100 Years of Educational Excellence: Principia’s Emeriti Faculty and Staff

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In some cases, longstanding tenure in a job signifies little more than dogged determination. But at Principia College, the two decades of service required for faculty and staff to achieve emeriti status signals something far deeper and more enduring than mere stamina. It indicates commitment to the Christ-idea in education.

To date, Principia recognizes 69 emeriti of the College. Most are from the faculty ranks, though two presidents, three deans, and two registrars hold that status as well, including Patty Langton (C’75), who was honored as registrar emerita at this year’s commencement. Among faculty, each of the four disciplinary units is represented by at least 10 emeriti, though the humanities unit counts more than twice that many among its disciplines—English, Foreign Languages, History, Religion and Philosophy, and Global Perspectives.

Not surprisingly, many emeriti from Principia’s first half-century wore a variety of hats during their tenure. That was certainly true for the earliest cohort whose emeriti status dates back to 1958. Here’s a brief introduction to Principia’s first four emeriti:

George Andrews, PhD, professor emeritus of history and philosophy Andrews was a member of the second class to graduate from Principia’s high school course (1907). He began working at Principia in 1921, serving for nearly 40 years. Aside from teaching, he also served as dean of the College.

Louise Andrews, assistant professor emerita of art Andrews began at Principia as a house mother in 1908. Soon afterward, she joined the Art Department, teaching at both the Upper School and College during her 40-year tenure.

Beatrice Gamble, librarian emerita After graduating from Principia’s high school course in 1910, Gamble became general assistant and secretary to founder Mary Kimball Morgan, who was principal at the time. Gamble later worked as registrar and librarian. She served for nearly 40 years and was one of the two composers of the Principia Hymn.

Winnifred Andrews Hubbell, instructor emerita of chorus Hubbell was a member of the Class of 1906, the first group to graduate from Principia's high school course. She joined the staff that same year, working in many different capacities over more than four decades, including serving as Lower School principal and campus hostess for the Dean’s Office. Longtime director of the College choir, Hubbell led the group on a nationwide tour during Principia’s fiftieth anniversary.

With the four-year College so well established now—it turned 80 this year!—time served at the Upper School no longer counts toward emeriti status. In addition, current qualifications for faculty emeriti require not only a minimum of 20 years of service but achievement of the rank of full professor. As a result, recent emeriti have typically worn fewer hats than those in earlier cohorts, but devotion to Principia’s ideals is as strong as ever. Charles Hosmer (C’53), who was named professor emeritus of history in 1993, once commented on the continuity of instruction at the College. “Principia’s unique purpose liberates the educational process by freeing individual thought . . .” he said. “Methods of administration may change, and certainly the personnel does, but the school’s ideals have shifted very little.”

A select group of dedicated workers, Principia’s emeriti have consistently put those ideals into action, benefitting countless students over the years. In addition, some have shared their expertise with broader audiences through continuing education programs. This month, two emeriti are teaching at Summer Session—Dr. Colin Campbell (C’49, pictured above), professor emeritus of English, and Dr. Robert Rockabrand (C’53), professor emeritus of music. Both also offer talks to Principia Clubs, as does Dr. David Cornell (C’59), professor emeritus of physics.

If you won’t have a chance to hear Principia’s emeriti in person, you can connect with some of them online. Watch the video featuring Dr. Campbell. Or visit the Classic Principia Talks section of Principia Internet Radio (PIR) to hear addresses by Dr. David Andrews (US’32, C’36), president emeritus; Dr. Edwin S. Leonard, dean of the College emeritus; and Dr. John Wanamaker (C’39), professor emeritus of biology.