Geneva, NY – Each spring Hobart and William Smith Colleges bids a fond farewell to members of the faculty who retire. This year, four faculty members, with a combined tenure of 108 years, will leave the Colleges to pursue their retirement dreams. Peter Beckman, Joel Kerlan, Lidia Pacira, and Donald Woodrow have each announced their retirement will begin at the end of the school year.
Beckman, of Geneva, has been with the Colleges for 29 years. He taught in the political science department, with a special interest in international relations and foreign policy. Courses that he taught included Intelligence and Foreign Policy, War in the International System, and World Politics. Beckman has been a Foreign Policy Fellow at the Brookings Institution and an International Exchange Fellow with the U.S. Department of Defense. In addition, he collaborated with several Hobart and William Smith colleagues to write a series of books on The Nuclear Predicament, and has written about women in world politics as well. In 1980 and again in 1999 he was honored with the Hobart and William Smith Faculty Prize in Community Service. Beckman earned his B.A. at Syracuse University, an M.A. in international relations at the University of Chicago and another in political science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he went on to earn the Ph.D.
Kerlan joined the faculty as a biology professor in 1971 having earned the B.S., magna cum laude, from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, the M.S., with distinction, from the University of Utah and the Ph. D. from the University of Michigan. He has been a visiting scientist at the University of Michigan, University of Utah and Cornell University. His research interest is avian reproductive biology. Kerlan has co-authored several grants, including a Merck/American Association for the Advancement of Science undergraduate science grant to encourage interdisciplinary research in biology and chemistry and a National Science Foundation grant to purchase equipment for a pilot program in collaborative teaching of physiology and anatomy. He has supervised more than 50 student research projects. His interest in teaching includes science education. He has been a consultant for student teachers of science in grades 7-12, a co-convener of the High School Biology Teachers Workshop at the Colleges and has attended numerous off-campus workshops. He is a resident of Geneva.
Pacira, a native of Poland who now resides in Geneva, is a Professor of Russian in the modern languages department. She has taught Russian language, literature, and Russian culture courses at the Colleges since 1986. Educated in Russia, Poland, and the U.S., she received her B.A. at Krakow Teacher's Institute, summa cum laude, her M.A. in Slavic linguistics at Jagellonian University in Krakow summa cum laude, and her Ph.D. in Russian literature of the 20th century at Michigan State University with honors. Prior to her time at the Colleges she taught Russian and Polish at a number of universities, including Michigan State University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Middlebury College, and Smith College. Pacira is credited with being a master teacher in a very demanding field, and has been widely published in the methodology of teaching foreign languages. She was a Scholar-Fellow Exchange at the Herzen Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg, Russia, and her book, Foreign Teachers of Russian, was published in 1996. Since 1991 she was organizer and chair of a panel at the national conference of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, and she was the director of the HWS program abroad in St. Petersburg in 1996. She is also an expert in Russian and Soviet literature and is a respected literary and social critic in her field.
Woodrow, also a resident of Geneva, is a professor of geology and is retiring after 35 years in the geoscience department. He came to the Colleges in 1965 after a brief tenure at the University of Rochester, where he received his M.S. and Ph.D. He returned there from 1980-1982 as a post-doctoral fellow and has served as a visiting professor and adjunct faculty member at SUNY Binghamton. Woodrow has been very active in scientific research in Seneca Lake, with the Colleges' research vessel, the Explorer as a primary tool, and has published research done in other areas as well. 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 a co-designer of the “Science on Seneca” program, a program that provides opportunities for hands-on research to high school students and teachers from upstate New York. Woodrow also 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 has also been active in the community through involvement with the Geneva Planning Board, the City and County Democratic Committees, Seneca Lake Waterways, the Geneva Historical Society, and more.
“It's exciting each spring to hire new and enthusiastic faculty members for the coming fall,” said President Mark Gearan. “But it is abundantly sad to watch great teachers, teachers who bring years of experience and talent to our students, leave our classrooms. They have earned their retirements, however, and we wish these four fine teachers and scholars the very best in the future.”
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