200 Days in the Life of the College

Tuesday, October 26

Constitution or Commencement, he can take the long view

By Nick Stagliano ’11

When Frank Anechiarico ’71 left the Hill as a newly minted Hamilton alumnus 40 years ago, he knew he would one day be back on campus, figuring it would be as the member of a returning reunion class. But after the young scholar of political science earned his master’s degree and doctorate from Indiana University, he found himself back on the Hill as a member of the faculty. Thus began a distinguished teaching career that today finds Anechiarico, the Maynard-Knox Professor of Government and Law and a campus legend, particularly renowned for his stewardship of Con Law.

Returning to Hamilton as a professor after having been a student in the same classes he now teaches has given Anechiarico a unique perspective — and a front-​row seat to campus change. As he notes, he graduated a year before the Charter Class of Kirkland College did and returned two years before the Kirkland-Hamilton merger. When Anechiarico was a student, the Red Pit classroom in Kirner-Johnson belonged to the Kirkland women, who, as was their custom, sat on the floor.

This afternoon students are instead making use of the room’s new (and still very red) upholstered seats as Anechiarico conducts his popular Survey of Constitutional Law course. As he does every year, Anechiarico is exploring the world of Supreme Court jurisprudence. Although each class covers much of the same material, he says, “I never tire of it. Each time I teach, for instance, Griswold v. Connecticut, I learn something new, both in the way I interpret it and the way students respond to it.”

Anechiarico teaches other courses and also oversees the Hamilton program in Washington, D.C., but his new pet project is the development of a new minor, Jurisprudence, Law and Justice Studies. It will draw from different disciplines, including philosophy, sociology and women’s studies. According to Anechiarico, it’s been a long time coming.
“We’re not trying to reinvent law school, but the law is a nice focus for the liberal arts,” he says. “It emphasizes speaking, writing and logic, a natural fit for Hamilton.”