Philip Khuri Hitti
(فيليب خوري حتي in Arabic),(1886 - 1978), born in Shimlan, Ottoman Syria (now Lebanon), was a
scholar of Islam and introduced the
field of Arab culture studies to the United States.
of Maronite Christian
educated at an American Presbyterian
mission school at Suq al-Gharb and at
University of Beirut.
After graduating in 1908 he taught at the
American University of Beirut before moving to Columbia University
where he taught
languages and won his PhD in 1915.
After World War I
he returned to
American University of Beirut and taught there until 1926.
February 1926 he was offered a Chair at Princeton
University which he held until he retired in 1954.
was both Professor of Semitic Literature and Chairman of the
Department of Oriental Languages. After formal retirement he
accepted a position at Harvard. He also taught in the summer
schools at the University of Utah and George Washington University
in Washington, D.C. He subsequently held a research position at the
University of Minnesota. Philip Hitti almost single handedly
created the discipline of Arabic Studies in the United
In 1945 he served as an adviser to the Arab
delegation at the San Francisco
which established the United Nations
Hitti was a distant relative of Christa McAuliffe
, a teacher-astronaut who
was killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger
on January 28, 1986. McAuliffe's mother was Hitti's