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Recent Retirements

June 14, 2004

With the close of the 2003-04 academic year, four longtime members of the campus community announced their retirements. They leave with the gratitude and respect of their colleagues and of their students new and old.

Dorothy Berkson, Professor of English
“Dorothy was a beloved teacher of 19th-century American literature and gender studies,” says Stephanie Arnold, professor of theatre and dean of the arts and humanities division. Known as feisty and outspoken—particularly concerning issues of justice—Berkson was also supportive of her students. “She was an inspiration to many students, particularly women,” says Arnold. Berkson taught at Lewis & Clark for more than 20 years, having joined the College in 1981. 

John Gerth, Associate Professor of Theatre
“John was a genius of a designer, a true artist of the theatre,” says Stephanie Arnold, professor of theatre and dean of the arts and humanities division. “He made us all look good.” Gerth joined Lewis & Clark in 1986 and wore many hats in the theatre department: scenic designer, draftsman, technical director, painter, costume designer, pattern drafter and cutter, tailor, lighting designer, makeup supervisor, and shop crew supervisor. In his spare time, he taught all the design and technical classes in theatre. Gerth plans to help home-school his grandchildren during retirement.

Michaela “Micha” Paasche Grudin, Professor of English
Micha Grudin has a hearty laugh, a fast gait, and a passion for medieval literature. “She was always interested in her students,” says Nicki Boehland ’04, “and not just as writers or as thinkers, but as people.” Grudin taught for 20 years at the University of Oregon before joining Lewis & Clark in 1993. Widely published, she is currently working on a new book that explores how radical thinkers in the Middle Ages expressed unorthodox ideas. Her first book, Chaucer and the Politics of Discourse, written in 1996, was called “the freshest, most exciting and readable study of Chaucer to come along in a baker’s dozen of blue moons.” Grudin is currently living with her husband in Hawaii. Next summer, she plans to teach Boccaccio’s Decameron in the Tuscany region of Italy through Lewis & Clark’s Graduate School of Education. (For more information on the trip, call 503-788-6043 or e-mail 

Dell Smith, Registrar of the College
“If he had played for one of our teams, we would be retiring his number,” says Curtis Johnson, dean of the College. Smith first came to Lewis & Clark in 1967 and spent the next 24 years as professor of health education, coach, and administrator. During this period, he chaired the health and physical education department, served as assistant dean of faculty, chaired the natural sciences division, and directed summer sessions. He left the College in late 1991 to follow his wife’s career move to California, but he returned to campus in 1998. For the last five years, he has served as the undergraduate registrar. “I always looked forward to coming to campus each day,” says Smith. “My interactions with students, staff, and faculty never failed to energize me.” He doesn’t yet have firm retirement plans, but he says “the world is full of opportunities and options.”

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