Appointees to professorships — in colleagues’ words

Former Bates President Don Harward chats with Glen Lawson (left) and Marcus Bruce, during a reception for them and others recently appointed to named professorships.

Former Bates President Don Harward chats with faculty members Glen Lawson (left) and Marcus Bruce during a reception for them and others recently appointed to named professorships. Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen.

Late in the afternoon of March 8, a substantial gathering of Bates faculty, staff and students in Pettengill Hall’s Perry Atrium enjoyed two kinds of warmth — the rising temperatures of early spring and a very personal celebration of outstanding scholarship, teaching and service.

The occasion was a reception honoring six faculty members recently appointed to named professorships at the college. (One could not be present.) What made the event so personal was that, instead of the appointees speaking, each was spoken about by a faculty colleague who described their work and contributions — to their field, to Bates and to larger communities. Each of the appointees will give presentations next fall during separate events sponsored by their respective departments.

The appointees are:

Interim President Nancy J. Cable welcomed the audience, which included the sixth president of Bates, Donald W. Harward, who helped recruit some of the appointees to the college; and Clayton Spencer, who will take office in July as Bates’ eighth president.

Cable set the tone of the event. “What a good time to gather to celebrate the most fundamental purpose and reason for our relationship with Bates College — the cultivation of the life of the mind and the joy of our academic work together,” she said. “Today we honor faculty colleagues and scholars who have contributed in significant and meaningful ways to the quality of our academic program — as faculty, as advisors, as leaders and scholars in their respective fields.”

Pam Baker, dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs, offered perspective on the reasons such positions exist and their significance.

“Endowed professorships are established by generous donors who have a particular commitment to the intellectual life of the college and work to recognize faculty excellence in the liberal arts tradition,” she said.

Noting that Bates currently confers more than 20 named professorships, Baker also said, “Through our endowed professorship program, Bates honors individual faculty members who have made singular contributions in their field with their inspiring teaching, inventive scholarship and dedicated service. By extension, endowed professorships honor all the faculty of the College by recognizing the importance of effective teaching and scholarly contributions of new knowledge.”