West Virginia University Institute of Technology will host Ken Hechler, West Virginia politician and collegiate professor, on Thursday, September 23 at 6:00 p.m. The event is part of the Otis K. Rice Memorial Lecture Series and is free and open to the public. Hechler’s lecture, entitled “Behind the Scenes of American History,” will be held in the Tech Center Ballroom on the Montgomery, West Virginia campus.
“Dr. Hechler’s vast experience enables him to provide first-hand accounts of important historical events. His presentation centers on specific high points in our nation’s history, including historical developments during World War II and the inner-workings of the Truman administration,” explained Dr. Paul Rakes, WVU Tech history professor.
Hechler is a professor of political science and history and has taught highly popular courses at Columbia, Princeton, and Marshall Universities. He received his bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University in history and government.
Hechler has been a witness and participant in many of the nation’s most prominent twentieth-century historical events, including his experiences as a World War II combat historian and four years as speech writer for President Harry S. Truman. In 1957, Hechler published The Bridge at Remagen, which has become the definitive history of this World War II military event.
He was elected to the nation’s legislature in 1958. During his eighteen years in the legislature he played an important role in the formulation and passage of significant legislation, including the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969. From 1985 to 2001, he continued his public service as West Virginia’s Secretary of State. In 1988, West Virginia Institute of Technology recognized Hechler’s scholarship and contributions to the state by awarding him an honorary Doctorate of Humanities.
“We are honored to have the Honorable Ken Hechler speak on our campus as a part of the Rice Lecture Series. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with the Tech campus and members of our community,” explained WVU Tech Provost Dr. Scott Hurst.
The Rice Lecture Series began in 2009 in honor of noted historian Otis K. Rice, who served at WVU Institute of Technology from 1957 to 1987.