Leaving a legacy of dedicated teaching and mentoring, 13 faculty members have retired from Dartmouth this year.
They are: Robert Cantor, professor of chemistry; Pamela Crossley, the Charles and Elfriede Collis Professor of History; Alexandra Halasz, associate professor of English; Leslie Henderson, professor of physiology and neurobiology and professor of biochemistry and cell biology; Deborah King, associate professor of sociology; Thomas Luxon, professor of English emeritus; Robert Maue, professor of medical education and of biochemistry and cell biology; Colleen Randall, professor of studio art; Ellis Shookman, professor of German studies; Walter Simons, professor of history; Dorothy Wallace, professor of mathematics; John Watanabe, associate professor of anthropology; and Martin Wybourne, the Francis and Mildred Sears Professor of Physics.
“Each of these talented faculty members has brought vitality and dedication to the Dartmouth community, both inside and outside their classrooms and laboratories, guiding and inspiring students in wide-ranging fields,” says Provost David Kotz ’86. “We celebrate their diverse accomplishments and wish them well for years to come, as they continue to pursue rich and varied interests.”
Four of the retirees offered reflections on their faculty service.
Professor of Studio Art
Teaching and working in the Department of Studio Art over the past 34 years, I have been able to give Dartmouth students the opportunity to be transformed through encounters with the visual arts. It has been important to me that my colleagues and I have been able to create a safe space for students to rigorously explore their artistic vision. I have worked closely with so many students who have then dedicated themselves to lives of making art. I especially enjoyed opening my studio and sharing my artistic practice with them. It is gratifying that so many have gone onto artistic success, exhibiting their work in galleries and museums and other public spaces, and teaching art in high schools, colleges, and universities.
As department chair for seven years, I played a significant role in the planning and construction phases of the Black Family Visual Arts Center. I also helped to create tenure lines for new areas, including architecture, photography, and print media, as well as encouraging a dialogue between students and teachers in studio art and the other arts, humanities, and sciences.
During my time here, I have also been able to pursue my own artistic career. I continue to work in my newly built space next to my home in West Lebanon, N.H.
Professor of German Studies
I was lucky to be able to earn my academic degrees at Yale. I have also been lucky to have an academic career at Dartmouth, where I have often told students that they, too, will be lucky if they find their professional lives as gratifying as I find mine. Patience is not one of my cardinal virtues, but I have very rarely grown impatient with students in class, or during office hours, or on off-campus programs.
On the contrary, teaching German (a truly fascinating language) and literature written in it has almost always been a labor of love, a pleasant task, and a job that neither seems nor feels like work. I can now devote myself entirely to scholarly research and writing.
Professor of History
My move to Dartmouth in 1992 involved many changes. Since I had only recently emigrated to the United States, the academic environment was still foreign to me, and the New England winters proved to be quite a surprise, too. Thirty years later, I count myself lucky to have found such wonderful colleagues welcoming me to a new home. And then there were the students: bright, energetic, ever curious. I will miss them.
I continue to work as a historian of people and religion in medieval Europe. I just finished a series of four essays on a little-known group of women and men in the Low Countries and the Rhineland who suffered persecution for their beliefs during the 14th century. They survived, thanks to their perseverance and the help of courageous townspeople.
Soon I hope to complete a book on a 13th woman with stigmata (“the wounds of Christ”) who was revered as well as reviled in her own time. Similar projects await as far as I can see into the future.
Francis and Mildred Sears Professor of Physics
I joined the Dartmouth faculty in 1997 as a professor of physics, following appointments in industry and at a major state university. The opportunity to bring my experience to Dartmouth undergraduates was very appealing. It has been a privilege to interact with students at all levels, and to help them engage in a subject that has fascinated me since my undergraduate days in the United Kingdom. I have especially enjoyed working with small groups of students during office hours, in specialized senior courses, and in writing classes.
During discussions, students would often ask questions that furthered my own understanding. In my opinion, this is higher education at its best. In 2001, I organized a major international physics conference at Dartmouth that brought over 170 delegates from 24 countries to Hanover. It was gratifying to have colleagues, students, and staff participate and help in many ways during the weeklong event.
I had the honor of working in Dartmouth’s administration for many years, first as the associate dean of the faculty for the sciences, and later as senior vice provost for research. I also served two years as interim provost during a transition between two presidential administrations. Through my administrative work, I learned about the wider Dartmouth, including the impressive accomplishments of faculty and students in the professional schools, the extensive alumni network, and Dartmouth’s overall impact on the world. It amazed me that wherever I gave a presentation, be it in Washington, Tokyo, or Helsinki, Dartmouth alums would always introduce themselves afterwards. Dartmouth’s reach is truly amazing.
Retirement will allow me more time to spend with my family as well as pursue my interests in music and sailing. I expect to continue work on research projects, particularly with long-standing colleagues in Japan. I hope I have future opportunities to teach occasionally, and plan to stay engaged with the institution that has brought so much to me.