Retiring professors leave lasting legacy

Retiring Professor of Music Paul Althouse leads the Connecticut College Chamber Choir in the singing of the College's Centennial Song at Founders Day in 2011.
Retiring Professor of Music Paul Althouse leads the Connecticut College Chamber Choir in the singing of the College's Centennial Song at Founders Day in 2011.

Six professors, with 181 years of combined service to Connecticut College, have retired. Professors Paul Althouse, Thomas Ammirati, Bridget Baird, David Lewis, Richard Moorton and Ann Robertson leave behind a legacy of dedicated leadership and innovation in their respective academic fields.

Paul Althouse, Professor of Music

43 years

Paul Althouse received his B.A. from Harvard University and his M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale University. Professor Althouse joined Connecticut College in 1970 and has taught music history surveys for both majors and minors, as well as courses in the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Romantic areas.

Widely recognized for his expertise as a conductor and his role as a recorded music critic, Professor Althouse bridged the fields of music history and performance. He began conducting choral groups while at Harvard University and continued with the founding of the Yale Bach Society. He led the Connecticut College choral groups for more than 30 years. He has conducted most of the monuments of the choral literature, including Requiem settings of Mozart, Verdi and Brahms; Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony”; Bach’s “St. John Passion” and “B-Minor Mass”; and Stravinsky’s “Les Noces” and “Symphony of Psalms.”

Professor Althouse’s love of musical performance was sharpened in his doctoral dissertation, which dealt with the performance of Carl Loewe’s ballads. His interest in publications began in 1976 when he was asked to contribute to American Record Guide (ARG). His association with ARG has continued to the present and included a period as executive editor. His reviews have also appeared in “Opus,” “Schwann” and “Stereophile,” the latter publishing his overviews of complete recordings for Handel’s “Messiah” and Bach’s “B-Minor Mass.”

In total, Professor Althouse’s body of work comprises more than 900 record reviews, three feature-length reviews, 16 articles and nine book reviews. The articles include extensive entries on Brahms and Schubert in the book “Classical Music: The Listener’s Companion.”

Thomas Ammirati, Professor of Physics

44 years

Thomas Ammirati earned a B.S. from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Lehigh University. He joined the Connecticut College faculty in 1969. During his tenure, Professor Ammirati’s teaching and scholarship have been oriented toward engineering physics, including courses in classical and quantum mechanics, as well as introductory, modern and nuclear physics. Most recently, his research has focused on the study of proton-molecule collisions. His design of a sophisticated target chamber in the College’s Ion Accelerator Laboratory is recognized as the foundation of significant research taking place at the College today.

The College benefited from his dedicated service and leadership on numerous committees, including the Priorities, Planning and Budget Committee; the Steering Committee of the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment and its precursor, the Center for Conservation Biology and Environmental Studies; the Academic and Administrative Procedures Committee; the Faculty Steering and Conference Committee; the Joint Student-Faculty Budget Committee; the Housefellow Review Committee; and the Steering Committee for the Center for Teaching & Learning, now the Joy Shechtman Mankoff Center for Teaching & Learning. Professor Ammirati also serves the local community as an elected member of the Representative Town Meeting in Waterford, chairing several committees over the years.

Bridget Baird, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science

31 years

Bridget Baird received her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from SUNY Buffalo. Professor Baird joined Connecticut College in 1982 and served as the Judith Ammerman ’60 Director of The Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology from 1997 to 2008.

Professor Baird’s recent research has concentrated on the technology of virtual reality as used in archaeology, motion capture and multiple modalities; and on applications exploring uses of computers in the humanities. She has also focused her work on issues of gender equity and ways to increase the participation of women in computer science and mathematics. Professor Baird has brought her research into the classroom, teaching classes in both computer science and mathematics. She has supervised numerous student research projects, both during the academic year and in summer.

In recent years, Professor Baird has published and presented her research extensively. She received many grants over the past decade, including a Fulbright grant to teach and study in Ecuador; a Mellon Foundation grant to foster cooperation in computer science among Connecticut College, Trinity College and Wesleyan University; a Sherman-Fairchild Foundation grant to encourage cooperative teaching in the arts; a National Science Foundation grant to increase enrollments—particularly of women and minorities—in math and computer science; a Joy Shechtman Mankoff Center for Teaching & Learning grant to develop curricula in ethnomathematics; and an AT&T grant for professional development of local arts teachers.

Professor Baird was the 2008 recipient of the Helen B. Regan Faculty Leadership Award, which recognizes faculty members who exemplify the College’s commitment to shared governance, democratic process and campus community development. Baird also received the Student Government Association Excellence in Teaching Award for 1994.

David Lewis, the Margaret W. Kelly Professor of Chemistry

18 years

David Lewis earned his A.B. from Amherst College and his Ph.D. from Cornell University. Lewis joined Connecticut College in 1995 and was named the Margaret W. Kelly Professor of Chemistry in 1996. At the College, he taught courses in physical chemistry, instrumental methods, analytical chemistry, general chemistry, atmospheric chemistry and physics, modeling contemporary chemical problems and environmental issues. He has directed 40 consecutive summer research programs with undergraduates in his field, both at Connecticut College and at Colgate University, where he taught for 26 years.

Lewis was the 2012 recipient of the American Chemical Society’s Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution. The annual award honors a chemistry faculty member whose research in an undergraduate setting has achieved wide recognition and contributed significantly to chemistry and to the professional development of undergraduate students.

Professor Lewis was appointed provost and dean of the faculty in 1997 and held the position for three years. As provost, Lewis had a keen interest in creating opportunities for joint faculty-student research. In 2002, Lewis served as interim president of Connecticut College.

Lewis’s research interests include studies of fast chemical reaction rates and mechanisms in shock tubes, computer modeling of prototype chemical reactions, ultrahigh resolution laser spectroscopy and atmospheric chemistry and physics. He has had more than 40 articles published, most with undergraduate coauthors, in such publications as the “Journal of Physical Chemistry” and the “Journal of the American Chemical Society.” He is also a reviewer for those chemistry journals as well as the “Journal of the Air Pollution Control Association,” “International Journal of Chemical Kinetics,” “American Journal of Physiology” and the “Journal of Chemical Education.” He also reviews proposals submitted to granting agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Petroleum Research Fund and Research Corporation. Lewis is a member of the American Chemical Society, Council on Undergraduate Research and Sigma Xi.

Richard Moorton, Professor of Classics

30 years

Richard Moorton received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin and joined the Connecticut College faculty in 1983. At the College, Professor Moorton taught courses in classical languages and literatures, Roman civilization, ancient mythology and the evolution of Western culture. His work is unified by the conviction that ancient civilization has contributed to the modern world in manifold ways.

Professor Moorton has published original poetry and translations from Sappho, as well as articles on Aristophanes, Vergil and Eugene O’Neill that have appeared in a variety of journals. He has published book reviews in “Classical World” and “The Classical Association of New England Journal and Newsletter,” served as the New England editor for “The Classical Journal” and was editor of “Eugene O’Neill’s Century: Centennial Views of America’s Foremost Tragic Dramatist,” a collection of essays published by Greenwood Press.

From 1987 to 1988, Professor Moorton directed the lecture series for Collaborations III, the Eugene O’Neill Centennial Celebration, cosponsored by Connecticut College and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, for which the College received a grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council. In addition, he was the director of Civic Virtue and the Future of Democracy, a grant project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the codirector of “Cosmos: Science and Religion Look at the Universe,” a lecture series funded by grants from the Sir John Templeton Foundation and the Connecticut Humanities Council.

Ann Robertson, Senior Lecturer, Mathematics

15 years

Ann Robertson received her B.A. from the University of Connecticut and her M.S. in mathematics from Trinity College. She joined Connecticut College in 1998 and was promoted to senior lecturer in mathematics in 2000.

Robertson’s work involves the pursuit of connections between classical and contemporary mathematics, particularly in geometric issues. She is interested in the fractional dimensionality of Jackson Pollock’s drip period, the symmetries present at the Alhambra, ethnomathematics and middle-school math education.

Robertson takes pride in incorporating real-world contexts and collaborative learning projects in her teaching. For example, she worked with colleagues in the math department to design a “Mathematics from a Cultural Perspective” course based on a modular approach. The project was awarded a 2004 grant from the Connecticut College Center for Teaching & Learning. This ethnomath course led to the development of her first-year seminar, “Fractals, Chaos and Culture,” in 2006.

Robertson is a member of the American Mathematical Society; International Society for Art, Mathematics and Architecture; International Study Group on Ethnomathematics; Mathematics Association of America; Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematics Honorary Society; Northeast Consortium on Quantitative Literacy; Lyman Allyn Art Museum; Newport Art Museum and the Wadsworth Atheneum.

She has presented several lectures and papers at conferences hosted by the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematics Association of America and the International Society of the Arts, Mathematics and Architecture, among others. Additionally, she has been awarded an MAA/Tensor grant for Fractal Geometry For Girls, a project created to design and implement a series of workshops for middle-grades educators and “at-risk” middle-school girls from Bridgeport and New London. Most recently, she has participated in a collaboration among Connecticut College, Trinity College and Wesleyan University to promote information literacy.

May 24, 2013