Editor’s note: This story was updated on Sept. 15 to include Thayer professors John Collier and Alexander Hartov, who retired this summer. Their stories include information from a recent story in “Dartmouth Engineer Magazine,” as well as the professors’ reflections, which they shared with Dartmouth News.
Eleven members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences have retired this year. Normally, such milestones would be celebrated in person, but due to the pandemic, the occasion was marked in writing.
“Through their teaching, research, and service, each of these scholar-teachers has made unique and lasting contributions to their students, their departments, and their academic fields. The Dartmouth community, and the world, are richer for their legacy,” says Elizabeth Smith, the arts and sciences dean, who wrote letters of congratulations to the retirees.
“The associate deans and I are deeply grateful for all they have done for the college. We wish them the very best as they embark on the next chapter of lives, dedicated to the world of ideas,” she says.
These snapshots of the retiring faculty members were compiled from Smith’s letters. In addition, several of the retirees shared reflections about their time at Dartmouth.
Professor of English
Boose joined Dartmouth in 1985, having already become well established as a Shakespeare scholar. She is known as a dynamic, dedicated teacher who inspires her students to share her love for Shakespearean drama and the early modern period in general. The creator of groundbreaking feminist readings of Shakespeare’s plays, she brought her scholarship into the classroom in innovative and technologically advanced ways.
Her areas of expertise include gender in Shakespeare, war and gender, and the Bosnian conflict. Her seminars on Hamlet, “Shakespeare and Film” and “War and Representation,” have been a source of inspiration for generations of students. Beyond the classroom, she has shared her scholarship as a member of the executive board of the Shakespeare division of the Modern Language Association and a trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America.
Deeply committed to international peace efforts, including the Women’s Peace Initiative in Bosnia, Boose has frequently spoken about war at Shakespeare festivals, National Endowment for the Humanities seminars, and academic conferences. She co-directed the 2002 Dartmouth Humanities Institute on inter-ethnic conflict and genocide and has had a lasting effect on the College’s War and Peace Studies Program.
John P. Collier ’72, Thayer ’73, ’75, ’77
The Myron Tribus Professor of Engineering Innovation
During his four decades at Thayer, Collier, a biomedical engineer, co-founded what is now one of the world’s largest orthopedic implant retrieval labs. He won numerous teaching awards, including the National Academy of Engineering’s Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education. And he built lasting ties with students and colleagues.
“I feel very lucky that I was able to teach at Dartmouth,” Collier said. “The teaching and research have been wonderfully rewarding; the many long-term friendships were an unanticipated and most highly valued gift.”
Collier expanded several of Thayer’s signature courses, including “Introduction to Engineering.” The class, required for all engineering majors, now features a formalized approach to problem solving and visits from guest lecturers who address such topics as ethics, marketing, and patents.
With orthopedic surgeon Michael Mayor, he started the Orthopedic Implant Retrieval Program at Dartmouth Biomedical Engineering Center.
The lab has resolved two of the primary causes of orthopedic implant failure: loosening and wear, Collier said. The lab also functions as “a big family,” generating close bonds among undergraduate and graduate students.
For many students, the lab has served as a steppingstone to medical school. Among them are orthopedists who now provide retrieved implants for new students to evaluate, he said, “completing the circle of research.”
In retirement, Collier will continue to serve as an academic adviser and also take on a number of new roles, including serving on the review board of the introductory course.
Professor of Physics and Astronomy
As a scholar, Fesen’s many achievements include creatively addressing astrophysical problems using observational data, and employing pioneering techniques to find supernova remnants in other galaxies. He was instrumental in raising the profile of astronomy at Dartmouth, including the institution’s partnership with the Southern African Large telescope, the largest single optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere, and has frequently served as a panelist for NASA.
An energetic teacher and mentor, Fesen has helped shape many of students’ careers, including PhD students who have gone on to distinguished careers of their own.
Laughter was an important ingredient in his classes. Introductory overviews of the planets and solar system and the properties of stars and galaxies, his courses were interesting at a basic level to most students, he says. But injecting humor helped hold the attention of large, diverse groups, and “also resulted in students coming to class more often and thus learning more.”
Reflecting on his more than 30 years at Dartmouth, Fesen says interacting with students, either in class or with regard to science research, has been a highlight.
“Working with so many bright and energetic young people has been a joy,” he says. “In retirement, I miss these daily interactions with so many young students most of all.”
Benjamin Cheney Professors in Mathematics
Throughout her long and distinguished career at Dartmouth, Gordon has been an outstanding mentor and instructor for students at all levels. She served as adviser to half a dozen PhD students and several postdoctoral fellows, each of whom went on to successful careers. A leader in promoting and supporting women in mathematics, she served as president of the Association for Women in Mathematics and subsequently established an AWM chapter at Dartmouth.
Gordon’s outstanding teaching and scholarship helped build Dartmouth’s reputation as a center for research in spectral geometry. As a scholar, she is best known for her groundbreaking work with fellow mathematicians David Webb and Scott Wolpert on the question, “Can you hear the shape of a drum?” (The answer is no.)
Her scholarly accomplishments have resulted in many prestigious awards, among them an American Mathematical Society Centennial Fellowship for outstanding early career research and the Chauvenet Prize, the Mathematical Association of America’s annual award for outstanding expository writing on a mathematical topic. Gordon also was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Mathematical Society, and the Association for Women in Mathematics.
Alexander Hartov, Thayer ’88, ’91
Professor of Engineering
After finishing his PhD at Thayer in 1991, Hartov went to work as a researcher in industry. Five years later, he surprised himself with a career change.
Thayer’s Keith Paulsen, a biomedical engineer whose current roles include co-director of Norris Cotton Cancer Center’s Translational Engineering in Cancer Research Program, was planning a project exploring new imaging technologies for breast cancer research, said Hartov. And although he had never intended to work in academics, the project interested him, and at Paulsen’s invitation he joined Thayer as a research member of the faculty.
The collaboration between Thayer and physicians at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center proved to be very productive, and, looking back, he is “most grateful” to Paulsen, Hartov said. “Thayer and the greater Dartmouth/DHMC community are a great place to work.”
At Thayer, Hartov taught courses in instrumentation and measurement, electrical network theory, and digital image processing, and mentored students in the lab and classroom. His research work included imaging for breast cancer and prostate cancer screening, and image-guided and fluorescence-guided neurosurgery. He was a lead investigator in numerous projects for the Brain Research Group @ Dartmouth and also worked with Lewis Glinert, professor of Hebrew Studies, to help launch the Dartmouth Jewish Sound Archive.
For several years he directed Thayer’s master and PhD programs, an experience for which he owes a “debt of gratitude” to Provost Joseph Helble, former dean of the engineering school, Hartov said. “Overall, I have a great affection for Thayer, and I plan to stay in touch for the foreseeable future.
Edward Tuck Professor of French, Professor of Comparative Literature and Film Studies
Higgins joined Dartmouth as an assistant professor of French and Italian in 1976, taking her place among a handful of women in tenured or tenure-track positions at the College. Her service to Dartmouth included co-founding the first women’s studies program at any previously all-male Ivy League school, and serving as chair of the Department of French and Italian for 12 years and associate dean for International Studies and Interdisciplinary Programs for five years.
Higgins’ scholarly expertise spans French language, literature, and cinema; women filmmakers, the 20th-century novel, literary criticism and theory, and literature and national identity. She has made significant contributions to the study of French filmmaking, and is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on French New Wave cinema.
At Dartmouth, Higgins taught and mentored generations of students, inspiring many to write senior theses in 20th-century French literature and cinema and go on to graduate studies in French. She directed existing off-campus programs in Toulouse and Blois, and championed the creation of the College’s popular programs in Lyon and Paris. Traveling with students, Higgins modeled what it means to love and respect societies beyond one’s own. She recently received the Elizabeth Howland Hand-Otis Norton Pierce Award for outstanding undergraduate teaching.
Professor of English and Creative Writing
New Hampshire’s poet laureate from 2004-2005, Huntington’s rigorous and revelatory teaching inspired many of her students to make careers as poets. She served three times as vice-chair of the English department and was instrumental in building Dartmouth’s creative writing program and seeking ways in which creative writing and literary studies faculty and students could learn from one another.
Huntington’s books include a memoir, The Salt House: A Summer on the Dunes of Cape Cod, and collections of poetry, including Heavenly Bodies, Terra Nova, The Fish-Wife, We Have Gone to the Beach, and Fire Muse: Poems from the Salt House. Her poetry has appeared in such prestigious journals as Ploughshares, Triquarterly, Agni, and the Virginia Quarterly Review.
Huntington’s work is ”poetry of wit, surprise, observation, and exemplary intelligence,“ the late U.S. Poet Laureate Donald Hall once said. ”Reading her sentences, the leap from word to word provides a distance like turning the page: What will she think of next?“
Among the numerous prizes and honors she has received are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, and the Provincetown Arts Center, and the Levis Prize for her poetry collection The Radiant. In 2006, she served as chair of the poetry jury for the Pulitzer Prize.
Professor of Russian and of Comparative Literature
An inspiring, dedicated teacher, Kopper is known for leading discussions in which everyone is encouraged to share ideas freely. His students describe his courses as formative to their Dartmouth experience and to their appreciation of literature, art, and the world itself. The leading scholar on the Russian émigré Boris Poplavsky, Kopper’s scholarly interests include 19th- and 20th-century European and Russian authors and the Symbolist and Modernist movements.
Kopper chaired the Russian department for eight years and advised numerous students on their thesis work.
Several of these students completed doctoral programs in Slavic Studies and have become notable scholars. He chaired the Comparative Literature Program for five years and was instrumental in creating the graduate program in comparative literature. He also served as a supportive mentor to younger colleagues. For Dartmouth’s 250th celebrations, he and Associate Professor of Anthropology Sienna Craig organized a conference detailing the history of women professors at the College.
Recently, Kopper says, he experienced something he’d heard colleagues describe as a ”generational moment“: Teaching the daughter of a student he’d taught in the early 1990s was ”both thrilling and touching.“
Looking back, he considers himself lucky to have been at the College, where seeing new students’ faces every fall ”is like reading a newspaper with the ink not yet dry,“ Kopper says. ”Their quick brilliance at the 11th hour … offers a bracing, invigorating lesson in the contemporary world.“
Professor of Film and Media Studies and of Comparative Literature
Lawrence joined Dartmouth in 1988, before film and media studies had become a stand-alone department. She was the first-tenure track hire of the department, which she chaired three times. A gifted and generous mentor and teacher, she brought to the classroom her expertise, which spans the role of women in film, powerful Hollywood figures, and the vital place of sound in filmmaking. Lawrence has published three monographs and recently finished a manuscript called Ghost Channels. She also is the creator of the short animated films Amherst, My Life in Houses, and, completed this spring, Ode to Akhnaten. Now on YouTube, Ode is based on Philip Glass’s opera Akhnaten, as staged by the Metropolitan Opera.
During her tenure, Lawrence expanded the film and media studies curriculum to include the study of television and taught some of the department’s most popular courses, such as ”Bond and Beyond: Espionage in British Films“ and ”TV in the 1960s.“ She also made major contributions to the curricula of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Comparative Literature programs.
In recognition of her outstanding scholarship and teaching, Lawrence was appointed to the Mary Brinsmead Wheelock Professorship in the Humanities, and later, was named the Parents Distinguished Research Professor in the Humanities.
George J. Records 1956 Professor of Economics
Marion was the first woman appointed to a tenure-track position in Dartmouth’s economics department, and, later, the first woman to earn tenure in the department. She was department chair in the late 1990s and served on the Committee Advisory to the President and as associate dean of faculty for the Social Sciences.
Marion has collaborated with some of the world’s most prominent financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. As Dartmouth’s most visible and respected international economist from the late 1970s to the late 1980s, she helped recruit a group of economists studying international issues to the faculty. The College’s international economics group is today one of the world’s largest and most distinguished.
Over the years, she taught international finance and open-economy macroeconomics and advanced seminars on international economic issues. A patient mentor and beloved teacher, she is known for her clear lectures, use of real-world examples, and data-driven research assignments.
She enjoyed sharing her research with students—including her work on countries’ exchange-rate regime choices and on currency, banking, and sovereign debt crises—and in turn, their questions helped shape her research, says Marion, who is ”filled with gratitude for the opportunity to have worked with such smart, motivated undergraduates.“
She and her husband look forward to retirement, living close to the campus they love and remaining active in the community, she says. ”Travel and spending time with our children and grandchildren are also high on our list.“
Hua-yuan Li Mowry
Associate Professor of Asian Societies Cultures and Languages
A gifted and dedicated instructor, Mowry consistently worked to improve her students’ experiences. Her teaching was informed by her research on topics as diverse as the perception of women in the Chinese writing system, literary studies spanning several hundred years, and collaborative work on film and animation. She frequently created and revised instructional materials and methods, contributing greatly to the mission of the program and the College.
Mowry played a central role in building Dartmouth’s thriving program in Chinese language, literature, and cultural studies. She was chair of the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures, mentored junior colleagues, and worked to increase the size of the Asian Studies faculty. She also was instrumental in creating the College’s foreign language study at Beijing Normal University.
The most significant and rewarding part of her 45-year career has been the time shared with her students, both in and outside of the classroom, says Mowry, who directed the Beijing Foreign Study Program and spent a total of six years in China with students.
Because teaching and scholarship are inseparably linked, she always tried to involve motivated students in her research, especially projects with digital components, she says. ”I’m fortunate to have enjoyed many wonderful hours working on projects with my students, as Dartmouth is one of the more progressive, proactive educational institutes that encourages faculty and student collaboration.“
It’s a practice Mowry intends to continue in retirement by finishing multimedia, interactive projects she started several years ago.
Aimee Minbiole can be reached at email@example.com.