Dr. Paula Survilla
Dr. Paula Survilla

The Harry and Polly Slife Endowed Professorship in Humanities

Established in 1994 to honor Harry slife, former Chair of the Board of Regents, and his wife, Polly Slife

A member of the Wartburg faculty since 1999, Dr. Paula Survilla was named the Harry and Polly Slife Professor in Humanities in 2010.

An active researcher, Survilla is currently working on two book manuscripts, one related to her established specialty in Belarusian studies/ethnomusicology and the other on her new research interest in the ethnography of sound. She has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and papers and has presented her research at the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, the Canadian Association of Slavists, and the Association for the Study of Nationalities. Her book, Of Mermaids and Rock Singers: Placing the Self and Constructing the Nation through Belarusan Contemporary Music, was published in 2002.

Survilla was president of the North American Association for the Advancement of Belarusian Studies from 2005 to 2010. She currently serves as executive director of the Center of Belarusian Studies, leading initiatives to encourage the development of democracy through higher education.

Harry and Polly Slife created the college's first endowed professorship and a Slife Minority Scholarship Fund during the time Harry chaired the Wartburg Board of Regents. He was a former president of Rath Packing and Black Hawk Broadcasting Company in Waterloo, served as a state senator, and taught at Wartburg in retirement. Polly Slife supported a variety of Cedar Valley organizations, including the Girl Scouts and the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony. The Slifes' three daughters are Wartburg graduates: Polly Slife McDonald '77, Peggy Slife Gaard '77, and Sarah Slife Salzwedel '82.