In the email below sent to the Hamilton community on Feb. 16, 2018, Interim Dean of Faculty Margaret Gentry announced the death of Richard F. Somer, the Upson Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory emeritus.
I write to inform you of the death of Richard F. Somer, the Upson Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory emeritus, earlier this week. Dick came to Hamilton in 1977 with a Ph.D. and B.A. in speech communication from the University of Illinois and an M.A. in speech from Southern Illinois University. During his time at Hamilton, he built upon Hamilton's rich tradition in public speaking, chairing the speech department from 1982 until his retirement in June 2000 and helping to broaden the speech department's focus to include new courses in mass communication. His scholarly interests focused on the American poet and writer Archibald MacLeish, Abraham Lincoln's legal cases, and curricular and pedagogical approaches to speech as a discipline. He was an active member of the New York State Speech Communication Association, serving that organization in a variety of positions.