The Alexander Hamilton statue overlooks a foggy campus in winter at Hamilton.

From questioning whether a coup should ever be labeled “good” to protesting recent immigration policies, opinions expressed by faculty appeared in major national publications via essays and letters to the editor throughout the year.


David Wippman
David Wippman

The College’s most prolific op-ed writer was President David Wippman with his co-author Cornell University Professor of American Studies Glenn Altschuler. Together they published four opinion pieces in 2019 in The Hill including “Trump’s executive order raises important questions about Jewish identity and free speech,” “Betsy DeVos is giving defrauded student debtors the back of her hand,” “Intercollegiate athletics just got a two-minute warning,” and “How to excel at university: Ten recommendations for first-year undergraduates.”

Wippman also penned a letter to the editor in response to a New York Times essay titled “Can We Guarantee That Colleges Are Intellectually Diverse?” In his reply he discussed the importance of “encouraging students to develop certain habits of mind, habits that include testing their ideas, searching for evidence and learning to construct, critique and defend arguments, all of which require thoughtful consideration of opposing viewpoints.”

Senior Jonathan Seabright also wrote a letter to the editor in response to a Wall Street Journal call for answers to “Divesting Endowments from Fossil Fuels or Common Sense?” He emphasized that “Like every other facet of school administration, investment should reflect the values and missions of the institution.”

Maurice Isserman, the Publius Virgilius Rogers Professor of American History, wrote two essays published by The New York Times. The first, titled “America’s Original Socialist,” chronicled Eugene Debs rise from editor of a union publication to “the presidential standard-bearer for a small but growing Socialist movement.” The second, “What It’s Really Like to Fight a War,” he recounted his approach to writing his book on the 10th Mountain Division.

Erica De Bruin
Erica De Bruin

Assistant Professor of Government Erica de Bruin penned two op-eds for The Washington Post. The first titled “Trump wants Venezuela’s military to remove its president. But Maduro has made that difficult” appeared in May and the second, "Why does the U.S. still believe the myth of the 'good coup?'" was published in November.

Visiting Associate Professor of Religious Studies by Special Appointment S. Brent Rodriguez-Plate also wrote two essays. Beginning with the question “What drives the appeal of ‘Passion of the Christ’ and other films on the life of Jesus” published by The Conversation in February and appearing across the country via the Associated Press wire, Rodriguez-Plate continued with another question, “What makes Christmas movies so popular” for the same outlet in December. He was also quoted broadly in a Religion News Service article answering the question, “Is religious kitsch offensive? The answer is in the eye of the beholder,” in May and in “We Have Reached Peak Christmas Movie” in The Washington Post in December.

In “A Sure Bet,” an essay published by Inside Higher Ed, Walcott-Bartlett Professor of Literature Doran Larson argued that imprisoned people are desperate to become students and that economics mandate that we heed their calls. In a Washington Post essay, Larson argued that “The A$AP Rocky case shows why we should be inspired and troubled by Sweden’s justice system.”

Other professors whose opinions appeared in major publications included Linowitz Professor of Government Ann Richard (“I’m a Former Assistant Secretary of State. Yesterday I was Arrested Protesting Secretary Pompeo’s Policies on Refugees” in Newsweek), Professor of Government Peter Cannavo (“Is it Time for a Climate Uprising?” in Medium), and Henry Platt Bristol Professor of Economics Ann Owen (“The Next Lawsuits to Hit Higher Education” in Inside Higher Ed).

Feature articles

Hamilton College was at the center of several major feature articles beginning with a Chronicle of Higher Education article in May titled “Virtual Reality Comes to the Classroom.” The article highlighted virtual reality applications in an orchestra conducting class led by Professor of Music Heather Buchman; Assistant Professor of Biology Natalie Nannas’ effort to develop a virtual DNA model; and a virtual-reality-and-literature course that was led by Nhora Serrano, associate director for digital learning.

In Kiplinger magazine’s annual ranking issue, “Academic Showstopper: Hamilton College” celebrated the College as “a fixture on Kiplinger’s best college values list … that attracts stellar students.” The article noted that Hamilton is “among a small group of schools that admit students without regard to their ability to pay and that meet 100% of students’ demonstrated financial need.”

An Atlantic magazine article, “Colleges Would Rather Freshmen Not Choose Their Roommates,” detailed the College’s method for assigning roommates. Alumni relayed stories of meeting roommates and establishing lifelong friendships. Excerpts from the story were also included in an end-of-the-year article, “The Most Memorable Family and Education Interviews of the Year.”

Expert Commentary

Monica Inzer
Monica Inzer

Vice President of Admission and Financial Aid Monica Inzer discussed the SATs with U.S. News & World Report in What to Know About the SAT Environmental Context Dashboard. The publication also tapped her expertise for “College Essay Examples: How to Write Your Story.

Professor of Economics Ann Owen continued to be heard regularly on American Public Media’s Marketplace on public radio. In January she spoke on a segment titled “It’s time for the Federal Reserve’s annual game of musical chairs” in which she addressed the composition of the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee and the process that determines which members vote. She discussed the possible effects of President Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods and how the Federal Reserve might react to any economic impact those tariffs could have in “With trade tensions high, Trump and China’s Xi prepare to meet.” Owen led the Marketplace broadcast with a segment titled “Your questions about the Federal Reserve and interest rates answered” in July. The interview was triggered by the Fed’s lowering of interest rates. She again led the Marketplace segment “Paul Volcker’s battle against inflation pushed interest rates up to 20%” in December, explaining that Volcker’s goal was to slow down price increases by making borrowing more expensive.

Assistant Professor of Biology Andrea Townsend’s research into cholesterol in crows received national and international attention in dozens of publications beginning with the National Geographic. Assistant Professor of Psychology Rachel White discussed her research on how looking at a past unpleasant event from an outsider’s perspective can help reduce stress and anxiety about a future event in Psychology Today, and “The Right Way to Use Visualization to Beat Anxiety” in Inc. magazine highlighted her research about using visualization and self-distancing to maintain confidence and focus when anxious.

Professor Dan Chambliss
Dan Chambliss

The New York Times quoted Associate Professor of Art History Susan Jarosi on the Baltimore Museum of Art’s decision to offer a year of exhibitions and programs dedicated to the presentation of the achievements of female-identifying artists. Associate Professor of Religious Studies Quincy Newell was interviewed by the Religion News Service about her new book, Your Sister in the Gospel - The Life of Jane Manning James, a Nineteenth-Century Black Mormon. Assistant Professor of Sociology Jaime Kucinskas was interviewed on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s The Current radio show on her research and book on mindfulness. Eugene M. Tobin Distinguished Professor of Sociology Daniel Chambliss was quoted extensively in The Chronicle of Higher Education's “Are Students Socially Connected? Check Their Dining-Hall-Swipe Data."

Maurice Isserman
Maurice Isserman

Professor of History Maurice Isserman offered his expertise on the subject of the Social Democratic Party with The Toronto Star and The Guardian and discussed the 10th Mountain Division and his new book, The Winter Army, with TIME magazine. The Wall Street Journal featured a review of his book on the front page of its book section in December.

Professor of Government Philip Klinkner’s birtherism research was referenced by both USA Today and the Daily Kos. He also contributed research to “Trump Might Make Us Miss Watergate” published by Vox.

Wellin Museum of Art

The Wellin Museum of Art received a continuous flow of media coverage from arts publications including Hyperallergic, ArtDaily, Artnet, Sculpture magazine, and The Art Newspaper, among others, as well as mainstream national outlets. The New York Times included the Elias Sime: Tightrope exhibition as one of the “shows that define the new season” in an article titled “Don’t Miss These Art Shows and Events This Fall.”

Fillius Jazz Archive

The Fillius Jazz Archive was a source for biographical material for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and NPR in constructing the obituaries of several prominent musicians throughout the year. Musicians included Sol Yaged, Bob Wilber, and Ira Gitler.

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