Five Long-Time Faculty Members Say Farewell

The end of the 2008-09 academic year will be much more than the start of another summer break for five long-time faculty members. For Professors Glenn Asquith, Joe Gerencher, Ed Little, Jim Mitchell, and Bettie Smolansky—all retiring this semester—May 2009 marks the beginning of a new phase of learning and exploration. Colleagues honored the five with gifts and celebrations, including an ice cream social held May 14 in the HUB Pavilion.

The professors shared a few of their most memorable times and career highlights:

  • Martha Reid, professor of English, and Bettie Smolansky at a reception held April 17. Photo by Eddie Flaherty '12
    "My greatest satisfaction has been working with the students who came to us without much of a sense of their own potential—helping them find one or more of what I call 'light bulb moments,' then watching them emerge to become pillars of their communities. It is hard for me to believe that there can be a greater sense of fulfillment than to have had a hand in such a process."—Bettie Smolansky, professor of sociology

  • "I will miss seeing students grow and develop their gifts for ministry, and then being launched into their vocation with a sense of confidence and purpose. For me, that was absolutely the best part of teaching."—Glenn Asquith Jr.,  professor of pastoral theology, Moravian Theological Seminary

  • "I'll miss the intellectually stimulating environment of academia and the interactions with students and colleagues. But I'll also miss the campus, my lab, and the 'toys' I get to make and play with as part of the teaching process for Earth and Space Sciences."—Joseph Gerencher  Jr., professor of Earth science        

  • "If I had to single out something concrete that I feel especially good about, I might say that I believe I am the longest-serving woman faculty member at the college with the longest continuing commitment in the nation to the education of women."—Bettie Smolansky    

  • "Taking groups of students to Nicaragua and Antigua for cross-cultural learning was one of the most memorable times. The opportunity to apply the field of pastoral care and counseling in very different cultural and religious environments was theological education at its best!"—Glenn Asquith

  • "Studying the Earth and the cosmos, and sharing this information with students and colleagues, has been my life's work and passion."—Joe Gerencher

What's next? Our colleagues will be reading, traveling, and spending more time with family and friends. Glenn Asquith also will be exploring opportunities in pastoral counseling, teaching, and ministry, as well as writing The Concise Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling for Abingdon Press. Bettie Smolansky says that she and Oles are already at work on a follow-up volume to their earlier scholarly collaboration on international affairs. She also plans to draft a family memoir for her children. (But look for her on campus, too: "I hope not to be cut off abruptly, since I will visit for coffee or lunch as my other activities allow," she says.) Joe Gerencher hopes to "slow the pace, to spend more time at play, and to take full advantage of a truly flexible schedule." 

Thank you Rev. Glenn H. Asquith Jr. (1978), professor of pastoral theology, Moravian Theological Seminary; Joseph J. Gerencher Jr. (1969), professor of Earth science; Edward E. Little (1968), professor of physical education; James B. Mitchell Jr. (1965), professor of biology; and Bettie M. Smolansky (1964), professor of sociology.