WASHINGTON—Roy Littlefield III is well known in the tire industry as the longtime executive vice president of the Tire Industry Association.
He also is a 41-year faculty member of the Catholic University of America, and this year he is receiving a signal honor from the university: establishment of a scholarship fund in his name.
The Roy Littlefield Ph.D. Scholarship will be awarded annually to a student in Catholic University's Metropolitan School of Professional Studies (MSPS), the university's center for adult education, where Littlefield teaches.
"Dr. Littlefield is recognized by many students, alumni, and peers for his dedication and enthusiasm for adult education," read an alumni fundraising letter signed by MSPS Dean Vincent Kiernan .
"When we considered who to name the new scholarship for, Roy's name floated to the top of the list," Dean Kiernan said in a telephone interview. "It's good for me to know I have a scholar of his caliber on my side."
The average age of students in the MSPS is 40, and most of those students are juggling work and family along with their studies, according to Dean Kiernan. Littlefield combines an impressive breadth and depth of knowledge with real empathy for the students he teaches, he said.
Joe McDonald, MSPS director of admission and communications, entered the MSPS in 2006 after a career as a manager for Continental Airlines. He took Littlefield's class, "The Immigrant Experience in America," in 2007, and was so impressed that he signed up for Littlefield's "Government and Business" class and later for his Friday-night Senior Seminar.
"The text that Roy chose for the first class, 'We Are All Immigrants,' was the best text I ever read," McDonald said. "What he does in class was really amazing. He doesn't take sides on any anything, so we never know where he actually stands, but he guides the conversation so that everyone's thoughts are treated equally."
A native of New Hampshire, Littlefield graduated from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., in 1975 and received his Ph.D. from Catholic University in 1979. During his time at Catholic, he has taught classes in politics, history and law.
"I'm a part-time teacher, but I've greatly enjoyed the opportunity to teach people about the American political system," he said.
As a teacher, Littlefield stresses getting students out in the field, taking them to the Library of Congress, the National Archives and political fundraisers and also recommending them for internships in Capitol Hill offices.
Once Littlefield led a state and local government course in which he led a debate on the Maryland cigarette tax.
"The class held a mock hearing and represented both sides," he said. "The debate appeared on Maryland Public Television."
Washington offers a lot of opportunities to students who are interested in history, government and politics, according to Littlefield.
"That's why a lot of students come to D.C.," he said. "It's always wonderful to work with students who want to learn our traditions."
Catholic University needs gifts of all sizes to fund the Roy Littlefield Ph.D. Scholarship. Those interested can contact the Division of University Advancement by calling 202-319-6597 or emailing [email protected]. You can also make at engage.catholic.edu/littlefield.