writer, philosopher. Each of these can be used to describe Professor of Philosophy Doug Huff. He leads a life driven by the pursuit of knowledge and finds immeasurable joy in sharing that knowledge with others.
After graduating from Concordia College, Moorhead with a B.A. in English and political science in 1966, Huff went on to further his educational experience at the University of Missouri-Columbia, leaving with a Ph. D. in philosophy in 1974. He also attended Harvard University, where he studied educational management.
In addition to his successful teaching career in the Philosophy Department here at Gustavus, Huff is also a talented playwright and author. He has written several publications for academic journals and encyclopedias, including one entitled “Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Life and Work” for the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Another of his works, “The Nature of the Physical Universe,” is the text of a lecture delivered by Omer Prewett and him at the 1976 Nobel Conference.
Huff is also a distinguished playwright. His dramas have been performed all over the U.S. and the globe. Some of his works include Ophelia, Hungry Ghosts and The Blind Venetian, all of which were performed in several theaters across the nation. Several of his plays have garnered awards, including A Far Shore, winner of the 2009 Mario Fratti-Fred Newman Political Playwriting Contest, and Jean Paul Savage and the Reichenbach Fall, winner of the 1993 Gilmore Creek National Playwriting Competition.
Perhaps his most famous work is Emil’s Enemies, a play based on the incredible story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his resistance to the Nazi regime in Hitler’s Germany. It has been performed all over the world, from India to England, and is set to take the stage again in Santa Fe, NM, on Feb. 19, 2010. Another of Huff’s upcoming works is a comedy entitled The National Endowment that features several Gustavus professors and other staff members. The play is a comedy about a small Midwestern liberal arts college. A staged reading of the play will take place Friday, Oct. 16 and Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7:00 p.m. at the St. Peter Arts Center. Tickets are free to students on Friday and $3 on Saturday.
Apart from his numerous playwriting awards, Huff has also won several teaching awards during his career, including the Swenson-Bunn Award for Teaching Excellence in 2005 and the Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1992.
Now in his 36th year at Gustavus, Huff insists that his time spent here has been wonderful, and he plans to teach for ten more years if his health permits. He credits his students and colleagues with his positive experience. “I’ve been so blessed [with my students],” Huff said.
His students hold the same sentiment toward their professor. “With his always classy attire, acerbic wit and excruciatingly sarcastic humor his classes are never dull. He’s more of a legend than a professor even now.
His tales are whispered across campus in hushed, excited tones,” Senior English Major Ryan McGinty said, who is one of Huff’s students. “A student has not had the full Gustavus experience until they’ve taken a class from Doug Huff.”
When he isn’t in the classroom, Huff enjoys attending the Nobel Conference and working out in Lund. He is particularly fond of Chapel as well, especially the choir music and the variety of speakers.