Seven faculty were honored at the luncheon for retiring faculty during 2005 James Madison Day activities. James Crable was unable to attend. Being congratulated by JMU President Linwood H. Rose (background), are (l-r): Richard Whitman (College of Arts and Letters), Albert "Flip" De Luca (College of Arts and Letters), Charles Bilbrey (College of Business), Lee Congdon (College of Arts and Letters), Robert Hinkle (College of Integrated Science and Technology) and William Boyers (College of Arts and Letters).
Seven veteran professors say goodbye to JMU
Story by Miranda Baines ('05)
Photo by Diane Elliott ('00)
During a special luncheon on James Madison Day 2005, JMU President Linwood H. Rose honored seven faculty members who retired in May. "Each of your careers is filled with the countless acts of dedication to teaching and learning that often go uncelebrated," said Rose. "It is the small scenes that pass between teacher and student that accumulate over the course of a career that have the greatest effect. For this devotion to students, we can do no more than thank you. Each of your careers is also filled with the distinction and achievement that has built the reputation of JMU to its exceptional state today. For this professionalism, we are proud to have been your colleagues."
College of Arts and Letters
William P. Boyer Jr., associate professor of anthropology, has had a distinguished and fulfilling career at JMU since 1979. Among his career highlights are his assistance in developing and piloting the Freshman Seminar Program, being Cluster Coordinator of Cluster Four and Interim Coordinator of Cluster Two in the General Education Program, and helping direct the archaeology field schools and excavations at Lake Moomaw and Jefferson's Monticello. His special memories of JMU include serving as a freshman adviser; making a contribution to the education numerous students, many of whom he considers friends; working with some fine colleagues throughout the university, especially in geology, history, English, biology, and geography; and, best of all, meeting his wife, Leila.
Boyer's retirement plans include pursuing his hobbies, which include fishing, sea kayaking, boat building, editing and playing with his half-dozen Scottish Terriers. He also hopes to publish the collection of short poems he has written during the past 40 years. Above all, Boyer says he plans to make sure that his three children contribute to their alma mater -- JMU.
James H. Crable, professor of art and art history, joined the JMU faculty in 1973. His areas of expertise are painting and drawing, and he has won various awards during the course of his career at JMU, including the award of Shenandoah Valley Artist of the Year in 1993 and the Virginia Prize for the Visual Arts awarded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts. In addition, Crable's photo collage, Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey, was the piece of art that received the highest bid ($4,500) at the 2003 JMU Art Auction. Crable has participated in numerous exhibitions, including the Los Angeles Art Expo (1996); the Society of International Photographic Art Dealers, New York City (1995); and the Fresno Municipal Museum, Fresno Calif. (1994).
Lee W. Congdon, professor of history, began his career at Madison College in 1972. While at JMU, he has taught courses in world and modern European history. Despite his heavy teaching load, Congdon has pursued research and writing endeavors, which he claims give him great pleasure. He has done extensive research on the Hungarian intellectuals of the 19th century. Congdon says he thinks of the students with whom he has maintained contact as the children of his extended family. "I leave JMU with gratitude and treasured memories," he says. Upon retirement Congdon plans to worship regularly in the Eastern Orthodox Church, continue his writing career and spend more time with his children.
Albert J. "Flip" De Luca, assistant professor of media arts and design, has taught courses in news writing and editing, and served as adviser to The Breeze, JMU's student newspaper, since 1979. De Luca was named the top university newspaper adviser in the nation in 1995 by College Media Advisers, a national organization with more than 600 college newspaper advisers as members. A large part of De Luca's service off campus has been devoted to being a conference planner for the Associated Collegiate Press, a nonprofit journalism organization headquartered at the University of Minnesota. In 1985, he assumed the title of ACP national program director, and he continues in that role. Despite retiring from teaching, De Luca says he will continue with his convention work "because it's very rewarding to help motivated students become better journalists. Many of the students who attend these conferences are from colleges that have no formal journalism program and no newspaper adviser. And yet, they are doing the best job they can."
De Luca says what he enjoyed best about being at JMU was working with the students. He says that he has seen noticeable changes since he began teaching in 1979 in the way a newspaper is put together (because of the widespread use of computers) and in the students' interests. He says that in his early years at JMU, students were interested in becoming newspaper reporters, whereas now they are more interested in magazine work. De Luca hopes print journalism students will regain their interest in reporting and says, "Good writing and good reporting are key, regardless of the way in which information is disseminated -- print, broadcast or online. Without inquisitive reporters to ask the right questions, the public will not get the full and accurate story."
Although he has no definite plans after retirement, De Luca enjoys traveling and has been to most major U.S. cities and 10 countries in Europe. "There are still places on my list," he confesses. "It's just that now I won't have to worry about making it back to teach." He also plans to pursue his hobbies and favorite pastimes, such as cooking and Swatch watch collecting.
Richard F. Whitman, dean of the College of Arts and Letters and professor of communication studies, has served JMU students for 18 years, as the dean of three colleges, two of which he helped establish. He joined the JMU faculty in 1987. One of the highlights of his career was seeing the authorizations come through for the renovation of Harrison Hall and the construction of the new facilities for music and theater and dance. He says that he and his staff worked on these projects "almost from his first day on the job in 1987." Whitman's fondest recollections of JMU will be of the people with whom he has worked during his time at the university. "It has been my good fortune to work with a wonderful staff in my office, strong departmental administrators, as well as quality faculty and staff," he says. "It has been a pleasure coming to work each day, well almost each day." Upon retirement Whitman plans to continue serving JMU by assisting the university in raising private support to supplement construction funds for the arts facilities.
College of Business
Charles P. Bilbrey, associate dean of the college of business and professor of information technology, has thoroughly enjoyed the past 28 years that he has spent at JMU. His career highlights include serving as department head of Computer Information Systems for eight years and hiring a number of outstanding faculty during that period, as well as being nominated and selected to serve as associate dean in the College of Business for the past eight years. Among his special memories of his time at JMU are signing an employment contract in spring 1977 with Madison College and arriving here (at JMU) in early August to find that Madison College no longer existed and not being sure if he still had a job. He also remembers a student who turned in his graduation application on Friday afternoon of final exam week one spring. The student had just found out that he passed a required course that he expected to fail and would be able to graduate after all. While it was too late to get his name in the graduation program, the Registrar's Office made sure that he was able to walk on Saturday and that his name was called. Bilbrey's favorite guest speakers at JMU include Bob Hope and Admiral Grace Hopper (the "mother" of COBOL). Other favorite memories include graduation ceremonies on the Quad; the run of bomb threats in Showker Hall, especially during final exam week; and arranging alternative testing locations on the fly. His retirement plans include travel, relaxation and volunteer work.
College of Integrated Science and Technology
Robert R. Hinkle, associate professor of audiology, came to Madison College in 1975 to help initiate the graduate program in audiology, for which he has served as coordinator for 20 years. He was a member of the Virginia Licensure Board for Audiology and Speech Pathology from 1983 to 1991. Hinkle has also served as chairman of the Virginia Elks Scholarship Committee since 1991. As chair, he has been responsible for the annual program for high-school seniors awarding more than $70,000 yearly in a program that receives more than 500 applications annually. Hinkle has recently had the opportunity to aid the establishment of JMU's first Ph.D. program in audiology/communication disorders.
Hinkle's retirement plans are to remain active professionally through involvement in practices in audiology along with several JMU audiology graduates. He will also remain actively involved with current and future JMU doctoral students in audiology via off-campus practicum and residency activities and with research and instructional activities. In addition, he will serve as president of the Virginia Elks Association from June 2005 to June 2006.