Distinguished Faculty to be Honored – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Distinguished Faculty to be Honored

Gather with classmates, faculty and staff to celebrate the revered HWS faculty during the Reunion 2010 weekend.

On Saturday, June 5, the Alumni and Alumnae Associations Distinguished Faculty Award (DFA) awards will be presented to Professor Emeritus of Geoscience Donald L. Woodrow P’83 and, posthumously, to the late Professor of Physical Education Joseph N. Abraham L.H.D. ’81 at 5:30 p.m. on the Scandling Campus Center Cafe patio.

The late Professor Joseph N. Abraham L.H.D. ’81 came to the Colleges in 1945 as an instructor in physical education.  He became director of the physical education department in 1955 and became a full professor in 1968.  Abraham moved into the athletic director position in 1979, and his tenure was marked by great growth in the successful intercollegiate athletic program, including back-to-back NCAA Division III lacrosse championships in 1980 and 1981. Among his many honors, he was presented with an Alumni Association Citation in 1968 and was awarded the Statesmen Athletic Association Annual Award for outstanding contributions to Hobart Athletics.

“My personal affection for Joe goes deeply into my memories of Hobart and William Smith Colleges,” says Honorary Trustee Roy Dexheimer ’55, P’86, LL.D. ’80.  “Put simply, he was my friend.  Joe always treated me with incredible respect, when I was not much more than a student manager for the basketball team, or an inept center on the freshman football team, or keeping score for Spike Garnish’s baseball teams.”

Edward Froelich ’55, who as a student was manager of football and lacrosse teams, recalls Abraham during his years at HWS: “Joe was a great ‘details’ guy.  If something had to be done, he’d get it done.  And you couldn’t have asked for a nicer guy.  He was just loved by everybody.  I can’t be more pleased that he will be adequately and fully recognized for what he did for the Colleges.”

“The scholars of our faculty taught me how to write clearly, how to read thoughtfully, how to think about history and the human condition, how to appreciate what is best about music and art and theatre,” Dexheimer says.  “I am grateful to them all, many of whom are already a part of our cadre of Distinguished Faculty Awardees.  But it was Little Joe-Professor Joe, teacher Joe-who taught me, by his example, what it meant to be kind and decent and gentle in dealings with other people.  He gave me the framework within which to apply the lessons of the classroom into a life of service.  His was the model of friendship and cooperation and civic responsibility that inspired me for the next half century.  And he did so, unassumingly, not just for me, but for hundreds and hundreds of other Hobart men and William Smith women over his career with our Colleges.  He honored us; now it is time for us to honor him.”

In addition to his work for HWS, he was a three time USA  Olympic Trainer. Abraham was also inducted into the Helms Hall of Fame in 1970 and the recipient of the Thomas J Sheehan New York State Athletic  Trainer’s  Association award  in 1977. Abraham died on Dec. 26, 1981. His honorary degree was bestowed upon him on Dec. 24 by then President Allan A. Kuusisto P’78.

Professor Emeritus of Geoscience Donald L. Woodrow P’83 came to Hobart and William Smith as an assistant professor of geology and rose to full professor in 1975. His research includes major emphases on Devonian sedimentology and stratigraphy in North America and Europe and on Great Lakes sedimentology. He was co-founder of the Environmental Studies program, co-founder of the Department of Geoscience, and co-designer of the Science-on-Seneca program, which allows local high school students to explore the living environment of Seneca Lake through hands-on research. He served the Colleges as associate dean of faculty, from 1991-1994, and is a past recipient of the faculty’s scholarship and teaching prizes. He retired in 2001.

“Professor Donald Woodrow deserves the Distinguished Faculty Award because his impact on students has lasted far beyond graduation,” says Kristen Stram Pempel ’94, who was a member of the Distinguished Faculty Award committee while on the William Smith Alumnae Council.  “For some graduates, he inspired a lifelong love of the subject that manifested itself with careers in science or teaching; for others, he earned the distinction as one of their most beloved professors.”

“Professor Donald Woodrow came to the Colleges in 1965 to begin what would grow into a 35 year long career devoted to teaching, research and the advancement of the Colleges,” says Professor of Geoscience Brooks McKinney.  “His first geology courses were listed under the Biology Department because there was no geology or geoscience department at the Colleges.   Through his own success and energy, Professor Woodrow established what is now the College’s Geoscience Department, guiding its growth and development to a department with four faculty members at the time of his retirement in 2001.  Always a devoted teacher, he nonetheless remained an active researcher for his entire career, achieving international recognition as an expert on Devonian clastic sedimentation and championing the role of undergraduate research as an important part of science education.  He was also very active in the community, helping to establish the current faculty governance structure, serving as a campus leader, and for many years serving the City of Geneva as a member of its Plannning Board.  Don is clearly deserving, can’t imagine many who would be more.”

The Alumni Association of Hobart College and the Alumnae Association of William Smith College jointly award the Distinguished Faculty Award, which was established to emphasize the importance that graduates of these Colleges place on the contributions of outstanding faculty members of the past.

According to the Alum Councils, “It is our way of recognizing and honoring those who were our mentors, who molded us and nurtured us during our intellectual awakening, who taught us our limits and challenged our capabilities, and who inspired the best in us. More than anything else during our college years, outstanding teachers made the experience so valuable, and we recognize these professors as worthy of particular distinction and honor.”

To RSVP for DFA events, contact Betty Merkle in Alumni House at merkle@hws.edu.  To register for other Reunion events, click here.


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