This is where we get to remember our favorite Williams professors.  We're adding content as we find it, so if you have anything to share on the whereabouts of a favorite of yours, contact David Webster.

Meanwhile if you'd like to peruse a full list of Williams faculty from each of your years at Williams, click on the
following to download a perusable pdf: 

Freshman Year (1968-69)
Sophomore Year (1969-70)
Junior Year (1970-71)
Senior Year (1971-72)

Thursday
Jan312013

Prof. Bruton

Included in Ephnotes, Volume 19, Number 2 (February 2013) was this letter from President Falk, on the Passing of Henry J. Bruton...

To the Williams Community,

I am sad to report the death of a central figure in the recent history of the Department of Economics and particularly of the Center for Development Economics—Henry Bruton, the John J. Gibson Professor of Economics, Emeritus.

Henry was worldly wise, in the best sense of the term, as his teaching, which began here in 1962, was informed by many long-term engagements spent embedded within economic policy-making processes in countries as diverse as Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria, and the Philippines.

Based on this experience, he taught for many years one of the central courses at the CDE on general approaches to development, in which he prodded students to explore large questions: What is economic development? What does growth mean? Generations of CDE fellows held him in awe and maintained relationships with him despite the barriers of distance.

In recent years he contributed work to the Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education.

He served as chair of both the department and the center, and he chaired the committee that devised the Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Through his fieldwork and the influence of his many students in positions of authority around the world, Henry’s stature far exceeded his frail frame. Likewise, a pronounced stutter was for Henry no impediment—he merely made sure that each hard fought word was a gem.

Our thoughts are with his family at this time. We will circulate news of arrangements when they are known.

Regards,

Adam Falk

To read the obituary from the North Adams Transcript, click here.

Friday
May032013

Prof. DeWitt 

In his message to the Williams Community early this month (May '13), President Falk wrote:

"I’m shocked to have to report to you that Bill DeWitt, professor of biology, died at home yesterday afternoon. A member of the Class of 1961, Bill has been a mainstay of the biology department and the college since his return to Williams in 1967. It’s hard to imagine his not being among us. The many students who knew and admired him include the large number he taught in Biology 101."  

To read Bill's obituary, click hereIt indicates his family's request that in lieu of flowers or other gifts, any donations made in Bill's name go to either the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation or the Yellowstone Park Foundation.  

There is also an outstanding piece about Bill in the Williams Record.  To read it, click here.

The Williams website has set up an In Memoriam page, and there are several posts there, from Bill's students (current and past), which may be of interest to read as you remember him.  Click here to link to the page.

As you may know, Bill was married to our classmate, Mary Lou Brady DeWitt.  If you want to reach out to Mary Lou via email, click here.

 

Wednesday
Oct102012

Prof. Friedrich

The Fall 2012 Williams Magazine included an In Memoriam tribute to Robert Friedrich:

Friedrichs, professor of sociology, emeritus, was the first to teach courses in that field at Williams. He spent more than 20 years at the college and served as chair of the department of sociology and anthropology. He was particularly interested in the sociology of religionand of science and in the societies of Asia. His 1972 book A Sociology of Sociology won the American Sociological Association’s coveted Sorokin Award. Read his obituary at http://bit.ly/Friedrichs.

Saturday
Jul232016

Prof. Hill

Posted by Williams College on its website:

To the Williams Community,

I was saddened to learn over the weekend that Victor E. Hill IV, the Thomas T. Read Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus, has passed away. He was 76.

Victor was known widely not only as a math professor but also as an accomplished harpsichordist-organist. He played more than 900 concerts throughout the U.S. and Europe, and for many years was organist-choirmaster at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Williamstown. From time to time, he would need help moving his harpsichord into Griffin Hall or out to the Clark for a concert. He usually would enlist several strong students to help, but occasionally a fellow faculty member. I am told he took great pride in his custom-built harpsichord, moving it a day before a concert so it could adjust to ambient temperature and he could tune it.

From 1982 until 2011, he served as archivist for the Association of Anglican Musicians, an international organization of professionals in the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Church of England. Since 1996 he had been a member of the editorial board of the Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians, and from 1998 to 2010 was the association’s recordings reviewer. His most requested talk and performance was “The Mathematical Aspects of the Music of Bach,” and he also performed in a concert series he founded at Williams. Additionally, he was well known for his performances of the complete “Art of Fugue” by J.S. Bach.

“One of my reasons for coming to Williams was because I was looking for a liberal arts college that would accept music as a part of my life—as a legitimate part of my work—and I found one here,” Victor wrote many years ago for a publication highlighting faculty. Indeed, with his interest in math, music, and religion, Victor exemplified the liberal arts ideal of interdisciplinary studies.

Victor came to Williams in 1966 following undergraduate work at the Carnegie Institute of Technology and graduate work at the University of Wisconsin and University of Oregon. His principal mathematical interests were in group representation theory and the history of mathematics. Over the years, he also taught courses in mathematical logic, mathematics of finance, and he taught a popular Winter Study course on C.S. Lewis. He was the author of Groups, Representations, and Characters (Hafner/Macmillan 1975) and Groups and Characters (Chapman & Hall, 2000); he published scholarly articles in both mathematics and music. He retired from Williams in 2006.

As a faculty member, he was admired for his teaching, and he was very active in his fields of study, belonging to numerous groups and associations in both mathematics and music. When not on campus or performing music, Victor loved swimming and canoeing at his summer home on a lake near Sturbridge, Mass.

Surviving are a daughter, Victoria Hill Resnick; a son, Christopher Hill; and two granddaughters.

I haven’t heard news yet about services for Victor, but will pass that information along in Daily Messages once I do.

Our thoughts are with Victor’s family and friends.

Regards,

Adam Falk
President

To read the obituary from the Berkshire Eagle, click here.

Thursday
Jan192012

Prof. Park

From the Williams Alumni Review, March 2012...

Monday
Jun032013

Prof. Rudolph

In a message to the Williams Community early this month (June 3, 2013), President Falk wrote:

The college, and in fact higher education, lost this morning an important, even historic, figure: Fred Rudolph.

Fred served the college in so many ways. As a student, he was a junior advisor, a member of College Council and of Gargoyle, and editor of The Williams Record. As an alumnus he served as president and 50th reunion chair of the Class of 1942.Fred Rudolph

Most notably, few faculty in the past half century have had more of a hand in the development of the Williams curriculum than did Fred after joining the history department in 1951, including with the introduction of what we now call the American studies program and of African-American history. He served also as college marshal, as administrator of the Tyng Bequest, and as a member of the Committee on Admitting Women, the Bicentennial Commission, and the Visiting Committee of the Williams College Museum of Art. Alumni of several generations have paid tribute to the quality of his teaching by citing the strong positive influence he had on their academic and personal lives.

More broadly Fred married his love of American history and love of Williams to write pioneering works in the history of higher education. His Ph.D. thesis at Yale became Mark Hopkins and The Log, an insightful look at not just Williams, but of colleges and universities in general, and of the social and political history of the nineteenth century. He followed this with two classic texts in the field: The American College and University: A History and Curriculum: A History of the American Undergraduate Course of Study Since 1636. Few texts considered definitive in their field are so engagingly written, and for decades it was almost impossible to obtain an advanced degree in higher education without studying either or both of these books.

For all of this and more, Williams bestowed on Fred a Bicentennial Medal and one of his several honorary degrees, and established the Frederick Rudolph ’42 – Class of 1965 Professorship of American Culture.

Our thoughts are with his family. We will relay information about arrangements when they are known.

 

Tuesday
Feb071995

Prof. Sawyer (known at Williams as President Sawyer)

Below is a "memorial minute" written by Prof. J. Hodge Markgraf (Williams Class of 1952) at the time of President Sawyer's death.

Williams College President 1961-1973

In this nation, in this century, Jack Sawyer was a giant among leaders of higher education, among executives of philanthropic foundations, and among the pioneers in environmental studies. To all of these endeavors he brought high intelligence, wide knowledge, humanistic values and keen analysis.

It is his impact on this college that brought him national prominence and it is that leadership which this memorial minute celebrates. Jack's involvement with Williams started early. He came to campus with his father, Class of '08, and his brother, Class of '37, before his own matriculation here as a freshman in September 1935. By the time he graduated magna cum laude with Highest Honors in History (he was the first thesis student of President James Phinney Baxter), he had joined a fraternity, been elected to Phi Beta Kappa, sung in the Glee Club, worked on the Gul , served as a Junior Advisor, and helped edit the Purple Cow magazine. The Class of 1939 was unique in this century because it provided four distinguished members of this faculty: in addition to Jack, they were Jim Burns, Bill Gates, and Jack Savacool.

Jack Sawyer's next official connection to Williams came in 1952, when he was appointed a permanent trustee at age 34. He was named our 11th president in 1961; at age 44 he was the youngest Williams president in this century. He served as president for 12 years and, when he left in 1973, every aspect of this college was transformed: students, faculty, curriculum, administration, trustees, alumni, finances, and physical plant. It is difficult to convey the scope and manner of these changes. Within days of his arrival here he appointed a committee to study the fraternity question, and he had its report in less than a year. The trustees' decision to replace fraternities with a residential house system set the stage for the construction of housing and dining facilities. A new record for annual alumni giving that winter of 1962-1963 helped dispel the notion that alumni were upset over this bold move. It should come as no surprise that the Alumni Fund outdid itself. Behind the scenes, generous donors assured Jack the goal would be exceeded, an action that thwarted a pro-fraternity group calling for funds to be withheld. At the same time, Jack experimented with more flexible admissions criteria (the so called 10% program), ended compulsory attendance for the classroom and the chapel, instituted paid assistant professor leaves, created the offices of provost and dean of the faculty, and was persuaded by four science faculty (only one of whom was tenured) to build a science center for research and computing.

In mid-decade he took the lead in revising the curriculum to include non-western studies, changing the college calendar to create the Winter Study Program, establishing the first center for environmental studies at the college level, increasing the number of African-American students, expanding the recruitment of women and minorities for faculty and administration positions, and completing a capital campaign eight times the scale of the previous one.

At the end of the decade he helped create the Twelve College Exchange Program, he engineered the change to coeducation here more sensitively than any other institution undergoing the same transition, and he was one of the leaders in establishing the New England Small College Athletic Conference. His last curricular contribution was the Graduate Program in the History of Art. Throughout the decade he increased the diversity of trustee membership by including women, minorities, and young alumni.

These extraordinary changes, for the most part, met with ready acceptance and surprising harmony. Jack's presidency, however, was not without stress. There was the expected hostility from some alumni over the demise of fraternities, and there were objections from similar quarters over the coeducation decision. Internally, younger faculty in 1968 were expressing displeasure with an entrenched committee structure that dominated faculty governance. The result was the Faculty Steering Committee, the introduction of term limits for committee assignments, the addition of students to most faculty committees, and limited attendance by students at faculty meetings. In 1969 black students occupied offices in Hopkins Hall to protest deficiencies in the curriculum, in social and cultural events, and in admissions as they related to Afro-American concerns. What followed were increased staffing, funding, and diversity in the Afro-American Studies Program, in social and cultural events, in admissions and administrative activities.

Finally, in May 1970 the U.S. government's military actions in southeast Asia, especially the Cambodian incursion, resulted in protests on many campuses. The deep feelings expressed by students and faculty at Williams, shared by Jack, led to the canceling of the last two weeks of classes and the suspension or postponement of final exams. Those were the easy moves. He then organized delegations of students, faculty, and trustees to call on members of Congress to press the case for disengagement. It was characteristic of him to insist that a trustee be part of each delegation in order to demonstrate a consensus within this college community. These public crises were not easy for Jack because many of the college's constituencies were neither shy nor uncertain about offering advice. The fact that we survived as well as we did is testimony to his leadership and that of many others.

Throughout his public career Jack's leadership reflected his sense of stewardship. He was acutely aware that the institutions he led were entrusted to him for only a short time and that prior events implied both limitations and opportunities. Above all else, however, he aspired to lead a life that was useful and, in doing so here, his vision for Williams redefined this college. His multiple initiatives were all part of a larger schema. His horizon was further and his sight was clearer than most of his contemporaries. He was wise, compassionate, witty, gracious, and extraordinarily well read. He cared foremost about people and ideas. His desire to effect meaningful change and his ability to chart the clearest pathway sometimes resulted in an attention to detail that not everyone appreciated. In observing these situations, I was convinced that such micromanagement did not stem from pettiness or a need for power, but rather from an unavoidable desire to have everyone's energies coherent and focused.

Sometimes his analytical prowess could not be restrained. During CAP interviews with faculty candidates, he occasionally became so engaged with their description of the doctoral thesis that he would redesign their expositions and suggest an additional chapter or two, citing the key primary literature that ought to be consulted. Applicants' responses ranged from barely-concealed resentment to profound gratitude.

The biographical facts are these. John Edward Sawyer was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, on 5 May 1917. He attended Deerfield Academy, obtained an A.B. degree from Williams, and earned an A.M. degree from Harvard in 1941. He completed all requirements for a Ph.D. except the thesis before serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1946, assigned to the Office of Strategic Services in Washington, North Africa and Europe. He than returned to Harvard as a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows (1946-1949) and as an Assistant Professor (1949-1953). He was an Associate Professor at Yale University (1953-1961) before becoming President of Williams College (1961-1973). In 1974 he became Vice President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and served as its President from 1975 until his retirement in 1987 at age 70.

His many honors included the U.S. Navy Bronze Star medal, thirteen honorary degrees, the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal, the Phi Beta Kappa Award for Distinguished Service to the Humanities, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Chairman's Award, and the Williams College Bicentennial Medal.

In June 1941 he married Anne Swift, who in 1984 was the first recipient of the college's Ephraim Williams Medal. Jack Sawyer died in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, on 7 February 1995 at age 77.

His foremost legacy is this college. His life was splendidly useful.

SOURCES:
Markgraf, J. Hodge. "John Edward Sawyer." 8 March 1995. Williams College Faculty Meeting Minutes. Williams College Archives.

Monday
Mar192012

Prof. Scheffey

Andrew Scheffey, conservation pioneer
By Daily Hampshire Gazette
Created 03/26/2012 - 5:00am

LEVERETT - Andrew J.W. Scheffey, 84, an advocate of planning for the preservation and proper use of the public environment since the 1950s, died at home on March 19, 2012.

A longtime resident of Leverett, Mr. Scheffey gave title of the family land purchased there over 40 years ago to the town and state for preservation and recreational use.

He cared deeply for the natural world and spent much time working to preserve open space as a resource for spiritual renewal and planetary health.

His book, "Conservation Commissions in Massachusetts, 1969" describes the rise of conservation as an active land policy. In his work, Mr. Scheffey cared as much for the human condition as he did the natural world, seeing clearly their interdependence. He worked to develop global awareness of human need and its impact on Earth's various ecosystems.

After 25 years of teaching at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Mr. Scheffey retired in 1988 as professor emeritus of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning. He is remembered by many as a provocative and inspirational teacher whose lectures integrated the philosophical and practical aspects of the newly emerging conservation and land use movement with his concern and passion for the subject. During his career at UMass, Mr. Scheffey introduced interdisciplinary studies and involvement of resource specialists at the undergraduate level to deepen students' concerns for the effect of man's decisions on the landscape.

He also taught three years at Williams College, where he established the ongoing Center for Environmental Studies and became its first director in 1967. Part of this process included making the program more gender-equal, as at that time the field was primarily dominated by men.

The center had particular interest in "the hinterlands" regions, 50 to 150 miles from metropolitan centers. It brought together public citizens and corporate and government leaders to regionalize planning of complex issues for helping to maintain the quality of New England's water, land and air.

Throughout this period, he had numerous advisory roles at the state and national levels, and in 1966 during the Johnson administration he became program chairman for the White House Conference on Natural Beauty, which assessed all of America's recreation resources.

Andrew Scheffey was born Feb. 27, 1928, in Lansdowne, Pa. He graduated from Haverford College and then worked two years in rural southern Mexico as an alternative to military service during the Korean War. He received a master's degree and doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1958 and, with his wife, Alice Scheffey, began four years of development work overseas, in Mexico and with the International Cooperation Administration in Seoul, South Korea.

Throughout his life, summers were spent in the Berkshires at a small cabin where in later years he worked with the Trustees of Reservations to preserve a large acreage from development. Andrew had a great love for life and showed this through his appreciation for nature, music, poetry and animals; through his love of parties, food, friends and family; through noticing the changing light over the moments of a day and the season, in the sky and in the meadow, and through physical work, reflection and solitude.

He leaves his wife, Alice Scheffey, writer, of Leverett; three children, Mia Scheffey, artist, of Brattleboro, Vt., Heston Scheffey, cabinetmaker, of Contoocook, N.H., and Elizabeth Scheffey, teacher, of Leverett; a brother, two sisters, and five grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at the Leverett Congregational Church in the center of Leverett at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 31. In place of flowers, send gifts of remembrance in Andrew's name to the Rattlesnake Gutter Trust, Box 195, Leverett, MA 01054. Burial will be private. Arrangements are under the direction of Walker Funeral Home, 14 High St., Greenfield.

Daily Hampshire Gazette © 2011 All rights reserved

 

Sunday
Jul082012

Prof. Shainman

The Passing of Irwin Shainman 

Letter from the President (from EphNotes, July 2012)

To the Williams Community,

The earth beneath the college tilted yesterday with the death of Irwin Shainman, Class of 1955 Professor of Music, Emeritus, and a fixture here almost continuously since his arrival in 1948. Irwin Shainman

Once a bugler for his Scout troop in the Bronx, he went on to earn the Premier Prix in trumpet at the Paris Conservatory. He played professionally in and around New York City, but, as he told it, while crouching in a fox hole in eastern France during World War II, where he earned two Purple Hearts, he said to a buddy in the next hole, “If I ever get out of this alive, I’m going to find myself a small college in New England with a small music department.”

That he did, to the great enrichment of that college and of generations of its students, so many of whom credit him with their appreciation of and passion for music.

He eventually chaired that no longer small department and served as acting dean of the faculty. He conducted the Berkshire Symphony and led what evolved into the Moo Cow Marching Band. For his many contributions to music at Williams, the large rehearsal hall in Bernhard is named after him.

He also left his mark on the cultural scene by co-founding the Williamstown Theatre Festival, which he later served as president.

At the same time, Irwin was the best company you could have—at the dinner table or on the golf course. He was naturally personable, was erudite without pretension, and could be hilariously and devastatingly funny. You smiled just seeing him approach you on the street.

A formal obituary may be read here.

A public celebration of Irwin’s life will be held at a later date. Meanwhile, our thoughts are with his family, including his wife Bernice, daughter Joan ’76, and son Jack.

Regards,
Adam Falk
President

Tuesday
Dec032013

Prof. Winston

As reported in the Spring 2014 Williams Magazine, Gordon E. Winston, the college's Orrin Sage Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus, died on Dec. 3 at the age of 84.

Winston joined the economics faculty at Williams in 1963 and focused primarily on economic development. He was influential in the growth of Williams’ Center for Development Economics and served as head of the Yale University Pakistan Project in Karachi, Pakistan. Over time his intellectual interests grew to include capital and production theory, consumption theory and, ultimately, the economics of higher education—a field that he helped shape by developing tools focused on bringing greater justice to the higher education system. His many op-ed pieces and media appearances are known to have influenced policy debates in the U.S.

He also served Williams as chairman of the economics department, director of the Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education and provost.