Clarence E. Butler, dean of Hobart College since July 1998, has announced that he will retire at the end of the academic year, after 27 years at these coordinate Colleges.
In a letter distributed Monday on campus, he told how he joined the faculty “in Fall 1979 with my family—a wife, now deceased, and two small daughters, now adult professionals and with their own families—as assistant dean and assistant professor of German. In the ensuing years at Hobart and William Smith, I have seen active duty on many fronts, from acting dean to interim chaplain to senior associate dean and associate professor to dean.
“Generations of Hobart students have benefited from Dean Butler’s careful focus on their academic success,” said HWS President Mark D. Gearan.
“He has led many important efforts on campus with his positive approach. I am grateful for his counsel to me and will miss him as a colleague.”
Butler’s deanship has been marked by his effort to restore and maintain as many of Hobart’s venerable traditions as possible; to strive to elevate the academic reputation of the College; and always to respect the dignity of every human being – “every student, every administrative and faculty colleague, every member of staff, every alumnus and every alumna, whose path crossed my own,” he said.
He joined the HWS staff after serving on the faculties at Brown University and Dartmouth College. He first served as assistant dean, served as acting dean of the College in 1982-83, and was named senior associate dean in 1983.
He has served on many committees, including the Committee on Standards, the Individual Major Committee, and the President's Advisory Council. Aside from his administrative duties, Butler has taught German part-time and, as an Episcopal priest, served the local community in that capacity as well. He has been a member of the boards of directors of the Geneva United Way, Geneva Concerts, and Family Counseling of the Finger Lakes; and an interim rector at several local Episcopal churches.
He has presented papers at numerous modern languages colloquia and at other professional organizations’ meetings.
Butler received his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, a master’s from the University of Kansas, and a bachelor of divinity from the Episcopal Theological School. He also received a language diploma from the University of Stockholm in Sweden. He is a former Fulbright Scholar as well as a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Scholar.
He is the father of two adult daughters, Britta and Kirstin. His wife, Gwen, an editor in the HWS publications office, died in May 1995.
Read the Finger Lakes Times' story about the announcement, Hobart dean retiring after 27 years.