Feature Story

An Accomplished Advisor

September 13, 2017 – by Cole Hatcher

William C. “Bill” Louthan

OWU Professor Earns National Award for 40 Years of Service to Pi Sigma Alpha 

In 1977, Ohio Wesleyan University students were watching “Star Wars” at the movies, tuning in to “Happy Days” on television, and disco dancing to the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack. 

Also 40 years ago, politics and government students were benefitting from the advice and support they received from faculty member William C. “Bill” Louthan, OWU’s new advisor to the Upsilon Chapter of the Pi Sigma Alpha national political science honorary. 

Fast-forward to 2017, and Ohio Wesleyan students are watching “It” at the movies, tuning in to “Game of Thrones” on TV, and listening to Kendrick Lamar on their iPhones. But one thing hasn’t changed: P&G honor students still are benefitting from the wisdom and support of their Pi Sigma Alpha advisor – Professor Bill Louthan. 

Louthan, Ph.D., who joined the Ohio Wesleyan faculty in 1972, is being recognized with the 2017 Pi Sigma Alpha/James I. Lengle Chapter Advisor Recognition Award. Lengle, the award’s namesake, served as executive director of Pi Sigma Alpha for more than 20 years. The Washington, D.C.-based organization is the only honor society for graduate and upper-level undergraduate students of government in the United States. 

“This award honors your nearly 40 years of service as faculty advisor to Upsilon Chapter at Ohio Wesleyan University and your chapter’s excellent, virtually unbroken, record of initiates during your tenure in this post,” Sean Twombly, Pi Sigma Alpha’s current executive director, wrote to inform Louthan of the award. 

“The Pi Sigma Alpha Executive Council and the National Office are very aware that the vitality of the chapters, and hence the health and success of the honor society, depends almost entirely upon the dedication and energy of the faculty members who serve as chapter advisors,” Twombly wrote. “Thank you very much for all you have done for Upsilon Chapter and for Pi Sigma Alpha.” 

At Ohio Wesleyan, Louthan serves as the McKendree Professor of Politics and Government. He specializes in judicial politics, especially the U.S. Supreme Court, and constitutional law, especially issues of civil rights and liberties. 

He is the author of five books, including “The United States Supreme Court: Law Making in the Third Branch of Government,” hailed by Congressional Quarterly’s “How to Research the Supreme Court” as a “major work on the Supreme Court … of lasting interest to Supreme Court scholars.” 

Louthan says he is honored to be recognized by Pi Sigma Alpha and to share its opportunities with OWU students. 

“My first year as advisor was 1977,” Louthan recalls. “I was an undergraduate inductee in 1965 and always valued that experience. 

“I have tried to make the experience special for our students here at OWU through both a fairly elegant induction ceremony (those inducted as juniors always assist me with the ceremony as senior members) and through continuing contact with members as they live the practiced politics experience of the real world.” 

Learn more about Pi Sigma Alpha at www.pisigmaalpha.org and more about Louthan and Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Politics and Government at www.owu.edu/politics.