On Friday, June 3, three retired Hobart and William Smith faculty members, each one a graduate of Hobart or William Smith, will be recognized with the Distinguished Faculty Award for their outstanding contributions as teachers, mentors and scholars. Held in conjunction with Reunion 2016, the Distinguished Faculty Award presentation will be held during the Welcome Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. in the Vandervort Room. Alums can submit reflections here.
Roger Farrand ’49, P’78, associate professor emeritus of English, taught at the Colleges from 1958 until his retirement in 1987. After he graduated from high school, Farrand enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943 and served in Europe during World War II. Having enrolled at the Colleges on the G.I. Bill, Farrand was involved with the Herald and Little Theatre. He graduated with a B.A. in English in 1949 and later attended Columbia University. He returned to Geneva in 1958 after marrying his wife, the late Asta Farrand ’76, with whom he has two children, Matthew C. Farrand ’78 and Johanna Farrand. An active participant in local theater as well as on campus, Farrand taught courses in Rhetoric and Composition, Literary Consciousness, Oral Interpretation of Literature, cinema and theatre and directed productions of Greek classics, Shakespeare and contemporary musicals. In his retirement, Farrand remained a deeply engaged educator, serving as coordinator for the Finger Lakes region of Elderhostel, a network of more than 1,200 organizations offering low-cost, short-term residential academic programs for adults age 60 or older.
In nominating Farrand for the Distinguished Faculty Award, former students recalled his passion as an educator who “taught generations of us how to communicate effectively with the written and spoken word as well as in the theatre,” an inspiring presence in the classroom who “made the love of learning the purpose of a college education.”
Lois F. Nellis ’46, professor emerita of biology, is a widely published expert on bacteria and microbiology who has earned a number of grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health and other prominent research organizations. A biology and chemistry major, Nellis graduated from William Smith, cum laude with Honors, as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Epsilon Pi Sigma and Phi Sigma Iota in science and modern languages. She was involved with William Smith Congress and Schola Cantorum. She went on to earn her M.A. from Smith College in bacteriology and public health, and her Ph.D. from Purdue University in microbiology. A member of the American Society of Microbiologists, Nellis taught at the Colleges from 1948 to 1995. Deeply involved in faculty committees, local organizations and professional organizations, Nellis was recognized by William Smith in 1963 for excellence in her fields and for her loyalty and service to her alma mater.
A devoted scientist who also put “her life and energy into teaching” and was “outstanding in the lab,” Nellis was nominated by former students who fondly acknowledged her “ability to break complex ideas into simple blocks for learning” and her “enthusiasm in teaching style.”
Ann B. Oaks ’74, P’84, P’85, P’89, associate professor emerita of mathematics, graduated magna cum laude from William Smith and returned to join the HWS faculty in 1979 where she taught for 23 years. Her scholarship, which focused on the effects of cognitive and affective factors on learning mathematics and additional work on the influence of gender in mathematical achievement, is nationally known. Oaks earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. In 1994, she received a special citation from the William Smith Alumnae Association and the Hobart Alumni Association recognizing her as an exemplary member of the HWS community who achieved her goals first as a nontraditional student and later as a faculty member. She also won the Faculty Prize for Teaching in 2002. Following her retirement, Oaks returned to HWS to teach a number theory course and served as interim director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. She has three children, all HWS graduates, Jeffrey A. Oaks ’84, Kimberly O. Holmes ’85 and Kathleen Menn-Oaks ’89.
Testimonials from the Distinguished Faculty Award survey highlighted Oaks’ emphasis on the ways in which she demonstrated that “math is beautiful” and served as “a wonderful role model for what a William Smith women and educated women should be. She also demonstrated how a woman could have a balanced professional and personal life.”
The Distinguished Faculty Award was established in 1990 by the Hobart Alumni Association and the William Smith Alumnae Association. Nominations for the award are sought by all alumni and alumnae and are professors who are retired or have moved on from Hobart and William Smith for more than five years or are deceased.
“Selected with great care and consideration, these faculty members will be remembered for their teaching as well as their scholarly achievements. All have left distinct marks on HWS, and their legacies still influence those who had the good fortune to study with them,” says Director of Alumnae Relations Kathy Killius Regan ’82, P’13.