Eight Professors Retire With 253 Collective Years on Faculty

Eight professors with a collective 253 years on the Davidson College faculty are retiring this academic year.

Their faculty colleagues celebrated the eight with citations read aloud at a May 5 faculty meeting. The tributes noted the important contributions each of the retirees have made to the Davidson community, and the unique personal attributes they brought to their departments.

Robin Barnes (1980), Professor of History

Excerpt: Among history majors he is best known for his seminars on topics such as "everyday life in early modern Europe," which are often structured around a simple premise: that there are lots of new and important books and articles which Robin has not yet read, and which he assigns to and explores with students, sharing with them the joy of intellectual discovery and of rigorous, critical engagement with the past.


Peter N. Hess (1980), Gail M. and Ernest G. Doe Professor of Economics

Excerpt: Honored by students with the ODK Teaching Award and by the college with the Hunter-Hamilton Love of Teaching Award and the Thomas Jefferson Award, as mentor to scores of students, as author of five textbooks, numerous articles in refereed journals on both economics and pedagogy, and op-eds in newspapers, through his public lectures and conference presentations, through his dedicated service on virtually all important faculty committees and numerous college task-forces, Peter has shown us... both the ideal and the substance of who a teacher-scholar should be.


Homer B. Sutton (1980), Professor of French

Excerpt: At the same time as he was developing a reputation among students as an enthusiastic, patient, and challenging classroom instructor, Homer was finding his voice as a committed advocate for international education. After a fruitful two-year stint as resident director of the Davidson program in Montpellier, Homer was tapped to serve as the college's coordinator of study abroad, a position he held from 1983 to 1994, a period that saw unprecedented growth in the number of Davidson students who were coming to understand the value of an extended abroad experience as a key element of a liberal arts education.


Mark McCulloh (1982), Professor of German

Excerpt: Mark McCulloh has served Davidson College and guild of Germanistik with calm conviction since 1982. His scholarly, intellectual, and even administrative work on the page was marked by clarity and grace, and, for those privileged to see certain notes and missives, as well as his pen and ink caricatures, also by incisive wit.


Wolfgang Christian (1983), Herman Brown Professor of Physics

Excerpt: Wolfgang's interest in all things mechanical led to him attaining his pilot's license in high school, and then to pursuing physics degrees at North Carolina State University. His graduate studies were interrupted by the draft, and after about one year of service in the Signal Corps, he resumed graduate school. Also spicing up Wolfgang's graduate school years was his motorcycle and automobile racing.


Pam Hay (1985), Associate Professor of Biology

Excerpt: In Davidson classrooms, Pam shared her love of plants and complex biochemical systems by teaching courses in botany, nutrition, and biochemistry courses at all levels of the curriculum from non-majors to advanced labs. Biology faculty members describe Pam as a generous team player who reliably stepped in and stepped up to help. She is a welcoming, inclusive, and supportive colleague who assisted her department in making important, though sometimes challenging, improvements.

Sally McMillen (1988), Mary Reynolds Babcock Professor of History

Excerpt: Sally entered graduate school when the relatively new field of women's history was taking off. She joined the movement, for it was just that–an intellectual expression of a socio-political commitment–and quickly became one of its foremost practitioners. Sally's first publication in 1985 was an article on breast-feeding patterns among elite women in the antebellum South. I can promise you that long-time subscribers to the eminent Journal of Southern History had no idea what had just hit them!


Mary S. Vásquez (1996), Joel O. Conarroe Professor of Spanish

Excerpt: Mary has always said that, after her family, her passion is teaching and her students. The alumni with whom I corresponded for the purpose of this tribute recognized Mary's passion and expressed their gratitude very poignantly. They recognized her love of teaching, her infectious passion, her inspiration for pursuing careers in teaching and graduate studies, and the impact both she and the literary texts have had on their lives.


Congratulations! The college community is grateful for your dedication and service.