Six Professors, 155 Years of Teaching at Colby



“The faculty presence here, the importance of teaching here, is the glory of the institution,” said President William D. Adams at the annual faculty-trustee dinner two nights before commencement. Adams’s remarks helped mark the end of the teaching careers of retiring Colby professors who, as noted by Joseph Boulos ’68, chair of the Board of Trustees, shaped the lives and careers of thousands of students. All were granted emeritus status upon their retirement. Alphabetically:

Eva Linfield introduced by Steve Nuss
Eva Linfield, associate professor of music, came to Colby in 1993, nearly 30 years after completing studies in architecture in Berlin. After later earning a doctorate in musicology from Brandeis, she brought a passion for early music of the Middle Ages. In addition to teaching and scholarship, much of it on the work of composer Dieterich Buxtehude, her professional life included directing the Collegium Musicum ensemble. After Colby she planned to continue research on the place of comic figures in music and culture. “Unfortunately, the connotation of the word ‘retirement’ lacks all the energy I hope to bring to this next stage of my life,” Linfield said.
Patricia Onion introduced by Susan Kenney
Patricia Onion, professor of English, came to Colby in 1974 and served as chair, co-chair, and associate chair of the department for 15 uninterrupted years. She taught a broad range of courses, from composition to the Brontës, Shakespeare to modern American drama. Onion also taught American Indian literature and brought a succession of Native American artists, writers, and storytellers to Mayflower Hill. She continued in that vein at the faculty-trustee dinner, regaling the assembled with “The Bungling Host,” a story from the Navajo oral tradition. A lifelong traveler and adventurer who has lived in a dozen countries and major cities, including a stint in the South Pacific, Onion “put the ‘Pat’ in peripatetic,” said former colleague Susan Kenney (English, emeritus).
Ulla Reidel-Schrewe introduced by Julie de Sherbinin
Ursula “Ulla” Reidel-Schrewe, associate professor of German, joined the faculty in 1989, shortly after receiving her doctorate from Harvard. Reidel-Schrewe taught German language and literature, concentrating on 19th- and 20th-century literature and authors Thomas Mann and Joseph Roth. She lauded the trend toward integrated studies and interdisciplinary courses, saying, “It is obvious that students embrace the opportunity to be taught by professors from different disciplines.” In her remarks at the faculty-trustee dinner, she moved from literature to art, reflecting on her life, growing up in Allied-occupied Germany, moving to Holland, then to America. She said her native Hamburg has a remarkable structure: a blank rectangular box-shaped sculpture by Sol LeWittBlack Form Dedicated to the Missing Jews. That LeWitt work, for her, is a bookend to his installation at Colby, Seven Walls, which Reidel-Schrewe studies as she passes it. “It has openings,” she said, “like glimmers of hope.”
Tom Tietenberg introduced by Michael Donihue
Thomas Tietenberg, Mitchell Family Professor of Economics, came to Colby in 1977 with a Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin, Madison, on “Pollution Control and the Price System: A General Equilibrium Analysis.” In 1984 he published the first definitive environmental economics textbook, which is in its eighth edition and still at the top of its field, and he built an international reputation in the area of emissions trading programs. His former student and current colleague, Professor Michael Donihue ’79, introduced him at the faculty-trustee dinner as “arguably one of the leading environmental economists of his generation.” Despite his international stature Tietenberg remained intimately engaged with the campus community as, among many other things, a charter member of the Environmental Advisory Group and advisor to many projects and studies related to sustainability.
Jonathan Weiss, NEH/Class of 1940 Distinguished Professor of Humanities, came to Colby in 1972, became modern foreign languages department chair, and later served as associate dean of faculty and director of Colby in Dijon program. Perhaps it was all meant to be. In high school in New Britain, Conn., Weiss was inspired by his French teacher, Monsieur Bouchard. The young student embraced everything French, and, after earning degrees at Columbia and Yale, then teaching in England, he came to Colby. At a concert in Lorimer Chapel that first year, Weiss was shocked to see Monsieur Bouchard, AKA Claude Bouchard, Class of 1928. “Colby had entered my life before I knew Colby existed,” Weiss recalled. In addition to bringing French to Colby, Weiss brought Colby to France. For hundreds of students, he was the first mentor in a Colby career that began in Dijon. “I actually love walking down the Rue de Rivoli in Paris with two dozen Colby students in tow,” he said.
Joylynn Wing, professor of theater and dance, traded West Coast for East when she arrived at Colby in 1988 with a fresh Ph.D. in drama from Stanford. A skilled director, she led a variety of professional and student productions, from Pinter to Stoppard. She was known for the academic rigor of her drama courses, including contemporary and women’s dramatic literature, and she directed the Colby in London program. She also enthusiastically brought students to “theater sports improvisation,” a form of improv that is run like a sporting event, with improv teams in competition.
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