Hamilton alumni, students, and colleagues send well-wishes and thanks to four members of the faculty who will enter the world of retirement at the conclusion of the 2022-23 academic year. We asked each of them to reflect on their time on College Hill and what’s next.


Barbara J. Tewksbury
Upson Chair of Public Discourse and Professor of Geosciences


What will you miss most about your work as a professor?
Absolutely the thing I will miss the most will be working with wonderful students, whether it is in the classroom, lab, or, especially, in the field. I will also miss the fun of learning new things as the field of geology has advanced over the past 45 years and figuring out how to help students learn about them as well in effective, interesting, and relevant ways. 

Was there any one defining moment of your career at Hamilton — something you are most proud to have accomplished?
I am most proud of having helped shape a decades-long emphasis in the Geosciences Department, not only on encouraging any student interested in the Earth to major in geo regardless of their career interests, but also on designing both courses and curricula to be interesting, relevant, and welcoming for all majors while still preparing future geoscientists with an appropriate undergraduate background.

Beyond Hamilton, I am most proud of being one of four PIs who developed the 15-year-long, NSF-funded program On the Cutting Edge, which helped change the face of undergraduate geoscience education in the U.S.

What has changed the most since you came to Hamilton? What has stayed essentially the same?
I arrived at Hamilton in the fall of 1978, the year of the merger between Hamilton and Kirkland. To say that things were difficult for both students and faculty coming from two institutions with such different aims, cultures, and expectations would be an understatement. No institution is ever perfect, but Hamilton has evolved significantly, and in many good ways, to become a single college that is very different from the mashed-together institution of the late ’70s and early ’80s.

The one thing that has never changed at Hamilton is the incredible support and encouragement I have received for doing interesting and innovative things, both in teaching and in research. Over the years, I have done dozens of external reviews of other geo departments across the country, and I know the kinds of challenges that face many faculty elsewhere. I am profoundly aware of just how lucky I have been to have had a career at Hamilton.

What’s next for you?
I am continuing to be involved in things geologic. I am an associate editor for the Journal of African Earth Sciences, and I have at least one paper to write on the work that two Hamilton students and I (Erin Pimentel ’22 and Will Bresnahan ’22) have done in the Western Desert of Egypt. Beyond that, I will keep making custom-made kilts, playing bagpipes with the Mohawk Valley Frasers, and having great fun with our grandson, daughter, and son-in-law.

About Barbara J. Tewksbury
Barb Tewksbury, the Upson Chair of Public Discourse and professor of geosciences, is a structural geologist and lead principal investigator of the Desert Eyes Project, which combines analysis of satellite imagery with field work and geophysics to study bedrock structures in the Western Desert of Egypt. Her team discovered the first extensive on-land exposure of polygonal faults, a style of faults previously studied almost exclusively in the subsurface using marine seismic data. For the past decade, she and her Egyptian colleagues, along with more than 20 Hamilton students, have mapped a network of synclines in the region. Tewksbury, who joined the Hamilton faculty in 1978, is a leader in national geoscience education. She has conducted more than 150 workshops for faculty across the country and abroad, and was co-principal investigator of a 15-year National Science Foundation-funded education project. Having served as associate editor of the Journal of African Earth Sciences and Geosphere, she is a lead classroom instructor for NASA astronaut geoscience training and one of four primary field trainers. She earned Hamilton’s Career Achievement Award in 2017, and holds a doctorate and master’s degree from the University of Colorado and a bachelor’s degree from St. Lawrence University.

Derek C. Jones
Professor of Economics

What will you miss most about your work as a professor?

Interacting with students and free riding off their energy. 

Was there any one defining moment of your career at Hamilton — something you are most proud to have accomplished?
There were several key moments. They included:

  • Getting my first publication with a Hamilton student, Dave Backus ’75. After arriving in 1972, I realized there were some extremely capable students at Hamilton. And I have been fortunate to continue to publish with students (eight articles and counting).
  • Together with a colleague from Cornell, organizing my first international symposium/conference at Hamilton in May 1980. This event only happened because of generous support from Hamilton. I realized that academic entrepreneurship was encouraged at Hamilton.
  • I secured my first external grant in 1980 and my first NSF grant in 1983. Over my career I secured funds of around $1 million.
  • I secured my first external fellowship in 1976-77 (S.S.R.C. Fellowship, University of Warwick, U.K.). During my more than 50 years at Hamilton, I managed to secure funded visiting positions, usually in Europe, totaling more than 10 years.
  • Helping to recruit the first Black scholar on a tenure track path to Hamilton in 1974 — economist Germina Lubega, a native of Uganda, she remained on the Hamilton faculty through 1977.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your tenure at Hamilton and how did you overcome it?
Many. But perhaps biggest was becoming department chair before I was tenured. An interesting position to be in, especially for matters such as recruitment. I wrestled with decisions such as how much time to put into department “service” while one striving for tenure (with an emphasis on teaching and research, etc.). But a big opportunity to grow the department presented itself. I took advantage of the opportunity, and believe I helped to lay the foundations for a very strong Economics Department. 

What’s next for you?
I’m still doing research and writing but in a more leisurely way, but no more grading papers or going to committee meetings. Retirement is like being on study leave all the time, I strongly recommend it.

My business of buying and selling antique books and maps keeps me occupied with the profits enabling me to build a very strong collection from which I derive much pleasure. My wife, Carole, and I now live in Richmond, Va., where one of our sons lives and my two grandkids; they keep us busy. I have always been an avid traveler and have been fortunate to see many countries, but many more remain to be explored and others to be revisited. And in 2024-25, I plan to spend a lot of time watching my football team Middlesbrough (The Boro) compete in the English Premier League again — there is, however, a small matter of their gaining promotion before then.

About Derek C. Jones
Professor of Economics Derek Jones joined the Hamilton faculty in 1972. His work, which focuses on the economics of participation, led him to undertake some of the first empirical analysis of long-established worker cooperatives and firms with employee ownership and profit-sharing. The inaugural recipient of Hamilton’s Career Achievement Award in 2008, he has been supported in his research by the National Science Foundation, the Russell Sage and Rockefeller foundations, and the National Council for East European Research. Jones’ expertise has led to visiting professor or fellow positions at the Helsinki School of Economics, London Business School, Pembroke College (Oxford University), Hitotsubashi University, and Copenhagen Business School. He is the author of more than 140 journal articles and book chapters, and has written or edited eight books, including the first six volumes in the series Advances in the Economic Analysis of Participatory and Labor Managed Firms. Jones earned his doctorate from Cornell University, a master’s degree from London School of Economics, and a bachelor’s degree from Newcastle Upon Tyne. He has served as the onsite director of Hamilton’s Program in New York City and worked closely with many students on their theses, several of which have resulted in publications. 

Todd W. Rayne
Joel W. Johnson Family Professor of Environmental Science
Director of the Environmental Studies Program

What will you miss most about your work as a professor?

I will greatly miss the close interactions I had with students in a variety of settings: classroom, laboratory, field trips, summer fieldwork, advising, and on bike rides and ski outings.  
Was there any one defining moment of your career at Hamilton — something you are most proud to have accomplished?
There were many defining moments in my career in different parts of my job: teaching, scholarship, and service. One thing I am particularly proud of is working with many students to help them become professional geoscientists and helping them find fulfilling careers in which they benefit society.
Looking back to when you first came to Hamilton to today, what would you say has changed the most? What has essentially stayed the same?
Two things have changed substantially during my time at Hamilton. The first is the diversity of the student body. It’s been wonderful to work with students from such a wide range of backgrounds and cultures, and I hope it’s helped me to become a better, more understanding person. The second thing that’s changed is the layers of bureaucracy, which has increased greatly during my career. I understand why much of the increase has been necessary as laws and regulations have changed, events have happened, and both the faculty and the student body have increased in size and diversity. But I miss the days when I could take students on a spontaneous field trip or organize an impromptu cookout!
What has stayed essentially the same is that Hamilton employees of all types remain a welcoming, friendly, supportive group of people who overwhelmingly love this College and strive to make it better every day.
What’s next for you?
My wife and I plan to stay in Clinton, at least for the near term, because we really like living in a small town with the cultural amenities that a great college provides. We like the climate (although colder and snowier winters would be nice), the geographic setting, and the people! I plan to continue to pursue my recreational interests and to travel to visit our daughters and their families.

Todd Rayne is the Joel W. Johnson Family Professor of Environmental Science in the Geosciences Department and director of the Environmental Studies Program. His current research involves using environmental tracers numerical modeling to study the impacts of urbanization on ground water flow systems. He also is involved with modeling ground water flow through fractured aquifers and wellhead protection studies. Rayne is the author of two solution manuals for hydrogeology textbooks and has published papers in Hydrogeology Journal, Nordic Hydrology, and Northeastern Geology and Environmental Science. He received his doctorate and master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor’s degree from Montana State University. Before joining the Hamilton faculty in 1993, he worked as a geologist and hydrogeologist in the petroleum and environmental consulting industries. Rayne has served as Hamilton’s faculty athletics representative to the NCAA since 2011.

Brian Collett
Professor of Physics

What will you miss most about your work as a professor?
Hard to say since this is not a complete retirement. I will go on collaborating with Gordon [Jones] and his students on research, and I expect to teach a course or two in the spring, at least this year and possibly a couple more years. Basically, I hope to keep the bits that I like while cutting back on things like grading and 60-70-hour weeks that I don’t expect to miss.

Was there any one defining moment of your career at Hamilton — something you are most proud to have accomplished?
Yes and no. There is a defining moment, when I started working with Gordon [Jones] soon after he joined the College. It reshaped the focus of my research life and set the stage for a 20-year collaboration and friendship that have allowed us to work with more than a hundred students in a way that goes far beyond classroom contact. I guess those students are the thing that I am most proud of. They have gone on in so many different ways, including a fair number following our footsteps into physics graduate work.

Looking back to when you first came to Hamilton to today, what would you say has changed the most? What has essentially stayed the same?
When I came to Hamilton it was still possible to know almost all the members of the faculty and to interact with a significant fraction of them on a more or less regular basis. It was also a place where all the senior administration had come from within Hamilton and there was a much stronger sense of faculty ownership and control. I look about now and know only a much smaller fraction of my colleagues and many of the opportunities for cross-campus interaction have disappeared, or greatly diminished. And while the faculty size has grown only modestly, there has been major growth in administration that, from my point of view, has altered significantly the sense that the faculty are the college.

What remains most the same is the focus on the welfare and education of our students. I am always humbled at the extent to which the faculty devote their careers to supporting and guiding [students] who come through our doors seeking knowledge and a future where they can thrive. Today’s students come with a much wider range of backgrounds and abilities than those from nearly 40 years ago, but they still come to Hill that seeks to help them thrive in and out of the classroom so that they will thrive in the rest of their lives.

What’s next for you?
Mostly less of the same, freeing time to catch up on house and garden projects that have lain neglected for lack of time. With my son Charles replacing me in the department and he and his family moving to a house only about a mile away from ours, I will see them a lot more and will spend more time actively grandparenting. But I will still be in the department a lot and will still get to share my knowledge with new students, at least for the next few years.

About Brian Collett
Having joined the Hamilton faculty in 1986, Professor of Physics Brian Collett collaborates with his colleague Professor of Physics Gordon Jones on projects in nuclear physics. Their work has included the development of compact 3He neutron spin filters for use in neutron scattering, and they are participants in the aCORN experiment, studying neutron decay at the National Institutes of Standards and Technologies. Collett and Jones are responsible for the magnetic and electric fields in the experiment and have contributed extensively to the data collection and analysis. Collett, who previously served as a staff fellow at the National Institutes of Health, received his doctorate from Princeton University and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Cambridge University, England. He is the 2008 recipient of Hamilton’s Samuel and Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

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