Hank Willenbrink, Ph.D.



In light of the University’s goal of promoting faculty scholarship, the University is pleased to recognize the special efforts of faculty who strive for, and have attained, distinction in scholarship and creative activity.

This year’s recipient is:  Dr. Hank Willenbrink. 

Dr. Willenbrink earned his PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara and is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Theatre. He has been a faculty member here at Scranton since 2009.

In November of this past year, Dr. Willenbrink’s monograph entitled, “Performing for the Don: Theatres of Faith on the Trump Era,” was published by Rutledge Press. This book is the culmination of several years of scholarly work presented in journal articles, book reviews, and multi-media presentations.

Hank’s research on the intersection of religious faith and practice with performance began with his dissertation, “Scaring Jesus into You: American Hell Houses in Performance followed by a presentation at the American Cultures Conference, “A Mulligan for the Macho Christ: Donald Trump in Evangelical Narratives.”  The specific focal point of his research on the political performance of Donald Trump is timely and highly responsive to the interest and concerns of our students and our surrounding communities.  

One of his nominator’s also added “Dr. Willenbrink does have other book projects to his name. One is an original play written by him, The Boat in the Tiger Suit (published by Original Works Publishing in October 2014) and an anthology of literature that he co-edited, Palabras: Dispatches from the Festival de la Palabra (published by NoPassport Press in September 2013), but Performing for the Don: Theatres of Faith in the Trump Era is by far and away his strongest scholarly publication and deserves recognition.”


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