Recognizing retirees

Publication Date

The College this year honored the careers of eight faculty members who have attained emeritus status. They were Julius Barbanel, professor of mathematics; Linda Cool, professor of anthropology; Pilar Moyano, professor of modern languages; Walter Hatke, the May I. Baker Professor of Visual Arts; Jay Newman, the R. Gordon Gould ’41 Professor of Physics; Susan Niefield, professor mathematics; Rudy Nydegger, professor of psychology; and Karl Zimmermann, professor of mathematics. (This year’s retirements, which accounted for one fourth of the mathematics department, were something of a family affair. Profs. Niefield and Zimmermann are married; Prof. Barbanel is married to Prof. Niefield’s sister, Nancy, who teaches ceramics classes at Union.) Several of the retirees provided recollections, excerpted here:

Prof. Barbanel: “The environment for doing mathematical research was perfect for me, and teaching mathematics to so many young people was a daily thrill. Getting to know many of my students, especially the Posse students that I mentored in recent years, was a joy that I shall always carry with me.”

Prof. Niefield: “Being at Union has never felt like a job. I’ve gotten to know so many interesting students, from those who struggled their way through, spending many hours in my office, to those whom I encouraged to go on and who became mathematicians themselves. My department has been my family both literally and figuratively. This place has been my life for 34 years and I expect to be around for 34 more.”

Prof. Nydegger: “My dearest memories come from the range of wonderful people whose lives touched many including my own. People from every part of the College truly leave a mark on the education of our students and on the lives and careers of the rest of us. To all of them I can only say, ‘Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.’”

Prof. Zimmerman: “What we do for the students is truly a group effort. I would like to thank all my colleagues around campus—on the staff, the faculty, and in the administration—I've always had the feeling we were in this together … all thinking about what is best for the College and our students. Working with people, all willing to go that extra mile, has made Union a great place to spend my career.”