C Richard Beam
Herr Beam

Charles Richard Beam passed away at the age of 92 on January 26, 2018. Some may not have known him personally, but he was an integral part of the Department of Foreign Languages and Global Education at Millersville. In addition to teaching, Beam established the Center for Pennsylvania German Studies and a study abroad opportunity in Marburg, Germany that has given many students the opportunity to expand their foreign language studies.

After teaching German at various schools throughout the area, Beam, a native of Lancaster County, decided to join the Department of Foreign Languages at Millersville as an associate professor in 1961. In 1963, Beam established the Millersville State College Junior Year Abroad in Marburg program, and later moved to Germany in 1967 to direct the program until 1970. When Beam returned from Germany, he started writing a weekly column for a newspaper as well as a radio show on the Pennsylvania Dutch. He was an eighth generation Pennsylvania Dutch immigrant.

In 1986, Beam was promoted to full time professor. The same year he also established the Center for Pennsylvania German Studies at Millersville after receiving a grant from the Max Kade Foundation. The center is made up of dialect tapes, 40 books on the language published by the center, volumes of The Comprehensive Pennsylvania German Dictionary, which he co-edited, as well as much more. Beam used the center to teach and train students in all aspects of dialectology and pragmatics. The center has moved around multiple times, even to Beam’s home after he retired. Currently, it resides in McComsey Hall.

Dr. Leroy Hopkins, professor emeriti and a colleague of Beam, said, “The Center and the Marburg Program are just two of professor Beam’s great contributions to Millersville. Both are interrelated and have afforded students an opportunity to obtain a world-class education.”







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