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In November’s edition of Hamilton Headlines, we asked readers to take a moment to think back on their time on College Hill and answer: What class did you take at Hamilton that you are most thankful for today and why? Five respondents were randomly selected to receive a small prize; they are — Akay Kaya ’25, Tianne Strombeck ’81, John-Andrew Forde ’86, Katrin Belenky Peck K’72, and Daniel Hayden ’93.

Here is a sample of readers' comments:

Happiness; it has the best professor and an interesting curriculum as well as great student involvement.
— Mike Altman ’23

Genes and Genomes with Professor Natalie Nannas. It helped me further develop my critical thinking skills, laid the foundation for my senior thesis, and inspired me to continue genetics research in medical school.
— Acacia Bowden ’20

Freshman English 111. Great for grammar, syntax, vocabulary.
— Tom Crane ’61

I’m most thankful for my course in Expository Writing. I learned that the key to good writing is rewriting. Each week, we had to leave a draft of our essay on reserve in the library (I’m old) for all members of the class to read and critique. This sort of scrutiny taught me to read my own work with a critical eye. That was invaluable when I became an appellate lawyer in the New York attorney general’s office.
— Peter Crary ’68

Looking At Movies by Austin Briggs
— John-Andrew Forde ’86

Race and Capitalism! Celeste Day-Moore is such a wonderful professor, and the course material was so interesting and relevant.
— Amanda Ghiloni ’22

Public Speaking — I don't do that much public speaking, but I do a lot of communicating.  This class helps you think through how to communicate effectively to different types of audiences. I do recall Professor Wright emphasizing that communication really matters when you have something you really care about getting across.
— Daniel Hayden ’93

Europe and Its Empires (History-104). The class taught me how to write. Professor Grant had high expectations. He worked with me at every stage of the essay writing process, and helped elevate my writing to the college level. I also learned a lot about European history. The course motivated me to declare history as a major. I’m forever thankful for Professor Grant and HIST-104.  I can write and I know more about myself.
— Akay Kaya ’25

Introduction to the History and Theory of Film. It exposed me to a lot of film I never knew existed and exposed me to thinking about film critically. I also gained a lot of stamina in that class from watching films as well as writing about them. Now I have the foundation necessary to understand film as well as critically discuss and write about them.
— Jason Le ’23

Three classes — Writing for Publication, Alex Haley; 20th-Century American Drama and Southern Fiction, Fred Wagner.
— Stephen Paskoff ’72

I am most thankful for Professor Ursula Colby’s Freshman Literature Core Course at Kirkland. Professor Colby was a “force of nature” scholar. She guided students in a brand new college in reading and writing about the ancient Greek plays. She had  aplomb and purpose. She helped me to hone my essay writing style with keen awareness. Her constructive  criticism to me was: “ Katrin, you do not need to qualify the qualifications of your qualifications in your writing”. She urged me to major in Literature, which I have always profoundly adored. However, my heart was in the Social Sciences. Her teaching helped me to write analytically and clearly for the rest of my life. She taught me that in writing  less is more powerful than more.  This skill has been SO central to my two careers; the first in Corporate Law and the second in Fundraising. Even though I chose a less travelled road in 1976 as a pioneer “woman lawyer” and not as an academic, Mrs. Colby’s teachings have helped me immeasurably to be a thoughtful writer. Most significantly, her teachings have helped me to be a more efficient thinker and a successful lawyer and fundraiser.
— Katrin Belenky Peck K’72

Intro to Chinese because it opened up a whole new world of opportunities for me. The ability to speak Chinese with my family members is priceless.
— Jason Porter ’26

Public Speaking
— Hans Solmssen ’59

Intro to Photography.  I found my medium that reflects how I see the world.  I now have photographs published in magazines and books with a global distribution.  I am able to use my art to promote conservation and education.
— Tianne Strombeck ’81

Colonial American History. The course provided a foundation for my lifetime love of American history.
— Stephen J. Tafaro ’73

Europe in World Affairs
— Claire Terraillon ’06

Bias in the Media – Winter Study 1971, taught by James Lincoln Collier ’51
— Tommy Thompson ’73

GOV 117 International Relations with Professor Channing Richardson. That class, and his mentorship throughout all four years at Hamilton (and beyond), set me on my entire career path in international relations, from a State Department internship during my Washington semester (with a Hamilton alum, Ambassador Arnold Raphael), to applying to and choice of graduate school, to eventual positions in the State Department and, currently, the Naval War College. Without my interest being sparked in the topic by his class, and his gentle encouragement of me over my years at Hamilton, I have no idea where I would be professionally today.
— Andrew “Drew” Winner ’84

Shakespeare
— Janet Wollam K’72

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