Kater Murch named the Charles M. Hohenberg professor of physics

On July 1, Kater Murch was named the Charles M. Hohenberg professor of physics. Stuart A. Solin held the title from 2003-2016.

Mrs. Alice Hohenberg and her son, Professor Charles Hohenberg, created this professorship in 1991 to honor Mrs. Hohenberg's husband, Charles M. Hohenberg, Sr. 


Charles M. Hohenberg was born December 25, 1907 in Wetumpka, Alabama. After he graduated from the University of Alabama, he joined M. Hohenberg and Co., a cotton merchandising firm started by his father and uncle in Wetumpka, in 1879. In 1939, Charles and his brother, Elkan, transformed the company into Hohenberg Brothers Company, a firm that specialized in the interface between farmers’ crops and the mills, which manufactured textiles. Farmers' crops varied in quality and quantity from year-to-year, yet the mills needed a continuous supply of consistent raw material, and Hohenberg Brothers filled the gap with knowledge and integrity. Cotton was sold before the crops emerged, loosely based on such things as soil and climate conditions, but more important were personal relationships. Starting in 1950, Hohenberg Brothers Company, through its affiliates, expanded into Mexico, and Central and South America, ultimately becoming the leading name in cotton worldwide. In 1954, Charles, then director of the Atlantic Cotton Association, was elected President of the American Cotton Shippers Association.

In 1967, Charles was instrumental in the founding of the Autauga Quality Cotton Association, a cotton cooperative in Autauga County Alabama. By combining yields and allowing Hohenberg Brothers to handle sales, these farmers salvaged a crop that was rapidly being abandoned in their region of the country. Farmers trusted Hohenberg to sell their cotton, so they were able to concentrate on growing it. In 1982, the Charles M. Hohenberg Quality Award was created by the Autauga Cotton Association and awarded to exceptional local farmers in recognition of individual achievement.

Charles married Alice Armstrong in 1936 and settled in Selma, Alabama, proposing, it is told, after Alice changed his tire on a dirt road in the rain. Charles and Alice were life­long philanthropists, providing generous support for the University of Alabama Medical Center, in Birmingham. Charles worked tirelessly for his community, for its YMCA and its United Appeals campaign; served as chairman of the Alabama Judicial Compensation Commission for many years and served on the board of directors of many corporations. Throughout his entire life, Charles Hohenberg championed personal conviction and the goodness of the human spirit, hiring his best employees from the local YMCA and teaching them by example. In 1975, Cargill, Inc., the world's largest privately held company, bought Hohenberg as a wholly owned subsidiary. Many of those he mentored have advanced to leadership positions at Cargill where the name Hohenberg Brothers Cotton Company remained until 2002.

Charles loved his family, his wife, his community, his state, and his country, and he served them all with integrity, courage, and wit. He died in 1984.