Reflections From Retirees
October 27, 2017
This past spring, the College of Arts and Sciences bid a fond farewell to three longtime faculty who have influenced generations of students.
Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Professor of Government
Years Served: 38
Your path to Lewis & Clark: I was hired as assistant professor of political science by President John Howard in 1979, right out of graduate school at Columbia University. I had never been to Portland and didn’t know much about the college. What a find!
Favorite courses to teach: I’ve always enjoyed my theory sequence —the history of political thought from ancient times to the 20th century. It’s a great experience to remind myself every year of the wisdom of those who came before, trying to sort the wheat from the chaff. I confess to loving the college’s first-year course, whatever it happens to be called at any given time. I’ve taught it maybe 50 times in my years here— sometimes three sections a year. Entering students are wonderful interlocutors—bright, eager to learn, and open-minded about possibilities.
What you’ll miss: Students most, tied in importance with departmental colleagues. All very special people to me.
What you’re most proud of: No one thing. The point has been to try to live a complete and full life on all important dimensions. I’ve done what I could and feel good about it. That’s good enough for me. I thank the college for giving me the opportunity to pursue my life’s intellectual and academic dreams.
What’s next: Certainly, research and writing projects. I have a backlog. Maybe refining my golf and tennis skills.
Associate Professor of Russian
Years Served: 27
Path to Lewis & Clark: My first visit to the Pacific Northwest was my on-campus job interview at Lewis & Clark in January 1990. I felt very anxious about coming here because it was so far from Pennsylvania, where I had spent my first 10 years in the U.S. after emigrating from the Soviet Union. It turned out to be love at first sight.
Favorite courses to teach: I’ve had different favorites at different times. In the last five years, I’ve especially enjoyed teaching Laughter in Russian Literature and Film and The Russian Memoir, both Russian 290 offerings taught in English translation. These undergraduate course topics are uniquely mine, and I learned a great deal while developing my syllabi and teaching these courses.
What you’ve enjoyed most about your work: I’ve enjoyed interacting with and teaching students. I enjoy helping them choose their path and succeed in accomplishing their goals. I also consider it my life’s blessing to have a job that is built around my love for Russian literature and culture.
What’s next: I hope to read more; research and write about nonacademic subjects (such as my personal history, for example); and learn more about photography, video making, and web design. I hope to visit my loved ones more often, do yoga, volunteer, travel, and, of course, take long walks with my dog in Portland’s most beautiful places.
We were unable to catch up with Debra Beers, senior lecturer in art and program head of drawing, who retired after 19 years with the college. We wish her well in her retirement.