President Joan Hinde Stewart recently announced the appointment of eight Hamilton faculty members to endowed chairs. All are effective July 1.
Doug Ambrose was appointed the Carolyn C. and David M. Ellis ’38 Distinguished Teaching Professor of History; Brian Collett was named Winslow Chair in Greek, Latin, or Modern Science (Physics); Martine Guyot-Bender was designated the Margaret Bundy Scott Professor of French; Gordon Jones was named the Litchfield Professor of Astronomy; Tim Kelly was appointed the Samuel F. Pratt Professor of Mathematics; Heidi Ravven was designated the Bates and Benjamin Professor of Classical and Religious Studies; Patrick Reynolds was named the Stone Professor of Natural History; and Michael “Doc” Woods was appointed the Leonard C. Ferguson Professor of Music.
Douglas Ambrose’s teaching and research interests include early America, the Old South and American religious history. His publications include Henry Hughes and Proslavery Thought in the Old South (LSU 1996) and The Many Faces of Alexander Hamilton: The Life and Legacy of America’s Most Elusive Founding Father (NYU 2006), a volume he co-edited with Hamilton colleague Robert W. T. Martin. He has also written numerous articles, book reviews and encyclopedia entries about Southern slavery and Southern intellectual life. Ambrose is a recipient of the Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award and Student Assembly’s Sidney Wertimer Award for Excellence in Teaching. Appointed to the faculty in 1990, Ambrose holds a doctorate in history from the State University of New York at Binghamton.
Since 2000 Brian Collett has been collaborating with Hamilton colleague 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. They are responsible for the magnetic and electric fields in the experiment and have contributed extensively to the data collection and analysis. Before coming to Hamilton in 1986, Collett was a staff fellow at the National Institutes of Health and a visiting assistant professor of physics at Mt. Holyoke College. He received a doctorate from Princeton University. His areas of expertise include computational and electronic projects, and the development of programs to help teach aspects of physics.
Martine Guyot-Bender, who has a doctorate from the University of Oregon, specializes in 20th-century French studies. She teaches contemporary France and all levels of language. Guyot-Bender is the author of Poétique et politique de l'ambiguité chez Patrick Modiano and the co-editor of Paradigms of Memory: The Occupation and Other Hi/stories in the Novels of Patrick Modiano.
Recent publications include articles and book chapters on cultural stereotypes, French popular fiction and French cinema and media, among other work. She is a co-editor of Women in French Newsletter and is doing research on French militant documentary film. Guyot-Bender’s other areas of interest include narrative representation of trauma (war, poverty); social documentary from the 1970s to today; literature and film of the Nazi occupation of France; women writers including Amélie Nothomb, Assia Djebar and Simone de Beauvoir.
Gordon Jones’ research interests include using neutrons to study fundamental symmetries and polarizing neutrons for use in materials science. On the fundamental side, Jones studies time reversal symmetry and weak interactions in nuclei. On the applied side, he builds devices used to understand magnetic materials such as the read heads in computer hard drives. He has published papers in journals such as the Physical Review C, Journal of Applied Crystallography and Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. Jones previously worked as a NRC post-doc, NIST and a visiting scientist at Indiana University. He earned his doctorate in nuclear physics from Princeton University.
Jones has received three National Science Foundation grants, five Department of Energy grants and the John R. Hatch, Class of 1925, Excellence in Teaching Award at Hamilton.
Tim Kelly was a National Science Foundation Scholar at Stanford University from 1972 to 1974. He came to Hamilton in 1982 from the University of New Hampshire, where he earned his doctorate in mathematical education. Kelly published “Modeling Preferential Admissions at Elite Liberal Arts Schools,” with Sally Cockburn and Gordon Hewitt in Research in Higher Education Journal, Volume 19, March 2013.
His areas of expertise are mathematical education; probability, statistics, stochastic processes and pre-calculus; and probabilistic and statistical reasoning.
Kelly has received two awards for teaching from Hamilton: The Lang Prize for Excellence in in 2000 and the Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award in 1995.
Heidi Ravven is a specialist on the philosophy of the 17th century Jewish philosopher, Baruch Spinoza. She was the first philosopher to propose that Spinoza anticipated central discoveries in the neuroscience of the emotions. Ravven has published widely on Spinoza's philosophic thought, on the 12th century philosopher Moses Maimonides, on free will and the new brain sciences, and on Jewish ethics.
In 2004 Ravven received an unsolicited $500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to write a book rethinking ethics. That book, The Self Beyond Itself: An Alternative History of Ethics, the New Brain Sciences, and the Myth of Free Will was published by The New Press in 2013. It is an extended and multidisciplinary inquiry into moral agency: why we are moral, why and when we are not, and how to get people to be more moral. A Chinese language edition of the book was published in 2015 by the People’s Publishing House.
A National Science Foundation grantee, Pat Reynolds is an expert on marine invertebrate biology, particularly the evolution of Mollusca, a group which includes snails, clams and squid. He has worked with student research assistants on cruises and at field stations along both coasts of North America and in Antarctica. Reynolds has published in Advances in Marine Biology, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, and in Molecular systematics and phylogeography of mollusks (Smithsonian Institution Press). He received his doctorate from the University of Victoria, Canada.
He was an editor for 12 years, and editor-in-chief from 2004-2009, of Invertebrate Biology, an international journal of the American Microscopical Society; he was recently named president-elect of that organization. In addition to serving on a number of panels for the National Science Foundation, he has held leadership positions within the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology.
Reynolds served most recently as Hamilton’s vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty.
“Doctuh” Michael Woods has written more than 700 compositions in styles that include choral, orchestral and chamber works, and jazz combo and big-band charts. His works have been performed by the Albany Symphony, the North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, the Central New York Jazz Orchestra, the Tulsa Philharmonic, the Salt City Jazz Collective and the central New York Jazz Orchestra. Woods is director and bassist for the Zoe Jazz Band, and bassist for the Omniverse jazz ensemble. Both groups perform his compositions. He majored in composition and minored in string bass at Indiana University (M.M.), and the University of Oklahoma (D.M.A.) and was the first African-American to receive a doctorate in composition from Oklahoma. Each year at Hamilton Woods presents a Jazz Kick-off concert to begin the academic year and a Black History Month Jazz Concert in February.
As described in the Faculty Handbook, appointment to a named chair “is an honor reflecting the special distinction that the holder of the Chair brings to the College and his or her profession.”