Patrick D. Reynolds Appointed Hamilton's Dean of Faculty

Patrick D. Reynolds
Patrick D. Reynolds

Patrick D. Reynolds, professor of biology at Hamilton, has been appointed dean of faculty at the college, effective July 1, 2011. He is currently serving in that capacity on an interim basis.

Reynolds’ appointment follows an extensive national search to fill the vacancy created when former Dean of Faculty Joseph Urgo was named president of St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

“Patrick Reynolds is a highly regarded teacher and scholar who has served ably for the past nine months as interim dean of faculty,” said Hamilton President Joan Hinde Stewart. “He has the respect of his peers and the admiration of his students. I am delighted he has agreed to become Hamilton’s next chief academic officer.”

Jaime Yordan, a 1971 Hamilton graduate who served on the Selection Committee and chairs the Trustee Committee on Instruction, said “Patrick Reynolds’ deep knowledge of Hamilton’s academic program and his strong advocacy for the faculty make him ideally suited to address academic issues currently being examined at the college.”

In his new position, Reynolds will lead the 184-member faculty and oversee the college’s academic affairs, including Hamilton’s programs in Beijing, Madrid, Paris, Washington, D.C., and New York City. He also will have oversight responsibility for numerous academic offices and centers, including Burke Library, the Registrar’s Office, the Physical Education Department and Athletics, Emerson Gallery, the Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center, Opportunity Programs, the Nesbitt-Johnston Writing Center, the Oral Communications Center and the Quantitative Literacy Center.

A native of New York, but raised in Ireland where his family still lives, Reynolds is the first in his family to obtain a college education. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1983 with first class honors in zoology from University College Galway, part of the National University of Ireland, and earned his Ph.D. in biology from the University of Victoria in British Columbia in 1991. Hired by Hamilton as an assistant professor in 1992, he was promoted to associate professor in 1998, professor in 2005 and became chair of the Biology Department in 2006. From 2007 to 2010, he was associate dean of faculty, and served as acting dean in 2009 when President Stewart was on a six-month research sabbatical and Dean Urgo assumed her responsibilities.

“I am sincerely honored by the opportunity to serve the college in this role, and particularly to serve the staff and faculty members who deliver on the educational mission of this institution,” Reynolds said. “Hamilton is a national leader in liberal arts education; my ambition is to sustain and strengthen that leadership, especially through our academic support for our students, the co-curricular programming that so enriches our campus life, and the teacher-scholar model of faculty vocation that nourishes and invigorates our curriculum.”

Reynolds is an expert on marine invertebrate biology, particularly the evolution of molluscs, a group which includes snails, clams, and squid. He has worked with student research assistants on cruises and at marine field stations along both coasts of North America and in Antarctica. Hamilton’s new dean has conducted research at the Smithsonian Marine Stations in Caribo Cay, Belize, and Link Port, Fla., and at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., and the Natural History Museum in London.

Individually or as part of a team, Reynolds has received grants from the National Science Foundation and has been funded through grants to Hamilton College from the Hewlett Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His scholarship has appeared in Advances in Marine Biology, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society and Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, and in several edited collections, including volumes from University of California Press, Smithsonian Institution Press and Oxford University Press.

Reynolds 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 has been elected by his peers to nearly every major faculty committee at Hamilton, including the Committee on Appointments, Academic Council and the Committee on Academic Policy. In addition, he was secretary of the faculty in 1994-95 and served on the Honor Court in 1993-94. As acting and interim dean of faculty, he has held ex officio membership on numerous college governance committees, including those pertaining to admission and financial aid, budget and finance, and planning.

Members of the Search Committee said Reynolds emerged as the top candidate. “Pat was the clear choice,” said Associate Professor and Chair of Africana Studies Angel David Nieves. “His steady leadership, not only during the past year, but during Joan Stewart’s sabbatical, proved to the Hamilton community he is excellently equipped for the position. His warmth, accessibility, impartiality and his unassuming advocacy have been critical during this period of transition.”

Associate Professor of Philosophy Katheryn Doran, also a member of the Search Committee, said “Pat’s deep knowledge of and passion for the college, combined with an international reputation as a scholar, make him a superb person to serve as Hamilton’s dean of faculty.”

Added Nieves, “Pat has the intelligence, experience and ability to execute our unfolding vision of the liberal arts in the upcoming years, and I am equally comforted by his steadfast commitment to diversity.”

Reynolds will become dean in the midst of the College’s campaign to raise $117 million for new arts facilities and to add to the college’s endowment for student scholarships. In addition, several current faculty initiatives seek to strengthen the college’s academic program, which include envisioning the library of the future, developing the role of academic advising and more clearly defining the goals of a Hamilton education.

An accomplished traditional Irish fiddler, Reynolds is married to Damhnait McHugh, professor of biology at Colgate University and president of the Kirkland Art Center. They are the parents of Nóra.

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