Hamilton Mourns the Loss of Philosophy Professor Bob Simon
In the email below sent to the Hamilton community on May 31, Interim Dean of Faculty Margaret Gentry announced the death of Professor of Philosophy Bob Simon.
With great sadness, I am writing to inform you that Walcott-Bartlett Professor of Philosophy Emeritus Bob Simon, the recipient of multiple teaching honors at Hamilton, died earlier today after a lengthy battle with cancer.
A celebration of Bob's life will take place the afternoon of September 8. Details will be announced in the coming month.
Bob was beloved by students, respected by his colleagues, and admired by alumni. The citation that announced his selection as the 2010 recipient of the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award, said of Bob: “You embody the spirit of community that exemplifies Hamilton College not only through your tireless commitment to students, but through your modesty, humor and devotion to family, friends and colleagues.”
In October 2017, President Wippman announced that the new golf practice facility would be named in Bob’s honor, and the 2018 Bell Ringer Award, Hamilton’s highest alumni honor, will be presented in Bob’s memory at Reunions in June.
The recipient of a bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, Bob Simon came to Hamilton in 1968 where he taught philosophy and, for many years, served as Hamilton’s golf coach. An authority on sports ethics and the author of Fair Play: Sports, Values and Society, he was named one of the 100 Most Influential Sports Educators by the Institute of International Sport.
In 2016, an entire issue of the Journal of the Philosophy of Sports was dedicated to Bob’s scholarship. Writing in the first-ever Festschrift by the journal, the editor said: “I’m sure my fellow contributors would agree with me that no Festschrift or other tribute can adequately capture the remarkable influence that Bob Simon has had on our field. We have followed his lead on many issues; we have argued with him on others; we have proposed alternate answers. But most import of all, we have not ignored him.”
Bob received the Dean’s Scholarly Achievement Award, the Student Assembly’s Sidney J. Wertimer Award, and the Samuel & Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching, among other honors. In the 2011 ceremony that marked the start of Hamilton’s Bicentennial observance, Bob delivered a talk titled “Why I Teach,” although, true to his training as a philosopher, he reframed the question.
Bob and his wife, Joy, who often worked in the Registrar’s Office during peak times, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last August. Their two sons, Bruce ’91 and Marc ’94, attended Hamilton.
[Note: Gifts in Bob’s memory may be made to the new golf facility being named in his honor. Contact Mark Monty at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-859-4651 for more information.]