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Carole Cavanaugh, the Kawashima Professor of Japanese Studies, at a May 13 reception celebrating retiring faculty.

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College Celebrates the Careers of Retiring Faculty

May 15, 2019

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Middlebury honored the careers of 16 faculty members who have announced they will retire at the end of the current academic year. Collectively representing more than 500 years of teaching experience at Middlebury, the teachers and scholars joined with their colleagues and staff members for a reception at the Mahaney Arts Center on May 13.

“When I look at this extraordinary group of retiring colleagues, I see the many faces of this vocation,” said Andi Lloyd, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “I see dedicated teachers—teachers who have collectively logged many thousands of hours in the classroom. I am not exaggerating when I say that generations of students have benefited from their passion, dedication, and expertise.”

Numerous faculty members took turns paying tribute to their retiring colleagues during the reception.

Lloyd offered some parting thoughts as the event drew to a close.

“Colleagues, please know how grateful we are for all that you have given to Middlebury College over the course of your remarkable careers,” she said. “You will be missed, but we send you off to your next adventure with good wishes and sincere appreciation for all that you have done for your students, your colleagues, your disciplines, and the College over the years.”

Middlebury faculty gathered for a group retirement celebration with President Laurie Patton on May 13. From left: John Bertolini, Mary Ellen Bertolini, Stephen Donadio, Richard Romagnoli, Rich Wolfson, Larry Yarbrough, Claudia Cooper, Stephen Trombulak, Carole Cavanaugh, Peter Hamlin, Laurie Patton.

    About this year's faculty retirees:

    David Bain, senior lecturer in English and American literatures, began working at Middlebury in 1987.

    John Bertolini, the Ellis Professor of English and Liberal Arts, began at Middlebury in 1975.

    Mary Ellen Bertolini, senior lecturer, tutor in writing, and director of the Writing Center, joined Middlebury in 1993.

    Carole Cavanaugh, the Kawashima Professor of Japanese Studies, began teaching at Middlebury in 1990.

    Claudia Cooper, assistant professor of education and English and American literatures, began teaching at Middlebury in 2003.

    Stephen Donadio, the Fulton Professor of Humanities and former editor of the New England Review, came to Middlebury in 1977.

    Peter Hamlin ’73, the Christian A. Johnson Professor of Music, joined Middlebury in 2004.

    Barbara Hofer, professor of psychology, joined Middlebury in 1998.

    Kirsten Hoving, professor of history of art and architecture, joined Middlebury in 1983.

    Kathryn Kramer, assistant professor of English and American literatures, joined Middlebury in 1997.

    Richard Romagnoli, professor of theatre, joined Middlebury in 1986.

    Tom Root, professor of biology, joined Middlebury in 1979.

    Steve Trombulak, professor of biology and environmental studies, joined Middlebury in 1985.

    Kit Wilson, the Julian W. Abernethy Professor of Humanities, joined Middlebury in 1979.

    Richard Wolfson, the Benjamin F. Wissler Professor of Physics, joined Middlebury in 1976.

    Larry Yarbrough, the Pardon Tillinghast Professor of Religion, joined Middlebury in 1983.

    29 Comments

    Steve Trombulak and especially, Richard Wolfson, congratulations on your retirement! Both of you had a huge impact on me and, I'm sure, on the College!

    by John Beeson (not verified)

    Congratulations on this distinguished group, and many thanks for your commitment to teaching. Rich Wolfson, your Physics 101 lectures in 1976 or '77 were pure genius--thank you. And Stephen Donadio, your Bread Loaf courses remain, for me, the most memorable of all courses; the content, the books, and your guided discussions in the The Barn at BL were more influential than I can explain. Thank you!

    by Richard Tarlov (not verified)

    Steve Trombulak, congratulations on your retirement! Ditto to what John Beeson said- you had a huge influence on me too! Your Natural History of Vermont course was one of my favorite courses at Middlebury. I still know and use many of the bird calls that I learned in that class! Best of luck to you and hope you greatly enjoy your retirement which is very well-deserved. But I’m sure you will truly be missed at Midd!

    by Wendy Goyert cl... (not verified)

    I salute Larry Yarborough on his retirement. It has been a joy to collaborate with him.

    by Eliot Levinson (not verified)

    Rich Wolfson's Physics 101 class was so popular between 1979-1982 that Professor Wolfson was somewhat of a local cultural phenomenon, but unfortunately, I could never seem to get in. Then, I considered auditing the class, but that didn't come to pass. It looks like I've missed my chance! All the best in your retirement, Professor Wolfson!

    by Lydia Hill (not verified)

    I took two wonderful classes with Professor Bertolini. He was having back trouble, and taught both of them lying on his desk, but they were still among the best classes I have ever taken. I learned so much. Thank you!

    by Kate Cote Gillin (not verified)

    Congratulations, Larry Yarbrough! I loved your classes and remember them and you very fondly. I even ended up getting my MTS thanks in a very large part to you. Thank you for imparting your enthusiasm for religious studies and for everything you taught us.

    by Steph Galbreath... (not verified)

    Kit Wilson, the insights you shared in class, whether impromptu or not, truly gave me a new and preferable view of the world. I cherish the lessons you shared related to how man is now "on the clock", and believe I'm able to be a better person because of them. Peter Hamlin, you showed me that we can truly spend our lives learning and being curious, fun, and excited (I take it that VR was not a thing during your undergrad days). You were the inspiration for a commencement speech I wrote and auditioned that would have urged my fellow classmates
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    to continue learning for the long haul, had it been selected by the committee. Thanks a lot, gentlemen! Please enjoy what comes next. - Henry '18
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    by Henry Swaffield (not verified)

    Congratulations to all the professors and may your next adventure create wonderful memories. Thank you to John Bertolini for improving my writing skills. Almost 30 years later, I still pause periodically when writing or editing and question if I've over used the verb "to be" or question how else I can write the same sentence. You'll never be forgotten.

    by Karen Kehoe Swank (not verified)

    I finished my MA at Breadloaf in 1989, but even all these years later, I credit Stephen Donadio for my professional success as a literature teacher in The American School of This Hague. His classes were transformative, and to this day, I have harbored a secret hope of making it back to the mountain one summer to audit a few of his classes just for the sheer joy of watching him open up a book again, so I am sad that he is retiring; but I can well imagine that he has read enough student essays in his
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    lifetime to get credit hereafter for the work of two great teachers instead of one. Thank you again Mr. Donadio for your humor, your insight, and all your wonderful classes.
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    by Irene V. Nicastro (not verified)

    I echo your remarks about Stephen Donadio. More influential than can be explained. I just keep saying, "He taught me to read."

    by Irene V. Nicastro (not verified)

    Congratulations Prof. Wolfson on your retirement! 43 years at Middlebury. Absolutely incredible! I got an A from your PH 101 class in the spring of 2002 and it was one of (if not) the best classes I have ever taken. Wishing you the very best in the next chapter of your life!

    by Yohanne Kidolez... (not verified)

    Congratulations to Kit Wilson! I have great memories of your American Art History classes and of my days working with your lovely wife, Claire in the Student Activities office. I wish you all the very best!

    by Elaine King NIc... (not verified)

    I feel incredibly lucky to have spent time in the classroom with four of those incredible educators. As a teacher now myself, both Kit Wilson and Barbara Hofer remain at the heart of my daily pedagogy and practice. Congratulations to each of you.

    by Will McDonough (not verified)

    Professor Trombulak, THANK YOU! I still remember many of your lectures from the introductory ES course. Your lectures were captivating & I feel so lucky I got to be one of your students!

    by Andrea Hamre (not verified)

    Kit Wilson, you carefully guided me through my thesis. I was quick to do many stupid things and you recognized my enthusiasm and understood how to correct me without discouraging me. The Art History department no longer includes Kit Wilson, John Hunisak, nor Glenn Andres. I'm sure there are fantastic new professors, but I can't imagine they'll ever be three any better than the three of you.

    by Matthew Slaughter (not verified)

    This list includes the two professors that have made the biggest impact on my life. My advisor for my neuroscience major, Tom Root, was a constant support, even after I graduated Middlebury. While the past Health Professors Advisor wanted nothing to do with me, Tom never gave up on my dreams to attend medical school. He believed in me at times when it felt like Middlebury had turned its back on me. I'm now in my third year of medical school and I know that I wouldn't be here without his guidance and support. For him I'll be forever thankful.
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    My favorite course I ever took at Middlebury was the Art and Life of Winslow Homer with Kit Wilson. He expanded my mind to so many things, both related to the art of Homer and beyond. Every new city I visit, my first stop is the art museum. I am slowly checking off all of the museums across the country that showcase pieces from Homer. I'm a more cultural and worldly citizen because of what Kit taught me. Middlebury College and its students are incredibly fortunate to have had these two spectacular instructors. Many congratulations on their retirement!
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    by Matt Postler (not verified)

    Congratulations to Professor Wolfson. My basic understanding of how the Universe works I credit to your Physics 101 class, but it t was your contagious excitement about teaching that opened doors for your students. That particular class (Fall of ‘78??) was a gem I will always treasure. THANKS!

    by Nell Stifel (not verified)

    Congratulations, Rich Wolfson! You were a big part of my life at Middlebury (Physics, '85)! The whole department was wondrous during my years at Midd, and you were outstanding with your energy, enthusiasm and devotion to both physics and students. After hanging up my skis, I earned my PhD in Physics from Colorado School of Mines (2013) and credit a good part of my ever-present affinity for physics to your inspiration. I wish you a beautiful retirement!

    by Dr. Torey Battelle (not verified)

    Congratulations Professors Bertolini and Donadio. You were tremendous inspirations to me. I use the things I learned in your classes to this day. Enjoy this next phase of your life. Middlebury is a far wealthier place for your contributions.

    by Isabelle Bleecker (not verified)

    Congratulations to Professor Yarbrough! He was one of my absolute favorite professors and his Intro to Bib Lit which I took as a freshman remains one of the best classes I ever took. I treasure and regularly go back to the Bible I marked up with notes about translation, plot twists, changes in author's voice, and so much more. That class and Professor Yarbrough were truly a light in my Middlebury experience. Thank you Professor Yarbrough.

    by Jess Cox (not verified)

    Dr. Wolfson, all the best on your new explorations in the world of science, travel, and whatever other new pursuits you may have planned. Thank you for all your help during my time at Midd and afterwards (serving as a reviewer on my NSF grant). Had some good times in the CBF room, tea time was always something to look forward to, and everyone (Steve, Jeff, and you) have always been inspirations in my academic career.

    by Fazeel Khan (not verified)

    Kit Wilson’s American Art History classes changed my life. Entire classes dedicated to the Art of Winslow Homer and The Art of of the Civil War. How lucky we were to view history through his thoughtful lens. I wish him all the best in his retirement. He is a treasure! Kaycee Cherashore ‘95

    by Kaycee Cherashore (not verified)

    How proud I am to have been one of John Bertolini's first "cohort" of advisees--not to mention his first child's babysitter! Mr. Bertolini inspired, entertained, enlightened, educated, all the while providing excellent guidance through the Middlebury English major journey. He greatly influenced my decision to become an English teacher, and to this day I treasure the class lecture and discussion notes scribbled in the corners of the pages of my Shavian collection. Congratulations on an illustrious career, Mr. B. Much love, Nancy Limbacher Meyer, '79

    by Nancy Limbacher... (not verified)

    Stephen Donadio was one of the best teachers I ever encountered (Bread Loaf class of 1989). - Bill Sowder

    by Wilbur H. Sowde... (not verified)

    I'd like to second both of these congratulations! I was lucky enough to enjoy these two professors (along with classmate Matt) and I loved their classes. A true embodiment of what Middlebury means to me.

    by Kaity Conroy (not verified)

    Boy, you really understand how ancient you are when you read the list and bios of the retiring faculty and realize that you do not know any of them and that all these retiring faculty arrived well after you graduated. May you all enjoy a fullfilling and active retirement. Bill Dalsimer '62

    by William Dalsimer (not verified)

    Wow, this reads like a who's-who list of all of my favorite faculty members - ESPECIALLY Rich Wolfson & Richard Romagnoli. Both of you had a habit of encouraging strong, smart women in your respective fields and in your classrooms long before it became social-media trendy to do so. Professor Wolfson, thank you so much for all the beautiful physics. And the homemade ice cream. And the electrode-baked gingerbread.

    by Andrea Lathrop (not verified)

    Professor Donadio-what a privilege to take your classes. The Fifties class; the Sixties Class, where you played an audio tape of JFK's inaugural speech followed by Jimi Hendrix version of the Star Spangled Banner from Woodstock, and then told us we would learn how the country went from one to the other; and of course the famed J term class-the Films of Chantal Akerman. Those classes fill me with joy and gratitude to this day. How fortunate we were to learn from Professor Donadio.

    by John Dyer (not verified)

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