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Currents: honoring our faculty

Colby-Sawyer College Awards Professorship, Endowed Faculty Chairs

Colby-Sawyer College honored three long-time faculty members, Pat Anderson, Randy Hanson and Leon-C. Malan, as the recipients of a new professorship and two endowed faculty chairs in an investiture ceremony on campus.

The ceremony, in which the professors officially took on their new roles, was held in Wheeler Hall on Oct. 18, and was attended by the college's Board of Trustees, family members of the benefactors for the named professorships, and many members of the college community.

The Gibney Distinguished Professorship

Humanities Professor Pat Anderson, who has taught at the college since 1977, was awarded the Gibney Distinguished Professorship, in which he will develop a public speaking initiative at Colby-Sawyer. The professorship was made possible through a gift from Albert L. Gibney, long-time friend and husband of alumna Eloise Beach Gibney '36, created to promote public speaking across the college.

“Professor Anderson is a beloved and respected teacher and campus leader known for his boundless passion for and extensive knowledge of American literature, Native American culture, and film,” said President Tom Galligan, who presented the award to Professor Anderson. “Pat is a fabulous and committed teacher…and an active role model in the life of this college, and it is therefore with great joy and honor that we name Pat Anderson as the Gibney Distinguished Chair.”

In his new role, Professor Anderson will steward the Gibney Public Speaking Initiative, which will include establishing an advisory group, setting goals and planning events and activities for the initiative, and writing for scholarly publications.

Professor Anderson has been honored with the Jack Jensen Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1998, and in 2004, he was selected as a George Washington Distinguished Professor/Scholar by the New Hampshire Society of the Cincinnati. He also founded and continues to host, along with students in the Communications Studies Program, a film-review program called “Reel Talk,” which is featured on WSCS-FM, the student-run radio station at Colby-Sawyer, and is also produced by faculty and students as a cable television show.

The David H. Winton Endowed Teaching Chair

Randy Hanson, professor in the History, Society and Culture Program, was named as the new recipient of the David H. Winton Endowed Teaching Chair, established in 2002 in honor of former trustee chair and benefactor, the late David H. Winton. Through one of his major gifts to the college, Winton, the father of alumna and current trustee chair Anne Winton Black, sought to recognize the college's professors, whom he greatly admired, and exemplify their vital roles as teachers.

Humanities Professor Ann Page Stecker, who was the first recipient of this endowed chair, introduced and lauded her successor and close friend and colleague, Professor Hanson, whom she described as the “Aristotelian, peripatetic teacher and learner.” She began her remarks with a remembrance of benefactor David Winton, whom she described as “winsome, debonair and a committed presence” during her early days on campus.

“It has been the signal privilege and honor of my academic career to have been offered the opportunity and challenge of filling [his] dream of supporting the college's central mission—pursuit of excellence in the classroom,” Professor Stecker said.

“His vision has lifted the whole community's standards of excellence…I believe the Wintons' extraordinary philanthropy of mind and resources allows those of us who teach and learn here to understand it is not enough to practice inquiry in Descartian terms (cogito ergo sum: I think, therefore I am), but that we must enlarge that notion to demonstrate the characteristics of a mind alive to new ambiguities, paradoxes, challenges and new forms of creativity—with undiminished joy.”

In a nod to her successor's fluency in Spanish and current sabbatical research in Mexico, Professor Stecker peppered her address with some Spanish language, which seemed to surprise and delight Professor Hanson. “I believe he teaches in his sleep, perhaps wearing out his dream-world characters with his questions and musings,” she said. “We know he teaches walking down the halls, scurrying from one class to the next. We observe him teaching everywhere—at his Day of the Dead celebrations, at faculty meetings, in front of a jam-packed tent at Commencement, on the racquet ball court...”

Known for his extraordinary teaching skills and rapport with students, Professor Hanson was recognized with the Jack Jensen Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1999, the CASE/Carnegie Professor of the Year for New Hampshire award in 2003, and with a nomination for a New Hampshire Excellence in Education Award (EDies). He served as coordinator of the college's Liberal Education Program from 2002 to 2007, overseeing the new program, working with the Pathway faculty, coordinating the proficiency and exploration courses, and assisting in launching the innovative Learning Portfolio for students.

In addition to his teaching and leadership roles, Professor Hanson is engaged in research and scholarship both in liberal arts education and the history of Mexico. He has written articles and delivered presentations on many aspects of liberal arts education for educators at the local, regional, national and international level.

The M. Roy London Endowed Chair

Professor of Business Administration Leon-C. Malan was then appointed to the M. Roy London Endowed Chair, which honors a faculty member whose work and vocation combine excellence in teaching and a strong, positive influence on campus and in the wider community. This endowed chair was named in memory of M. Roy London, an educator who spent more than 30 years at Colby-Sawyer as a teacher and dean.

Like Professors Anderson and Hanson, Professor Malan, who teaches courses in Business Administration and Community and Environmental Studies, is an exemplary teacher and scholar who was recognized with the Jack Jensen Award for teaching excellence, in 2006. His teaching and research reflect his strong interests in the globalization of business and industry and its impact on and responsibility for global environmental issues. He conducts research in management and organizational theory, business strategy, globalization and environmental studies, with a focus on the interaction between organizations and their external environment, including the natural environment.

Professor Joe Carroll, the first faculty member to hold this chair, had the honor of introducing his successor. After thanking M. Roy London's son, Roy London, family friend Peg Cawley and the London family, Professor Carroll said there is no one who better personifies the focus on community and environment than Leon-C. Malan. He recalled Professor Malan's reference to Ubuntu, or human connectedness, during Professor Malan's Commencement address in 2006. “It is clear that [Professor Malan] lives by the principles he urged our graduates to adopt, that is, the value of contributing to their communities in a spirit of caring and respect.”

Professor Carroll said that Professor Malan, in his 14 years of teaching at Colby-Sawyer, has superbly combined teaching, professional activity and community service. “Leon is a demanding and inspiring teacher…[who] sets high expectations, is tough and fair, and supports students who show that they are willing to put in the time themselves…Students exposed to Leon's innovative combination of business sense and environmental ethics cannot help but emerge wiser and better prepared to take on leadership roles…”

Professor Malan is also engaged as a leader on campus and in the community. He was active in the design and implementation of the Community and Environmental Studies Program (CES) and recently assisted the students who led Green ROUTES, a CES project, in understanding the financial impact of a movement toward campus sustainability. He also serves on local community boards such as the Blaisdell Lake Protection Association and Sutton Conservation Commission.

In closing the ceremony, Deb Taylor, academic vice president, said that while these professorships recognize three extraordinary professors, their larger purpose is to celebrate and honor all Colby-Sawyer faculty members, whose dedication to teaching is the heart of the college's academic programs and students' educational experience.

-Kimberly Swick Slover