Raybeck Presented With Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award
Fourth Recipient of Award That Honors Involvement in Hamilton Community
April 10, 2006
Professor of Anthropology Douglas A. Raybeck was presented with the Hamilton Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award during Volunteer Weekend activities, April 7-9. Given annually, the award recognizes an employee who has substantially contributed to Hamilton through distinguished performance in his or her position and through involvement in student, alumni or other activities in the College community. Previous winners include former Hamilton President Gene Tobin, Professor of Theatre Carole Bellini-Sharp and Director of Audiovisual Services Tim Hicks.
The citation presented to Raybeck by Alumni Association President Melissa Joyce-Rosen '86 noted "As a psychological anthropologist, you help us understand what makes us tick, from why we make New Year's resolutions to why we forgive. But it's in the day-to-day, personal interactions with countless students over the past three-and-a-half decades that you have made the most enduring imprint ...
"Known for your stinginess with A's and for assigning substantial research papers, your courses -- from Cultural Anthropology, to Nonverbal Communication, to Anthropology of Deviance -- are nonetheless among the first to be filled to capacity. Your creativity in the classroom is perhaps best exemplified in the Cultural Simulation Seminar, an interactive, technology-intensive venture where students work collaboratively to create and maintain a community of the future while adjusting to glitches that 'Lord Raybeck' throws at them along the way. So innovative is your course that you and your students have been invited to present their projects at national conferences of scientists, technologists, anthropologists and writers engaged in serious speculation about the future.
"Over the years your research has taken you many times back to the same Malaysian village, most recently in the summer of 2005 to study semantic relations and modernization. Your work has received support from such organizations as the National Institutes of Health and NASA, but it is your students who have given you the highest kudos. You received the Christian A. Johnson "Excellence in Teaching" Professorship in 1993. Next came the prestigious Samuel and Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2003, presented for superior teaching and for having a significant and positive impact on students. In nominating you, one student noted: 'This person is a legend.'"
In accepting his award, Raybeck offered a limerick that summed up his career at Hamilton:
"A young man from Chester, New Hampshire
Was in search of job without pressure.
He thought he knew best,
'Till he ended up stressed.
Still, the work gave him much pleasure.
After teaching for years at college,
He was then forced to acknowledge
It's not about facts,
Nor even abstracts.
It's not even really about knowledge.
If he may make a suggestion,
During your dinner digestion.
It is about thoughts
Rather than oughts.
It is really all about the question.
The product of a good education
Is not very prone to vacillation.
While not a believer,
Nor an overachiever,
This person pursues individuation.
If the money wasn't all it could be,
This job has greatly rewarded me.
My students gave back
Far more than I lack,
And created an extended family."
Raybeck arrived on the Hill in 1970 as an instructor at Kirkland College. When the two colleges merged, Raybeck continued building the anthropology department as well as strengthening the program in Asian studies.