News

May 19, 2012

Retiring Faculty Honored at Annual Awards Banquet

Helen V. Dungan, cataloging librarian; Charles W. Holliday, professor of biology; J. Ronald Martin, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering; and Arnold A. Offner, Cornelia F. Hugel Professor of History, have been elected to emeritus status and were recognized for their service to Lafayette at the annual pre-Commencement reception, dinner, and awards ceremony. President Daniel H. Weiss read the following citations.

Read more about the retiring faculty members

HELEN V. DUNGAN

Since joining the Skillman Library staff in 1968, you have witnessed remarkable transformations in every phase of the library’s operation.  Even the building itself looks entirely different, having undergone major renovation and expansion twice during that period.

Some of the most revolutionary developments occurred in the area for which you held primary responsibility: the library’s catalog.  Although you received excellent preparation when you earned your master’s degree in library science at Drexel, your instructors could not possibly have anticipated the direction in which the field would move over the next four decades.  You steered Skillman through the adoption of a new book-classification system.  Then you oversaw the migration of the catalog from hand-typed cards stored in a fixed order to a complex electronic storage-and-retrieval system.  Exclusively on-site catalog access became global online access, with rapid advances in software supporting increasingly powerful catalog searches.

Despite the often dizzying rate of change, you stayed consistently ahead of the curve, deepening and broadening your expertise to enable Lafayette to adopt the best of the emerging technologiesand do so in ways that enhanced Skillman’s delivery of high-quality service to its patrons.  With consummate skill and professionalism you ensured that the catalog kept pace with the growth of Skillman’s holdings in areas that extended far beyond traditional books and periodicals to include film, audio recordings, and electronic and other media.

Helen, you have been an exemplary librarian and colleague, and we acknowledge your contributions with deep appreciation.

CHARLES W. HOLLIDAY

You seem to take special delight in things with wings.  In homage to your love of flying, a Morning Call reporter once dubbed you the “Pilot Prof.” And for the past two decades your principal research interest has been the cicada-killer wasp, a subject that has brought national media attention to you and to Lafayette.

You have been even more devoted to helping undergraduates take flight.  A graduating senior expressed particular enthusiasm for your course in human physiology but noted that “really any class with him would be extremely interesting!”  One of the first students you taught at Lafayette (now a leading researcher in his own right) credits his collaboration with you on a study of fiddler crabs as stimulating his love of research and shifting his career path away from medicine and toward “the excitement of discovering new things” through research.

In 1990, 1994, and 1995 our students recognized your effectiveness in the classroom and laboratory by presenting you with the Student Government Teaching Award.  You delivered a Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Faculty Lecture in 1988, and in 2004 you received the Marquis Distinguished Teaching Award.

In welcoming you to emeritus status, Chuck, we honor your many distinctive contributions as a member of our community.  And as you broaden your research program to include a recently identified population of Caribbean cicada-killer wasps, we wish you the same “excitement of discovering new things” that you have so successfully modeled for your students over the past three decades.

J. RONALD MARTIN

When asked by a writer from the Alumni News a decade or so ago what gave you the greatest satisfaction as a faculty member, you replied without hesitation: “My emphasis is on teaching.  I enjoy it the most of all faculty duties.  I like contact with students.  You develop a rapport that makes it fun to come to work.”

Your dedication to Lafayette’s undergraduates over the past 36 years has been exceptional.  A chemical engineering major whose thesis you supervised credited you with teaching him “how to think critically . . . and to look beyond the here and now and the detail of a specific problem, to look at the whole picture.  He had a huge influence on the person I’ve become.”  Your impact on our students has been recognized on several occasions by the College, which presented you with the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award, the Marquis Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Delta Upsilon Distinguished Mentoring and Teaching Award.

Your record as a campus citizen has been equally superb.  You chaired important faculty committees, coordinated numerous United Way campus fund drives, served with distinction as College organist, and have been a wonderful friend and mentor to countless international studentsand to the members of the varsity baseball team.

In welcoming you to emeritus status, Bud, your alma mater records its pride in your achievements, its gratitude for your service, and its special pleasure that you will remain involved and supportive as an alumnus.

ARNOLD A. OFFNER

When you were named the inaugural holder of the Cornelia F. Hugel Chair in History in 1991, Lafayette knew it had selected a dynamic teacher and exceptional scholar, someone who would inspire students and colleagues alike.  Your intellectual reach was made clear during your first semester, when you delivered a public lecture on “Reconstructing the World:  The Marshall Plan and the American Dream.”  Your publication record has included a major study of President Truman and the Cold War, along with numerous contributions to leading journals and collections.

You also provided significant service to your discipline, highlighted by your presidency of The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.  Your contributions to college governance included membership on key committees such as FAP and PTR, and you were instrumental in the adoption of 4-4 and other advances.

Your impact on undergraduates, including your EXCEL and thesis advisees, was equally profound.  An engineering alumnus from the Class of ’96 continues to credit you with transforming his approach to everything from American history to how to handle professional obligations, noting that your “passionate and often unconventional walk through history” taught him that “contrary to what engineers often think, there is more than one version of the truth.”  The quality of your teaching and research earned you both the Marquis Distinguished Teaching Award and the Mary Louise VanArtsdalen Prize.

Arnie, as a member of Lafayette’s faculty you have exemplified the very highest standards of accomplishmentrecord which continues in retirement as you complete your political biography of Hubert Humphrey.

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