Reaching the Retirement Milestone
Dean of Spiritual Life
Years Served: 32
Path to Lewis & Clark: Lewis & Clark was looking for someone to do ministry as a chaplain and who could also teach in the religious studies department. It seemed like a perfect fit, given my previous experience as a youth pastor in Santa Barbara, California, and as a visiting assistant professor at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. My fiancée, Melinda Smith, and I were married in Tennessee in July, and I started my new position in Portland in August.
What you’ve enjoyed most: I have particularly enjoyed the amazing variety of things I have been able to do, and the various ways I have adapted my office and staffing to better serve the spiritual needs of our students and to change with the times. I am very grateful for being able to serve members of our community at some of the happiest moments of their lives (I once even introduced two students to one another who later decided to get married, and then I officiated at their wedding!), and I have helped so many here at Lewis & Clark during times of tragedy and great loss. Through it all, I have probably appreciated most the opportunity to work with and teach our amazing students and partnering with so many terrific colleagues.
What people might not know about you: My dad was a Presbyterian minister too, and I grew up helping him mow the large lawn of our church in Seattle. So, I’ve kept up that tradition, and in most of the churches I’ve attended here in Portland over the years, I’ve volunteered to be the designated church lawn mower.
What you’re most proud of: I’ve really loved serving as a spiritual resource and guide for students over the years. It’s been great teaching some innovative and engaging undergraduate classes as well. I’ve facilitated some amazing events with speakers like Cesar Chavez, Elie Wiesel, Cornel West, Rev. Andrew Young, Rabbi Michael Lerner, and Charlayne Hunter-Gault. I worked with Ray Warren to build the tradition of celebrating the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and started the first volunteer community service office here on campus. I’ve hosted hundreds of students at our home across the street from the campus, sponsored monthly labyrinth walks in the Gregg Pavilion, and I’ve helped care for and gather our community at times of great tragedy and loss. But, perhaps, I am most proud of two things: being creative and resourceful in nurturing religious and spiritual life on this secular campus, and being faithfully committed to honoring and serving the spiritual diversity on our campus.
Favorite place on campus: My favorite place on campus is Agnes Flanagan Chapel. I had the same office in the lower level of the chapel for all my years at Lewis &Clark. It’s been a place where I have experienced the breadth of human emotions and been drawn close into the presence of God. And while I especially appreciate the natural beauty of our campus, the chapel has been like a home on campus for me.
What’s next: During retirement, I will be doing a number of projects around our house, enjoying our two new kittens, and playing a bit more golf. I’ll also be doing more to help take care of my elderly parents. But I’ll also be on the lookout for some re-tired (i.e., putting on some new tires) opportunities to show kindness and to gladden the hearts of others.
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Gender Studies Program
Years Served: 35
Path to Lewis & Clark: When I joined the Lewis &Clark sociology and anthropology department in 1985, I was drawn both by the department’s dynamic interdisciplinary vision and by the opportunity to return to Portland, where I had done my undergraduate studies at Reed.
Favorite courses to teach: Always hard to name a favorite! In anthropology, two courses stand out as exemplars of anthropology exploring relations with more-than-human domains. Cyborg Anthropology, which I first taught in 1992, helped launch new investigations of the extension of human capacities through technoscience. My more recent course, Multispecies Ethnography, introduced students to fieldwork focused on relations between humans and other organisms, ranging from other animals to plants and microorganisms. In gender studies, it’s been wonderful to teach two bookends of our curriculum, Genders and Sexualities in Global Perspective and our capstone course, Feminist Theory. And I wouldn’t want to leave out my SOAN course Wines and Vines, exploring the anthropology of viticulture and enology across the globe!
What people might not know about you: In high school and college, I was a ski instructor. I’ve been happy to take advantage of the proximity to Mount Hood’s ski slopes every winter.
Favorite place on campus: I selected my office, Howard 350, for its stellar view of Mount Hood. The sunrise views have made those 8 a.m. classes totally worthwhile!
What you’re most proud of: Two things stand out. First, as campus Fulbright advisor for many years, it has been an honor to assist in Lewis & Clark’s emergence as a top contender, thanks to the success of our spectacular applicants for Fulbright teaching and research awards. Second, I have been proud to support a long roster of student research collaborators, thanks to Lewis & Clark’s wonderful faculty-student summer research grants and to external funding that allowed me to offer students additional opportunities working with me on a range of projects from biotech and biomedical research labs and genetic health support groups to vineyards and wine fairs in the U.S. and France.
What’s next: In my current ongoing research on the anthropology of food and wine, I am collaborating with colleagues in Lisbon and New Zealand on a European Research Council–funded project, The Colour of Labour: The Racialized Lives of Migrants. In 2022, should global health conditions permit, I’m looking forward to guiding an alumni trip to visit some of the world’s oldest wine regions in the Republic of Georgia, where I’ve visited vineyards, and neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan. And on the aspirational horizon, a series of ski trips in alpine (or Andean) wine regions.
Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Professor of Science
Years Served: 38
Path to Lewis & Clark: When I was a postdoctoral fellow at Oregon Health & Science University, I taught a course at Lewis & Clark as an adjunct faculty member. Working with the engaged, intellectually curious students whom I met that semester convinced me I should apply for the tenure-track position that opened up at the college the following year.
Favorite course to teach: Each semester, I genuinely looked forward to updating and teaching each of my classes. I never had a favorite course during my time at the college.
What you’ve enjoyed most: Forming close working relationships with students, most notably in my research laboratory. In addition, I derived considerable satisfaction from interacting with a wide array of Lewis & Clark students, either by teaching classes targeted at students who didn’t intend on majoring in the sciences or by serving as an overseas program leader.
What’s changed, and what’s remained the same: The support network for students is decidedly more robust than when I began at the college. What has remained constant is the passion of faculty to deliver a vibrant educational experience.
What people might not know about you: When I entered college, I was intent on pursuing an English major, but as I explored the wider curriculum, I became enthralled with the scientific method. Ultimately, a biochemistry course coupled with a summer research experience set me on a path to becoming a scientist.
What you’re most proud of: The stellar accomplishments and meaningful careers established by the students whom I’ve worked with in the biochemistry and molecular biology program.
What’s next: Fully exploring the Pacific Northwest with my husband, Steve, and spending more time with my sons.
James F. Miller Professor of Humanities
Years Served: 21
Path to Lewis & Clark: Very complicated and circuitous.
Favorite courses to teach: Tough question because almost every class I taught could be mentioned. I taught in both the classics and philosophy programs, and I suppose my best experiences were at the tops and the bottoms of those curricula. For many years, I loved to teach Introduction to Philosophy, though I have not taught that in recent years. I always enjoyed teaching Ancient Greek Thought and Culture. I often met future majors in these courses early in their careers at L&C, which allowed me to see their progress through to graduation. I also enjoyed my senior seminars and capstones: PHIL 451 (in which the focus would be either Socrates or Plato’s Republic, both of which I have written about extensively), and CLAS 450: Aristophanes. Maybe this last one was always the most fun to teach—puzzling over and then laughing out loud at comedies written almost 2,500 years ago!
What you’ve enjoyed most: As much as I enjoyed teaching—especially at L&C— what brought me into academia was the research: the challenge of learning both broadly and deeply about something, to the point that one could actually make a contribution at the cutting edge of scholarship. That was always my fuel (and perhaps my drug). That got me up every morning and sometimes kept me awake at night.
What people might not know about you: I’m a pretty avid birder, a very good cook, and a certifiable cat nut (sharing my home with four Siamese cats, who are dedicated to creating bedlam and chaos in the most adorable ways imaginable).
What you’re most proud of: The scholarly work has always been a major part of my life. I could name several books I am extremely proud of, but as I was working on them, my most recent two books were like promises to myself that I kept: Summoning Knowledge in Plato’s Republic (Oxford University Press, 2019) and Socrates on Self-Improvement (Cambridge University Press, 2021). It’s fair to say the former completed work I began in my doctoral dissertation when I was in my early 20s.
What’s next: Except for teaching (which, provisionally, I have agreed to do again in the Greece program of 2023), I would say, more of all of the above. I hope to do more research and have several smaller projects now under contract, and I’d like to do more professional and personal travel as long as I am able. The world is filled with wonders I haven’t yet seen for myself—and so many different kinds of birds!