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History-making figures, vale!

Two Skidmore giants retired in De- cember: David Porter and Mary C. Lynn. David Porter is now an emeritus pro-

fessor as well as emeritus president. With a 1962 PhD from Princeton, the

more as its first Tisch Family Distin- guished Professor, teaching in both clas- sics and English. His student evaluations cited him as helpful, rigorous, patient, and “absolutely wonderful.” Classics colleague Dan Curley says, “David teaches with purpose and heart—and whimsy.” Porter’s student Shannon DuBois ’13 says she’s eternally grateful for his help with her senior thesis: “When it came down to the wire, he met with me almost every day, reading Every. Single. Draft.” He was a prolific scholar on subjects


classicist and musician came from the faculty and presidency of Carleton Col- lege to be Skidmore’s fifth president in 1987. His administration oversaw aca- demic advances such as the launch of the Honors Forum, the establishment of 10 endowed faculty chairs, and plans for the Tang Teaching Museum, as well as the Skidmore Journey fundraising cam- paign that raised $87 million. In his countless public addresses on campus and off, he became famous for his fre- quent, sometimes multilingual, but al- ways groan-inducing puns. Throughout his presidency, Porter

regularly taught in classics and Liberal Studies and pursued research in classics and music. When he retired in 1998, the Porter Presidential Scholarships in Sci- ence and Mathematics and the Porter Professorship were endowed in his honor. In 2005, Skidmore’s trustees gave him the Denis Kemball-Cook Award for service and leadership. From 2000 to 2008 he held an en-

dowed faculty chair at Williams College, and then in 2009 he returned to Skid-

from Homer to Beethoven to the Ho - garth Press. His 1987 Horace’s Poetic Jour- ney: A Reading of Odes 1–3 remains a standard in the field, and in 2008 and 2009 he published books on the life and work of Willa Cather. His recital circuit has ranged from harpsichord classics to John Cage’s postmodern works for “pre- pared piano.” Porter has held several National Endowment for the Humani- ties fellowships and served as a Phi Beta Kappa visiting scholar. He says that his pursuit of more than one discipline has been an enormous boon: “Conversations generated by mul- tiplicity have en- riched my work and life in ways I could never have imag- ined.” Mary Lynn took a

one-year post in American studies in 1969 while still fin- ishing her PhD in history at the Univer- sity of Rochester. She went on to teach generations of Skid- more students in courses from colo- nial New England, the 1920s, and the 1950s to religion in America, the politics and culture of childbirth, and American foodways. (She also made a habit of tak- ing courses, in fields from art to biology, to stay in touch with what it feels like to be a student.) She was one of the first professors to

use Skidmore’s North Woods in her teaching, leading a class in searching for Thoreau’s ghost and another group in identifying traditional botanical reme- dies such as blue cohosh. A beloved and popular teacher, she won the Ciancio Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2010. She was the inaugural Douglas Family Professor in American Culture, History, and Literary and Interdiscipli- nary Studies from 2003 to 2008. Her scholarship includes publishing

three annotated journals of German mercenaries in the American Revolution (in collaboration with language profes- sor Helga Doblin) and the editing of Women’s Liberation in the Twentieth Cen- tury. But she is most widely known for authoring Make No Small Plans: A History of Skidmore College in 2000. Her colleague Greg Pfitzer has called it “the best col- lege history I have ever read.” For her leadership in many campus committees, Lynn has been hailed as a conscientious citizen and constructive critic; her colleague Dan Nathan calls her “utterly devoted to Skidmore and the ideal of liberal arts education.” A popular speaker at alumni gatherings around the


country, she won an Outstanding Service Award from the alumni association in 2001. She is the mother of Kate Clark Amoroso ’02 and Emily Clark ’06. At last December’s faculty meeting

President Philip Glotzbach announced Lynn’s appointment to the new position of College historian. —SR




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