UNC Charlotte Professor Brings Learning Into the Home


Professor Jurgen Buchenau

Read the complete story from The Charlotte Observer.

When the late Henry Pharr II retired from his law practice in 2013, he found he missed the intellectual stimulation of his career and craved a way to keep his mind active.  A lover of history, he reached out to UNC Charlotte requesting a private tutor. He found just what he was looking for with Jurgen Buchenau, chair of the University’s History Department.

Pharr was so inspired with the sessions, he wanted his friends to have the same experience. Pharr soon opened his home with wife Carol, where the two hosted intellectual salons on varying topics. When they first began, the salons had 35 attendees, but quickly grew. Today, more than 60 join in the scholarly discussions.

Meanwhile, a deep kinship developed between Pharr and his professor. “It enriched me to hear Henry’s perspective as a historical witness. And I was struck by his deep humanity,” Buchenau said. Thoroughly enjoying the salons, Buchenau was happy to donate his time, but the Pharr’s insisted otherwise. The Pharrs and their friends helped establish the Buchenau-Pharr Scholarship, helping graduate students fund their research.
Pharr died in January, but his legacy of learning lives on. Upon his death, friends and family raised more than $20,000 for the scholarship fund. According to Carol, “What began as an act of kindness soon answered a need.”

The salons still continue, the most recent series focusing on the Civil War, and other salons are underway. For more information, or to host a series, contact Nancy Gutierrez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, at ngutierr@uncc.edu.