The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, located at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, is honoring the outstanding scholarship of the late Donald F. Durnbaugh by creating the Durnbaugh Legacy Endowment. Durnbaugh passed away in August last year.
Contributed funds will help meet a $2 million challenge by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The endowment will support the collection of reference materials, will support teaching, will create an academic chair at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, and will support many other activities of the center. Some of Durnbaugh’s papers and books, contributed by his family, will be used to support the center’s program of research and scholarly publications in Anabaptist and Pietist studies.
Durnbaugh is considered the preeminent scholar of the Brethren experience in Europe and America, said the announcement of the endowment. His narrative history, “Fruit of the Vine, A History of the Brethren, 1708-1997,” is the standard in the field of study, the center said. Durnbaugh also authored “The Believers’ Church: The History and Character of Radical Protestantism,” and edited the multi-volume “Brethren Encyclopedia.”
He was a long-time supporter and friend of the Young Center. In 1987, he earned the distinction of delivering the first public lecture at what would become the center. Two years later, he was appointed the first Carl W. Zeigler Professor of Religion and History at Elizabethtown College, a position he held until 1993. That same year, he was named the first Young Center Fellow. During his tenure at the center, he furthered the study of Anabaptist and Pietist faiths by presenting papers at academic conferences, writing scholarly articles, and preparing book reviews. He also played a major role in planning the 1991 meeting of the International Communal Studies Association and the first Brethren World Assembly in 1992, both held at the Young Center. From 1998 to 2004, he served as a member of the Young Center Advisory Committee.
Associated with the Durnbaugh Legacy Endowment, several naming opportunities have been established that reflect the heritage of the Believer’s Church. For more information about these opportunities or for more information about the endowment, contact Allen T. Hansell, director of Church Relations at Elizabethtown College, at 717-361-1257.