Vivant Professores

By - The Editors

We know: odds are, you turn first to Class Notes. Whether friends, acquaintances, or strangers, it’s always fascinating to hear what your classmates have been up to over the years.

But there's an important group of former fellow Vassarians whose ongoing adventures, for the most part, are not included in Class Notes: the faculty. How is that brilliant French professor doing these days? Is your favorite math instructor still teaching? Has he or she retired? If so, what’s retirement been like? We posed this last question to a number of Vassar’s faculty emeritae/i — and received far more responses than we have room to include. We present here a selection of 12 updates, hoping you’ll enjoy catching up with some old friends.The Editors

Do you have a memory about a professor you would like to share?
Post your message on the Faculty Memories page today.

Professor Jeh Johnson
Professor Jeh Johnson

Jeh Johnson

Architecture, 1964–2001; Poughkeepsie, NY

The first September away from school was the hardest. I went out to Ohio for a period to help my brother with property improvements, and while I was on the road, I was able to pick up on my visits to significant examples of African-American church design. The subject has been of special interest to me for the last 20 years. I have done a number of churches, and I am fascinated by the interplay between congregation, pastor, and architect, leading to a finished product that reflects the interests of all involved, as well as the cultural history and aspirations of African-Americans generally.

Recently, I have been of help (I hope) to former student Josie Foo, ’82, who, as a lawyer, is working on a new Supreme Court building for the Navajo Nation in New Mexico.

For the last ten years, I have been doing lectures on architecture in its different forms, for the Center for Lifetime Studies at Marist College. Many of my old slides are as bright and beautiful as ever.

As I grow older, I think I am pretty much the same person that I was 20 or 40 years ago in terms of my youthful hopes and ethical beliefs. I have a good record of the person I was when I was younger in my own journals, and now and then I look back to see what I thought about life at other ages. Aside from changes of mind gained by experience, or from the wisdom of wise people I’ve met, I’m still well aligned with my youthful hopes and ethical beliefs.”

Glen Johnson

Political Science, 1964–2002; Poughkeepsie, NY

I have been leading some travel programs for the AAVC — several to India and one to Vietnam. My wife and I have also organized and taught a course for the Marist College Center for Lifetime Studies program for senior citizens and I have done an occasional lecture for a similar Bard College program. I am also doing some writing, most importantly a substantial new edition of a piece I did for UNESCO some ten years ago.

But probably more interestingly, I spent two years at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, as Distinguished Visiting Professor to oversee the inauguration of their American Studies Program. 2004–06 was a particularly exciting time to be in Egypt, and the university and the work there were remarkably interesting. The program was inspired by the Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, giving it an added dimension.

Most interesting of all for us has been the opportunity of spending more time and doing some traveling with our wonderful grandchildren!

Henry Albers

Astronomy,  1958–91; Fairhope, AL

When we retired we sold our house on campus and moved to Falmouth on Cape Cod. My first order of business was to start a project to write a book about Maria Mitchell. I had visited her home on Nantucket many times and knew the staff of the Maria Mitchell Observatory very well. They promised access to her papers and I began. Over the next few years I transcribed all her diaries and letters into my computer. I put all that material into some logical order, wrote commentaries on it, and finally I took all the material and cut it down to size. The result was Maria Mitchell: A Life in Letters and Journals, which came out in 2001. I am still pleased that I was able to publish an up-to-date and accurate version of her life, all in her own words, from the diaries.

The book led to a wonderful event. I met Barbara Duffy ’51, who was a big fan of Maria. She transformed the book into a wonderful monologue, which led to a special evening on Nantucket when it was read by Frances Sternhagen ’51 to a full house of enthusiastic listeners.”

Professor Natalie Marshall
Professor Natalie Marshall

Natalie  Marshall ’51

Economics, 1952–94; Pleasant Valley, NY

I retired as a vice president in 1991 but continued to teach one economics class per semester at the college while I went to Columbia Law School. Law school was a long-held dream: the law combines well with economics. I had had neither the time nor the money earlier.

In 1994 I retired as a professor and passed the Bar. Since then I have been of counsel to Donoghue, Thomas (one of the college’s law firms) and have worked as an arbitrator for NASD Dispute Resolution — all challenging and exciting.

My husband and I run a small farm (for fresh air and exercise), producing maple syrup and apple cider.”

Anthony Wohl

History, 1963–2002; Ipswich, MA

Professor Anthony Wohl
Professor Anthony Wohl

“My retirement got off with a big bang with a research fellowship to the Huntington Library in Pasadena, CA. Since retirement I had the great honor of leading a seminar, based on my work on Benjamin Disraeli, at the North American Victorian Studies Association annual meeting at the University of Virginia. I keep my academic hand in by reading manuscripts for academic presses and journals.

“I did do some teaching last March when I led discussions of Pride and Prejudice, Ipswich’s ‘One Book’ selection for 2007. I ran discussions on this great work for a wide variety of groups — members of an old age home, library discussion groups, the Ipswich Historical Society, the local high school book club and other local book clubs, and the Sisters of Notre Dame. It was a delightful experience for me to try to shake off the rust and to be back in the classroom. Amazingly, two former Vassar students of mine got to hear of the discussions and showed up! 

“Retirement is such a glorious luxury in the little things. You see a movie, for example, and you have the time to read many reviews on RottenTomatoes.com. You finish the latest Philip Roth novel and you can check out the reviews on ReviewsofBooks.com. You go to a concert and are still puzzled by, say, Bruckner’s 5th, or you go to a Hopper exhibition in Boston’s MFA, and you have the time to read up on these subjects. Anything is possible! The world is your oyster! And I now have time to actually read The New Yorker rather than just skim its cartoons.”

Eamon Grennan

English, 1974–2007; Poughkeepsie, NY

“Since retiring I’ve been writing a bit — a book of poems appeared in Ireland recently, and was published here this past spring — as well as giving some talks and readings, both in Ireland and over here. In addition I’ve taught in the graduate writing programs of Columbia and NYU.”

Professor Yin-lien Chin
Professor Yin-lien Chin

Yin-lien Chin

Chinese, 1967–95; Tinton Falls, NJ 

“I didn’t do much at first except playing golf and ping-pong all year round, and reading a lot when I was in my apartment. After my husband passed away in April 2006, I started to immerse myself in painting Chinese landscapes on ceramic plates that I made. It’s a new experiment for me and it is very therapeutic.

“My husband taught Chinese at the University of Maryland for 36 years. His untimely passing left a couple of unfinished projects behind. I have been keeping busy working on publishing his Sound Systems of Mandarin Chinese and English: A Comparison. The book is now available from Stone Lion Books in the United States and will be published soon by the Beijing Language and Culture University Press for distribution elsewhere in the world. I am also working on finishing another of his books called Si Yan Si Sheng (the English title is yet to be decided). I think it will keep me busy for another six months at least.”

Clyde Griffen

History,  1957–58, 1959–95; Mitchellville, MD

“I’ve continued to research and write on the histories of Poughkeepsie, Vassar, and the southern working-class suburbs of Dunedin, New Zealand.

“In 2000 Betty Daniels and I co-authored Full Steam Ahead in Poughkeepsie: The Story of Coeducation at Vassar; since then we brought that story up to date in the lead essay of Challenge by Coeducation: Women’s Colleges Since the 1960s (Vanderbilt University Press, 2006).

“Sally and I moved last year from the Vassar campus to a lively and welcoming retirement community near Washington, DC, many of whose residents have had fascinating careers in our foreign service. Socializing over dinner and drinks is frequent and a pleasure. I look forward now to neglected reading, especially of literary classics I have longed for time to enjoy.” 

Annea Lockwood

Music, 1982–2004; Crompond, NY

“When I retired from teaching I continued my work as a composer, but now with time to take on larger projects, so from 2002 to 2005 I traveled down the Danube River, moving very slowly and recording the river both from the bank and also underwater, together with talks with river afficionados along the way about what the river means to them. This resulted in a surround-sound installation titled A Sound Map of the Danube. A full recording of the work was released by Lovely Music Ltd.

“Last year I completed Jitterbug, a commission from the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, for his new dance, eyeSpace, for which I made hydrophone recordings of aquatic insects in northwest Montana rivers and gave images of sedimentary rocks from the same area to two musicians to read as a form of musical notation. It has been performed several times. It was also presented, without dance, at the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival in September 2007.

“Two CDs came out recently: A Japanese company, EM, released a CD of early works from the sixties and early seventies and Pogus Records released floating world and rereleased Thousand Year Dreaming.” 

Michael McCarthy

Philosophy, 1968–2007; Poughkeepsie, NY

Professor Michael McCarthy
Professor Michael McCarthy

“The chief reason I retired from teaching at Vassar was to devote more time to thinking and writing. In the past two years, I have: 1) completed a manuscript on Hannah Arendt’s political thought; 2) been a visiting fellow at Boston College where I wrote, lectured, and attended seminars; 3) written a paper for a collection by the Woodstock Center at Georgetown and an article for the Boston College alumni magazine; 4) continued work on a collection of papers devoted to the thought of Bernard Lonergan; 5) been writing poetry when the muse appears; 6) spending more time with family and friends; 7) serving a full term on a Dutchess County grand jury.”

Betsy Halpern-Amaru

Religion, 1983–2005; Jerusalem, Israel 

“Since my early retirement from Vassar I have been living in Jerusalem, Israel. The move was not in and of itself a dramatic one, for over the course of my years of teaching I had spent summers and sabbaticals doing research at the National Library here. Consequently, a number of friendships were already firmly established and I was quite familiar and comfortable with life in Jerusalem.

“As for my work, I have completed and published multiple articles relating to the Book of Jubilees (a second-century BCE text that has been the focus of my interests for a number of years) and a commentary on the Book of Judith for the Jewish Publication Society. I am currently deep into a new book on the interpretation of Exodus narratives in the Book of Jubilees. One of the greatest pleasures that has come to me in my career involves the recent appearance of a Festschrift in my honor. Entitled Heavenly Tablets: Interpretation, Identity, and Tradition in Ancient Judaism, it is a collection of scholarly essays edited by my Vassar colleague Lynn LiDonnici and my former student Andrea Lieber ’89.

“Reaching for some conclusion, I can only say life in retirement is very good; I feel very intellectually alive and my work doesn’t feel like ‘work’ at all!”

Professor Evert Sprinchorn
Professor Evert Sprinchorn

Evert Sprinchorn

Drama, 1956–94; Poughkeepsie, NY

“I recently co-edited, with Gabriel Cody, professor of drama at Vassar, The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama. Published in 2007 to some excellent reviews. The project took several years to complete.”

Where Are They Now?

Vassar does its best to keep in touch with retired faculty. But as with alumnae/i, sometimes we lose touch. This is the most recent and most complete list we have of faculty emeritae/i: what they taught, when they taught, and where they are. But we welcome corrections and updates, and invite you to visit our website (www.aavc.vassar.edu), where we will make space for more stories of retired faculty news — including your own. 

Lynn Conant Bartlett
English, 1952–92
Poughkeepsie, NY

Frank Bergon
English, 1972–2008
Highland, NY

Constance Berkley
Africana Studies, 1972–2004
Washington, DC

Susan H. Brisman
English, 1973–2008
New Haven, CT

Frederick P. Bunnell
Political Science, 1967–99
Poughkeepsie, NY

Janet Knapp Byles
Music, 1971–88
Oberlin, OH

Eugene A. Carroll
Art, 1965–2000
Poughkeepsie, NY

Anne Constantinople
Psychology, 1967–2004
Poughkeepsie, NY

Raymond Cook
Dance, 1981–99
Poughkeepsie, NY

Beverly Coyle
English, 1977–2001
New York, NY

Elizabeth Adams Daniels '41
English, 1948-1985
Rhinebeck, NY

Joan A. Deiters
Chemistry, 1978–99
Poughkeepsie, NY

James Farganis
Sociology, 1970–98
Poughkeepsie, NY

Harvey Flad
Geography, 1972–2004
Poughkeepsie, NY

Robert Tomson Fortna
Religion, 1963–95
New York, NY

Jeane H. Geehr
English, 1947–83
Boca Raton, FL

William W. Gifford
English, 1955–96
Poughkeepsie, NY

Anne I. Gittleman
French, 1954–61, 1962–87
Poughkeepsie, NY

John Howell Glasse
Religion, 1956–90
Poughkeepsie, NY

Richard Gregg
Russian, 1968–98
Poughkeepsie, NY

Earl W. Groves
Music, 1945–82
Fort Myers, FL

Christina N. Hammond
Chemistry, 1961–67, 1968–70, 1971–2006
Millbrook, NY

Christine Mitchell Havelock
Art, 1953–90
Lexington, MA

Richard B. Hemmes
Biology, 1972–2008
Poughkeepsie, NY

Norman Edward Hodges
Africana Studies and History, 1969–98
Plantation, FL

Colton Johnson
English, 1965–2006
Rhinebeck, NY

Patricia R. Johnson
Biology, 1964–95
Davis, CA

Jesse Kalin
Philosophy, 1971–2005
Poughkeepsie, NY

Benjamin Kohl
History, 1966–2001
Betterton, MD

Elaine Lipschutz
Education, 1967–92
Poughkeepsie, NY

Richard Lowry
Psychology, 1965–2006
Poughkeepsie, NY

Thomas F. McHugh
Education, 1974–93
Rock Hall, MD

Margaret McKenzie
German, 1961–83
Beverly Hills, CA

Leathem Mehaffey III
Biology, 1973–2006
Poughkeepsie, NY

Robert Middleton
Music, 1953–85
Shelburne, VT

Joseph F. Mucci
Chemistry, 1957–91
Albuquerque, NM

Pinina E. Norrod
Biology, 1983–2006
Poughkeepsie, NY

Barbara Joan Page
English, 1969–2007
Poughkeepsie, NY

Robert L. Pounder
Classics, 1972–2007
Poughkeepsie, NY

Rhoda Rappaport
History, 1961–2000
Poughkeepsie, NY

Jerome Regnier
Geology, 1954–57, 1969–83
Cambridge, MA

Stephen W. Rousseas
Economics, 1969–91
Poughkeepsie, NY

Wilfrid E. Rumble, Jr.
Political Science, 1961–98
Poughkeepsie, NY

Stephen Sadowsky
Psychology, 1968–2007
Poughkeepsie, NY

David L. Schalk
History, 1968–2003
Poughkeepsie, NY

Robert L. Stearns
Physics, 1958–93
Poughkeepsie, NY

Patrick Sullivan
Religion, 1970–94
Austin, TX

Morton A. Tavel
Physics, 1967–2008
Seattle, WA

Ruth Marie Timm
Physical Education, 1944–78
Poughkeepsie, NY

Elbert Tokay
Biology, 1941–81
Millbrook, NY

Blanca Uribe
Music, 1969–2005
Bogotã, Colombia

Garrett L. Vander Veer
Philosophy, 1961–99
Jacksonville, FL

Richard J. Willey
Political Science, 1964–99
Boston, MA

Donald Williams
Biology, 1961–98
Merritt, NC

Margaret Ruth Wright
Biology, 1946–78
Poughkeepsie, NY

Have a comment about this article? Email vq@vassar.edu.

Do you have a memory about a professor you would like to share?
Post your message on the Faculty Memories page today.