In September's Hamilton Headlines, we introduced “Know Thyselves” a poll for alumni readers. We received 111 responses to the question: Have you been back in touch with a Hamilton professor since you graduated? 85% indicated YES, while 15% said NO.

In addition, 58 alumni shared comments, many of which are found below. We randomly selected five to receive a prize for participating. Congratulations to William Baxter ’68, Liz Keogh ’94, John Refermat ’91, August Keating ’10, and Janelly Valdez ’15. (See our newest poll and participate for a chance to win.)


question markHave you been back in touch with a Hamilton professor since you graduated? 


Professor Datta never fails to put a smile on my face, even after graduation. — Leili Aliyari ’20

I’ve spoken with Austin Briggs and Ivan Marki, my two favorite English Lit professors. It was absolutely delightful reconnecting with them after so many years, and we marveled at how the time has flown by. We also marveled at how easily we were able to pick up conversations we had begun in the 1970s! Truly wonderful experiences! — Mike Barlow ’75

I have played golf a few times with Dr. Robin Kinnel. A terrific professor and mentor. I hope he is still well and driving the ball 250 yards off the tee. — William Baxter ’68

About 10 years ago, I was in touch with Hong Gang Jin but have lost touch with her. [I] would love to get her email to be in touch with her again now because in the article [in the last Hamilton magazine], it says she lives in Orange County, where I live. — Moon Cho ’91

I reached out to get recommendations for grad school. I ended up writing a recommendation for tenure in return! — Meg Clary ’11

Rob Kolb invited me to the Choir Dinner and to join the Alumni Choir in 2012 even though I’d not sung in the Choir. — William Cooper ’82

Met up to have cannoli and discuss life in Buffalo, N.Y. — Kevin Coppola ’07

After graduation, I moved to NYC and sent Professor Wertimer a thank-you note for being an incredible mentor and friend to me at Hamilton (and for helping me pass his accounting class), and he sent me one of the loveliest notes I have ever received it my life, which I framed, and it hangs in my apartment to this day. — Elizabeth Crispino ’01

Ted Eismeier (gov’t prof) and his wife, Betsy, housed me for several nights while I was trekking the Appalachian Trail (which I’ve since completed). It was 20 years since I had seen him! — Azure Davey ’00

Professor Richard Hunt and I have been keeping in touch through snail mail! He sent me and the rest of my education practicum class letters while we were quarantined at the end of the 2020 school year, and he and I have been in touch ever since. — Gianna Dischiavo ’20

I sent Edwin Barrett a letter telling him that his Shakespeare class was tremendously helpful in making me a good medical clinician. It arrived on his 65th birthday, and he wrote a thank-you back. — Rob Dretler ’72

I prepared and gave a seminar about silicone chemistry to undergraduate chem students with interaction from Drs. Kinnel and Cratty (with whom I studied while at Hamilton in 1964-68. — Richard Eckberg ’68

Don and Jane Potter invited us to stay with them whenever we were in Clinton, even if they were out of town. Don would say, “You know where the key is; just be sure to lock up when you leave.” — Wil Everhart ’70

I have so many, but a great memory is of having lunch with Bob Simon at the golf club at Turning Stone. It was a beautiful day, awesome facility, great food, and of course he knew everyone. After lunch Bob saw some friends teeing off nearby, and we spontaneously walked half the course with them! — Carolyn Fichera ’00

I was a young reporter assigned to cover the Metropolitan Opera-produced Aida in the IU football stadium with live elephants and cast of hundreds. It was so mammoth, LIFE magazine planned a 12-page color section. I had never been to an opera. So I called the famous professor Ed Barrett and asked for help. He relieved my anxiety and injected me with insights. I guess my story was pretty decent because the director of the world-renowned IU Music School dropped me a complimentary note. Two months later I attended my first Big Ten football game. Nobody asked me for a Hamilton football-inspired comment. — Sean Fitzpatrick ’63

Sent a postcard with a life update. — Niamh Fitzpatrick ’20

The late Dr. Duncan Chiquoine: Reinvigorated all my College enthusiasm and optimism many years after I graduated. His memory often directs my professional and social compass. — Mark Flomenbaum ’71

I had the most lovely conversation with Rebecca Murtaugh and Sarah Scalet ’15 at a Wellin in NYC event! — Ashlie Flood ’15

Early in my career in educational publishing, I worked closely with Professor James B. Davis. The late Mr. Davis taught French and was the director of the Hamilton College Junior Year in France, 1968. Mr. and Mrs. Davis went out of their way to make sure all of the program’s students had the best-possible experience in France. Mr. Davis was an early proponent of Computer Assisted Language Learned (CAll) and the author of one of the first commercially published French instructional software programs, published by D.C. Heath and Company, in 1984. — James Anthony Harmon ’70

Ed Lee was responsible for my staying in college and finding a way to graduate. In a piece after I wrote about him on the occasion of my 25th reunion, we corresponded. — Ross Hatch ’62

Contacting to catch up and let them know how well I’ve been doing thanks to their support. — Oni Heard ’11

I regularly see Tom Jones, Charlotte Beck, and Nathan Goodale at the Society for American Archaeology meetings (or did pre-pandemic) and have also gotten to see Bonnie Urciuoli at American Anthropological Association meetings. It is also great to catch up, see what they have been up to, and tell them about what I have been doing. — Rachel Horowitz ’09

I visited campus this fall to assist with orientation trips and caught up with my old thesis advisor in the lab! — Sarah Hossain ’18

Bill Rosenfeld and I have continued to exchange cards and letters in the 25+ years since I’ve graduated. He’s been a mentor, friend, and cheerleader to me long after I left the Hill. In fact, this reminds me I owe him a letter! — Jennifer Klein Hudak ’93

I met up with Martine Guyot-Bender in Paris! I was there as an assistant English teacher, working at a high school, and Martine was leading the latest group of Hamilton students for their junior year in Paris. — Katie Joyce ’13

1971, I visited Ed Barrett while considering the possibility of medical practice in Clinton. — Martin Kay ’67

A handful of my fav econ professors such as Prof Owen and Prof Jensen. Most exchanges were related to the current state of economy or market trends! Mostly exchanging some thoughts and opinions on pertinent/timely industry topics — lots of nerding out. — August Keating ’10

I'm Facebook friends with Professor Balkan — I love seeing what he’s up to as he was one of my favorite economics professors on the Hill! — Liz Keogh ’94

Professor WJ Chang and I grabbed coffee at the science center while watching an enormous snow storm hit campus in February of 2020. Happy to have snuck in a visit with him prior to the pandemic! — Truman Landowski ’17

I was in touch with Rocky Rockwell until he died.  I am still in touch with his son Win. — William Burgess Leavenworth ’65

I have had lovely meals with Doug and Karen Raybeck in Clinton and now Amherst, Mass. I have lunched with the Rabinowitz on campus on many occasions. I am lucky since my work brings me back to the Hill! — Julie Leitman ’82

I was Hamilton student in the 1960s. In those years a well-known and well-documented traumatizing rite of passage for Hamilton freshmen during second semester English class was to create two “Yes” essays of about 500 words each. A “Yes” essay had no identifiable mistakes in English usage. We turned in an essay ever Friday. That gave us 13 opportunities to earn a coveted “Yes.” However, my professor, Austin Briggs, was a master at finding English mistakes, and we were not skilled writers. So, my essays were always returned generously slathered with his red marks, and they always had a prominent “No” written at the top. Many weeks went by. The semester only had a few weeks left. I began to feel despondent. I thought that the requirement for two “Yes” essays would defeat me, and I would fail the course! But then I received a letter of encouragement from Professor Briggs. He pointed out a few patterns to my mistakes and added other suggestions. The two “Yes” essays came soon after. I saw Professor Briggs at a reunion years later, and I thanked him again for that extra help. I recall we sat for a while in one of the reunion tents and talked about the impact of pursuing those two “Yes” essays. He shared how time-consuming it was to mark up all the errors we made in our essays early in the semester. I shared how grateful I was that he did so and how even basic writing skills had been so helpful to my first decade or so in business. He was a great guy and his caring had a substantial impact on my Hamilton experience. — Roger Lewis ’64

I just visited the professor who lead my Hamilton in Washington Program as he’s back in DC leading the program once again! — Maggie Luddy ’20

I returned to Hamilton after completing my master of computer science and reconnected with Frank Price — who taught me biology (my Hamilton major) and then became head of academic computing after I graduated from Hamilton. — Mark Mancuso ’84

At my five-year reunion, I talked with a lot of my math professors at the picnic! — Laura Mark ’10

I've been on calls with Rob and Lauralyn Kolb as we did the Carissima sing in the Spring 2020, in addition to reunions. — Ken Mattsson ’87

Two memories, the first recent. Earlier this year (2021), I emailed Bonnie Krueger, professor of French, to congratulate her on her retirement and to thank her for introducing me to Marie de France and Chrétien de Troyes. Her class helped me to become a medievalist. The second memory dates from 1983, on Commencement day, just after the ceremony, so it does qualify as a connection after I graduated. I ran into Ed Barrett, beloved teacher of Shakespeare, as I was carrying my cane. Professor Barrett asked me if I knew the significance of Hamilton’s distinctive graduation gift. “It’s because you are an old man now,” he said. “Best of luck, old boy.” I never saw him again, but I will never forget those words. — Jim Morey ’83

My thesis advisor and I have stayed in touch, preparing our research for manuscript submission! — Clare Munroe ’18

I reconnected with my thesis advisor when I was exploring career options. I was working in a biology research lab in COVID and thought I wanted to leave the field of research, but was scared to leave it behind for good. She didn’t tell me the right or wrong path to choose, but instead asked the right questions to make me think about what I really want to do. Even after Hamilton, she’s been an amazing advisor! Plus, I got to congratulate her on the new baby. — Katherine O’Malley ’19

There have been quite a few, really, but most recently I have spoken to my old lacrosse coach Manfred von Schiller several times. I’m amazed — or maybe not so amazed because the guy was a bull of a man back when he coached us in the 1960s — that at 91 he’s still out there working in his orchard. He can’t walk much, and he can’t see very well, but he’s still at it! A remarkable man. I loved playing for him, and I still regard him with great affection. — John Pitarresi ’70

It's great staying in touch with Professors Ted Eismeier and James Bradfield on social media, both for ongoing discussions of issues and keeping up with them personally. — John Refermat ’91

Visited with Jim Fankhauser in Vancouver, B.C., years ago when he was conducting a performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor. Spent a week skiing with Jim and Mary at Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops, B.C., in 2010. We used to share Christmas letters, but we have not been in touch for the past few years. — Richard Russell ’68

Working with Kristen Burson on research! — Hudson Smith ’21

I enjoyed catching up with Professor Bob Simon and his wife, Joy, at Fairfield County events and when visiting Hamilton at various times until his passing. It was also an honor to attend Professor Simon's memorial service in 2018. — Alexandra Stevens ’95

My husband (also a Hamilton grad) and I met up with Prof. Isserman when he was in our hometown of Chicago promoting his book. — Catherine Durkin Stewart ’00

I had a regular handwritten note correspondence over 20 years with professor “Asian Ed” Lee. That was after he gave me permission to share a treasure trove of his recorded lectures that I found on cassettes in a shoe box in my attic. I had the tapes digitally restored for the college library. “The Awakening of the Buddha.” “Indian Statecraft.” “Taoism.” “Jainism.” All in his lilting North Carolina gentleman’s storyteller voice. He is gone now, but his brilliance is forever. — Walter Stugis ’76

He wasn’t a professor, but I had dealings with Hadley “Stretch” DePuy while I was Student Senate treasurer (1971-72). Years later, when we both lived in the Albany, N.Y., area, my wife, Jane, and I had dinner at his and Marianne’s house one evening. After dinner, he and I sat talking ... and killed an entire bottle of Scotch over several hours. That’s just one story about reconnections. — Thomas Thompson ’73

Sam Pellman was my Posse mentor. He stayed in touch with all of us even after graduation to always make sure we were okay. He was the greatest! — Janelly Valdez ’15

I had a drink with Professors Andrew Dykstra and Michelle LeMasurier (now as professional colleagues as well as friends) at the AMS/MAA Joint Mathematics Meetings in January 2020. Also with us was Professor Topaz Wiscons, a former visiting professor at Hamilton. It was the last major conference before COVID hit and a wonderful mini math reunion! — Dominic Veconi ’15

Speaking with Bob Simon a year after I graduated about my consideration of going to law school (which I had not considered while at Hamilton). Exchanging some brief but warm emails with Stu Hirshfield. — Don Von Hagen ’88

I always enjoyed catching up at the Society for Neuroscience meetings with Professors Weldon and Lehman! — Kristin Webster ’09

I regularly keep in touch with my Arabic professor — she was a huge part of my decision to go to grad school a few years after Hamilton! — Grant Whitney ’17

Bill Pfitsch and I caught up on campus at his office during my 10-year reunion, and it was wonderful to hear my senior field research data was still of value and being added to (!) by his students, year after year. He’s since retired, but that was a wonderful chance to reconnect, 10 years down the road. Best wishes to you Bill! — Peter Woodruff ’09


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