Categories: Uncategorized  · August 3, 2021

New & Notable

DEI Action Plan ready for implementation

Through the launch of a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan this summer, Earlham is strengthening its capacity to systemically and directly address forms of institutional racism on campus.

“We want everyone in our community to feel supported and cared for so they can be their best self,” Earlham President Anne Houtman said. “And we want students and employees considering us to see Earlham as a place where they can thrive and be seen.”

In August 2020, after an all-campus fall retreat that focused on taking action against institutional racism, Houtman charged Earlham’s Diversity Progress Committee (DPC) to create a plan that would address three goals:

  • hire faculty and recruit a student body that reflects the diversity of the nation and the wider world;
  • create a supportive environment for all students and employees, regardless of their race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, abilities, religious or political beliefs; and
  • prepare students to be engaged, proactive citizens committed to diversity, equity and inclusion.

New metrics for hiring on campus and the addition of personnel in the areas of student life and human resources will help to accomplish these goals. Earlham is also hiring a new associate vice president of strategic and diversity initiatives, reporting directly to the president, to ensure that DEI work is completed in a timely manner.

A critical component of Earlham’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion was revising its Principles and Practices last spring, as charged by the president to more explicitly reflect this commitment. The revisions were proposed by the Campus Life Advisory Principles and Practices Subcommittee and approved by the faculty.

The revised principles and practices challenge Earlhamites to openly and honestly engage with one another; recognize the work needed to change the community’s biases; eliminate unintentionally and intentionally harmful behavior; strive to become aware of unconscious bias and prejudice; and to not only deplore violence and injustice, but take action to repair the harm caused by it.


New faces and transitions

New leadership has been announced for the offices of Admissions and Financial Aid and the Earlham School of Religion.

PHIL BETZ

Vice president for enrollment management

Phil Betz has been named vice president for enrollment management at Earlham College.

Betz was previously the director of admissions for Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa., a position he held for six years. He has prior leadership experience in admissions offices at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., Monmouth College in Monmouth, Ill., and Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash.

At Earlham, Betz will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of a team of 15 enrollment management and financial aid professionals — a team that recruits one of the nation’s most diverse student bodies from 50 states and dozens of countries around the world.

In addition to his career in higher education, Betz has taught high school history, coached high school basketball and worked as a financial adviser.

He is an alumnus of Pacific Lutheran University, where he graduated with a bachelor of arts in secondary education and an MBA.

“My family and I are thrilled to be joining Earlham College and the Richmond community,” Betz says. “I was drawn to Earlham because of the students it serves and the engaged faculty and staff dedicated to ensuring their success.  College was a transformational time in my life and it’s clear the same thing is happening for Earlham students.”

GRETCHEN CASTLE

Dean of Earlham School of Religion

Gretchen Castle, a global Quaker leader with decades of organizational development experience, has been named the next dean of the Earlham School of Religion.

For the last nine years, Castle has served as the General Secretary of the Friends World Committee for Consultation in the Quaker World Office in London, traveling extensively to bring greater unity to Quakers worldwide.

In a career spanning four decades, Castle has gained broad experience among Friends globally and across different Quaker traditions. She has served at the Quaker United Nations offices in New York and Geneva and participates in the Christian World Communions Annual Meeting of the General Secretaries, where she was recently appointed the first woman chair and the first Quaker chair. As part of the Christian World Communions, she attended the inauguration of Pope Francis in Rome in 2013.

In the United States, she was presiding clerk of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, Director of Leadership Development for several Quaker retirement communities and a board development consultant for over 20 years.

Castle is no stranger to Earlham or Richmond. She attended nursery school at Stout Meetinghouse on Earlham’s campus and also earned her undergraduate degree in human development and social relations from the College in 1979. Her father, David Castle, was a former pastor at First Friends Meeting in Richmond.

She later earned her master’s degree in organizational development and adult learning from Temple University in Philadelphia in 1986.

“Earlham grounded my Quaker experience and gave me the great gift of knowing I have a place in the world. The life I live, the choices I make, the people I love —matter,” Castle said. “I learned this at Earlham and working among Friends for most of my life.”

Two longtime members of Earlham’s teaching faculty are also transitioning into new roles this summer.

RAJARAM KRISHNAN

Associate vice president of institutional effectiveness

Rajaram Krishnan has been hired as Earlham College’s first associate vice president of institutional effectiveness, effective July 1.

Krishnan is currently a professor of economics at Earlham and has been on the faculty since 1999.

Krishnan will play a pivotal role as the College prepares for its 10-year accreditation visit from the Higher Learning Commission in 2024.

Krishnan did his undergraduate work at Vivekananda College, Madras and earned his Ph.D. in economics at Boston University. 

Before coming to Earlham, he worked briefly at Tufts University and Grinnell College. Along with his classroom teaching and scholarly activities, Krishnan has been actively involved in leading students on off-campus experiences in Kenya, India, Singapore, China, London and August Wilderness in Utah.

He is also deeply involved in faculty governance. He was a past co-convener of the Curricular Policy Committee as well as the convener of the search Committee for the vice president of institutional advancement. Over the years he has also been in and convened the Budget Committee, the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee, and the Events Committee.

CORINNE DEIBEL

Registrar

Corinne Deibel, a professor of chemistry, has also accepted a new position as registrar.

A member of Earlham’s faculty since 1997 and a leader on campus in the areas of collaborative research and off-campus study, Deibel has expertly positioned herself to help students complete their degrees and make the most of their education.

Deibel completed her undergraduate education and a master’s degree at Ecole Supérieure de Chimie Organique and Minérale, in Paris. She earned her Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Kentucky.

Before coming to Earlham, she worked at the Center for Applied Energy Research and at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

Deibel begins her new duties July 1.


Homecoming virtual for 2021

With continued concern regarding COVID-19 and limited time to plan, Earlham’s 2021 Homecoming and Reunion Weekend will be held online this year. Virtual events will take place from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.

President Anne Houtman joined the Office of Institutional Advancement in making the decision to move the ceremony to a virtual format. The College will use Hopin, an interactive virtual event platform, to encourage connections with classmates, faculty, students and other alumni without leaving the comfort of home.

Because last year’s homecoming was canceled entirely, this year’s events will include 50th reunion celebrations for both the Classes of 1970 and 1971. Online reunions for all classes that would have been celebrated over the last two years, which includes class years ending in 0 and 5, and 1 and 6, will also take place.

The College announced plans to invite the Classes of 1970 and 1971 back to campus in 2022 when an in-person homecoming is more likely.


Earlhamites earn Goldwater Scholarships, Watson Fellowships

Two juniors have been selected for the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, one of the nation’s top undergraduate awards given in the natural sciences, engineering or mathematics.

Miette Hennessy ’22, a biochemistry major from Chicago, and Cade Orchard ’22, a biology and geology double-major from Muncie, Indiana, will receive up to $7,500 in tuition support during their senior year. More than 1,200 students from hundreds of colleges and universities across the country were nominated for the award, with fewer than one-third receiving the scholarship.

Hennessy is an aspiring microbiologist and Orchard an aspiring paleontologist. Goldwater Scholars are nominated by faculty for consideration of the award, which is named after the former U.S. senator. For the second year in a row, two Earlhamites also received Watson Fellowships, continuing the College’s proud tradition of producing global scholars. 

Cade Orchard ’22 and Miette Hennessy ’22

Esther Mano ’21 of Zimbabwe and Sam Pigott ’21 from Indianapolis each received a $36,000 stipend in support of independent study and international travel.

Mano had a double major in African and African American studies and human development and social relations. She will travel to six African countries and the United Kingdom as part of her project “The Lion’s Story: Efforts to Decolonize African History.”

Pigott studied biology at Earlham. He will travel to Central and South America, Europe and Asia to discover, as his project is titled, “The Missing Link: Crafting Human Relationships in Science.”

Katie Jacobs ’20 and Megan Bennett ’20 were both selected as Watson Fellows last year. Those projects were postponed until the 2021-22 academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watson Fellowships are selected by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation every year in memory of the late founder of IBM.

Esther Mano ’21 and Sam Pigott ’21

Videography start-up wins 2nd EPIC Grand Challenge

A marketing and video production training initiative has been chosen as this year’s winner of the EPIC Grand Challenge, Earlham College’s business plan and social entrepreneurship competition for students.

Nelson Morlock ’22  and Sophie Pickering ’21 developed “Visual Future” to strengthen the local workforce and better serve nonprofits and small businesses in need of affordable marketing solutions. The venture earned $12,000 from the College’s Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creativity to scale their business and meet the challenge of improving the lives of 25,000 Wayne County residents within five years.

“Visual Future is a mission-driven venture that will train people in Wayne County and pair them with local businesses so they can have a personal videographer,” said Morlock, a junior global management major.

The team identified a shortage of trained marketing and video production professionals in Wayne County as part of their business plan, noting the significant role that videography plays in digital marketing.

“Marketing videos can be very expensive and a lot of local businesses in Richmond and Wayne County don’t have extra money to hire professional videographers to promote their products and services,” Pickering said. “A lot of firms are in Cincinnati, Dayton or Indianapolis but not in Wayne County to serve local business.”

Morlock had a busy year on campus. Among his accomplishments was writing and producing a song about Earlham’s EPIC initiative.

EPIC was introduced in 2017, with the intent of helping students align their academic and co-curricular experiences to help them better discern their career goals. Central to the experience is the EPIC Advantage, which guarantees a funded internship, research or scholarship opportunity locally or internationally. Hundreds of students have now benefited from it.

His cheeky ode to EPIC celebrates the intertwining of Earlham’s renowned classroom experience and the transformational co-curricular experiences it offers.  

Sophie Pickering ’21 and Nelson Morlock ’22

Earlham and Ivy Tech announce breakthrough transfer agreement

Graduates of Ivy Tech Community College, Indiana’s largest institution of post-secondary education, can now easily transfer to Earlham College and earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as two years.

The historic partnership is part of an institutional commitment to “widen the path” to an Earlham degree. Earlham is among the first of national liberal arts colleges to develop a strong partnership with a public community college.

The agreements allow Ivy Tech students who have earned an associate degree in biology, chemistry, computer science, business administration, psychology or human services to transfer to Earlham as juniors knowing every credit they have earned will count toward their degree requirements. In two years, and with an ordinary course load, these students can graduate from Earlham with corresponding bachelor degrees in biologychemistrycomputer scienceglobal managementpsychology or social services.


Regional push: Creating new scholarships and deepening partnerships

With the coronavirus pandemic convincing some college-bound students to study closer to home, the Office of Admissions has adjusted its recruiting strategy to increase applicants from the College’s backyard.

The College is expanding scholarships for those living within a 150-mile radius. All students accepted to Earlham and living within 150 miles of campus will now receive the Heartland Region Scholarship, which is worth $8,000 over four years on top of any other merit-aid awarded by the College. The scholarship covers all students living in Indiana; eastern Ohio, including Columbus; northern Kentucky, including Lexington and Louisville; southern Michigan, including Detroit and Ann Arbor; and the Chicagoland region.

A separate Hometown Scholarship is worth $10,000 over four years and is available to students whose parents are members of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce. This scholarship is offered to eligible students instead of the Heartland Region Scholarship.

Additional admissions representatives have been deployed in communities from within a 150-mile radius of campus to create relationships with parents, teachers, guidance counselors, parent-teacher organizations and other entities to increase awareness of Earlham and increase applicants for admission.

One major initiative was the launch of the College’s inaugural Key Club Grant Competition, which encouraged high school students to develop community service and engagement projects in their area.

More than 400 key clubs from within a 150-mile radius of campus were invited to participate. Ten projects were funded with grants worth up to $1,000 by the College’s EPIC initiative. The winning projects have goals ranging from beautifying neighborhoods to strengthening the work of nonprofits to encouraging connections between youth and senior citizens and veterans.

Participating students were also eligible for the $20,000 Key Service Award, a new four-year scholarship for Key Club members seeking to study at Earlham while volunteering at organizations in Richmond and Wayne County. 

The competition was supported by Earlham’s Office of Admissions; the Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creativity; and the EPIC initiative. The competition is expected to continue in 2022.


Museum studies added as an academic major

After more than three decades of offering a minor in museum studies, Earlham is now offering it as an academic major.

The College is leveraging its significant art, geological, archaeological and natural history collections on campus to offer this program.

“The museum world has really changed,” said Ann-Eliza Lewis, the collections manager at Earlham’s Joseph Moore Museum of Natural History and the convener of the museum studies program. “Twenty-something years ago, when I finished graduate school, there weren’t many museum studies programs, so we were all self-taught. The field has really professionalized. Now you need a degree or a certificate to get a job in the field.”

Even though the major debuted this year, it is already popular with current students pursuing degrees across all of Earlham’s four academic divisions. The program’s first graduate, Fiona Kelly ’21, will graduate later this spring as a double major in museum studies and ancient and classical studies.


EC Connect gathering momentum

A new social networking platform called EC Connect is gaining momentum.

About 750 alumni and 130 students have already joined and start making professional connections in the year since its launch.

Alumni can sign up to mentor a current student, offer or receive advice, post jobs and internships, or help with recruitment and career development.


Karlyn Crowley ’90 named one of the top 25 women working in higher ed

Now the provost at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, Karlyn Crowley ’90 has been named to a national list of the top 25 women working in higher education.

The list was published by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education as part of its Women’s History Month edition. The list highlights women who “have made a difference in the academy by tackling some of higher education’s toughest challenges, exhibiting extraordinary leadership skills, and making a positive difference in their respective communities.”

“I would not be where I am without Earlham,” Crowley said. “Not only did Earlham give me a sense of my vocation and calling in life, on multiple levels, I experienced foundationally what the best of a Quaker and small liberal arts college should be.

“That marked me indelibly,” she said. “I went to graduate school in part because of my professors. They saw something in me and said it out loud. They affirmed it for me.”

In her first year at OWU, Crowley has launched an Equity Fellows program, which is composed of 25 faculty members who are helping to lead academic equity and antiracism initiatives on campus. She is also overseeing the hiring of 10 tenure-track faculty while implementing new hiring practices designed to make OWU more “equity friendly” for incoming faculty.


Faculty earn spot on “Top 3 Leaderboard” of textbook affordability initiative

Faculty at Earlham College are taking the lead in a statewide initiative that is making textbooks more affordable for students.

The effort saved 155 students $12,356.67 during the 2019-20 academic year, earning a spot on PALSave Indiana’s “Top 3 leaderboard.” PALSave is an initiative by the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana that promotes the use of free course materials, including open textbooks or library ebooks. It is supported by a five-year grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc.

“Textbook costs have risen at a rate that has far outpaced inflation and other consumer goods,” said Academic Technologies and Seminaries Librarian Karla Fribley, Earlham’s faculty liaison for the PALSave program.

“This is especially true in the STEM fields where textbooks are often $200 each,” she said. “There is strong research that shows that students skip or take fewer credits because of it. It’s a problem for students who may already be struggling and don’t have the materials.”

The effort reflects Earlham’s commitment to accessibility and widening the path to a top-notch liberal arts education for all students. Sixteen faculty members from across Earlham’s four academic divisions participated in PALSave workshops during the 2019-20 year. Ten of these faculty members published textbook reviews in the Open Textbook Library, helping other faculty who are in the process of evaluating new course materials. Seven faculty members also received $500 course redesign grants to explore alternatives in their classes for the current academic year. 


2 Earlhamites earn Fulbright awards for 2021-22 year

Kate Buche-Pattinson ’18 is the latest Earlhamite to earn a Fulbright award as part of United States’ flagship international academic exchange program.

Buche-Pattinson earned degrees in English and Comparative Languages and Literatures from Earlham. She will use her scholarship to serve as an English language teaching assistant in Germany.

Five other graduating seniors or recent graduates from Earlham were semi-finalists for Fulbrights in support of independent research proposals or English language teaching assistant positions around the world. They include Jasmine Lorenzana ’21, Emma Milner-Gorvine ’21, Avery Salerno ’21, Ian Shriner ’21, and Tyler Tolman ’18.

Since 1999, 37 students or recent graduates have earned the prestigious Fulbright scholarship, and Earlham has long been recognized among the nation’s best for producing outstanding candidates for the award. In fact, the Chronicle for Higher Education recognized Earlham in both 2012 and 2014 as one of the nation’s top Fulbright-producing institutions.

Kate Buche-Pattinson ’18

Sarah Crane ’13 has also earned a Fulbright award in support of her dissertation research at the University of Notre Dame.

She will travel to Germany on scholarship for the 2021-22 academic year and join the faculty at the Fritz Bauer Institut at Goethe Universität Frankfurt as a visiting scholar. The institute is named after the late German Jewish judge who played an essential role in starting the Frankfurt-Auschwitz Trial after World War II.

Crane’s dissertation examines the legacy of the Holocaust in postwar Germany and Israel through examining two trials of former Nazis that took place during the 1960s: The Frankfurt-Auschwitz Trial and the Eichmann Trial in Jerusalem.

“My research asks why Fritz Bauer saw this trial as essential in order for Germany to effectively reckon with its Nazi past; a step that he believed was necessary in order for Germany to successfully transition from Nazism to democracy,” Crane said. “My time in Germany will allow me to pursue this research as well as engage with German language scholarship on the effect of the Frankfurt-Auschwitz Trial on German national and collective memory.”

At Notre Dame, Crane is a doctoral student in history and peace studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Students in her program complete all requirements for a Ph.D. in history and additionally take coursework and exams in the field of peace studies.

She aspires to earn a professorship in history or peace studies after graduation.

At Earlham, Crane earned degrees in history and music with a focus on French horn performance. She credits Earlham faculty for helping her frame her scholarship and career pursuits.


“When I reflect on my time at Earlham, what I remember most is the professors that I was fortunate enough to work with. Multiple professors, including Elana Passman in history, were committed mentors who consistently invested the time and effort in helping me identify and answer the questions that most intrigued me, whether that be the underlying causes of a specific historical event or the continuing legacy of this event in the present day.

These mentors taught me how to continue to fuel my passions and academic interests through what I study, a lesson that has remained important as I embark on independent dissertation research,” she said. “Due to my time at Earlham, I was able to write a Fulbright application that spoke not only to who I am as an academic, but also someone with deep personal interest in the issues and places that I study.”

Sarah Crane ’13

Reunion planned by alumni who traveled to Scotland 50 years ago

A 50th reunion celebration for alumni who participated in one of the College’s first off-campus excursions to Scotland will take place in an independently organized event in Richmond in October.

Mary Jo Clark and Mark ’73 and Mary Ellen Meyer ’73 planned the event. Mary Jo and her husband, Len Clark, led the semester-long trip in 1971. Mary Jo is a consultant and co-owner of a leadership development institute in Richmond. Len is a retired Earlham professor, academic dean and vice president of academic affairs. He recently left retirement to serve as interim dean of Earlham School of Religion.

“We are going to have a good time,” Mary Jo said. “Mary Ellen and I happened to talk recently and decided we needed to have a party. As a result of our planning, we’ve heard stories from so many of our former students and, as a result of their Earlham education, they are all doing something to make the world a better place.

“They are bishops, superintendents of schools, teachers and attorneys, to name a few,” she notes.

The Meyers are currently owners of Wigle Whisky, which they opened in 2012. Mary Ellen is a former occupational therapist. Mark is a former attorney.

“Our 50th Scotland reunion is especially poignant—I was just 19 years old when our diverse, delightful group of 25 embarked on this remarkable transformative journey,” Mary Ellen said.

“In the classroom we studied Scottish geography, history, politics and literature. On our own and with the group we explored the stunning landscapes, castles, remote islands, cathedrals and gardens that are all part of Scotland’s great heritage,” she said.

The organizers expect nearly all of the 25 students who participated in the excursion to return to Richmond for the reunion, which will take place at the Clark’s home and in other locations off campus.

“They will all be staying in Wayne County at different bed and breakfasts,” Clark said. “In Scotland we all stayed in different houses so this will feel similar.”


Early admissions partnership with national medical school yielding results

Two Earlham College graduates from the Class of 2021 have become the first to enroll at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) as part of a new partnership and early acceptance program between the two institutions.

Matt Bushik and Claire Cornwell were accepted into LECOM’s osteopathic medicine program as sophomores. Bushik will study at the Seton Hill campus in his hometown this fall. Cornwell has chosen to study at the institution’s Bradenton, Fla., campus.

Earlham’s Center for Global Health has forged partnerships with LECOM for their osteopathic medicine, dentistry and pharmacy programs, helping to further the College’s standing as a national leader for the percentage of its graduates that earn advance degrees, including the Ph.D.

“This early acceptance program provides another access point for Earlham students to matriculate and excel in medical school,” said Peter Blair, the director of the Center for Global Health. The Center for Global Health is thrilled that Matt and Claire will represent Earlham as the first student cohort at LECOM. They were both impressive academics and fervent learners who maximized their liberal arts experiences in and out of the classroom and laboratory. I am confident they will become successful physicians and productively serve their future clients and communities.”

Matt Bushik ’21 and Claire Cornwell ’21


2021 Alumni Awards

LAUREN NORTH ’09

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Since graduating from Earlham, Lauren North ’09 has pursued a life dedicated to service and justice. After serving in the Peace Corps for two years in the Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), North returned to the U.S. to work for Democratic causes, including Obama’s 2012 re-election bid, the Presidential Inaugural Committee, the Department of Labor and a bus tour with Gabby Gifford for common-sense gun reform. North went on to receive a master’s degree in gender studies from the London School of Economics and a J.D. from the University of Louisville. She worked in several high-impact civil and reproductive rights fellowships throughout law school.

Throughout 2020, she served as a lead legal observer coordinator for the National Lawyers Guild of Kentucky during the racial justice protests following the murder of Breonna Taylor in her home city. During this time, she also raised over $40,000 for the Innocence Project through an online fundraising campaign in honor of Juneteenth. Over the last year, North has worked tirelessly on a voting rights campaign in Georgia as part of a year-long post-grad fellowship. North recently accepted a permanent position as a staff attorney for Jefferson County Family Court with her law school mentor, Judge Shelley Santry.

At Earlham, North majored in peace and global studies. She started her tenure at Earlham by surviving a brown recluse spider bite during August Wilderness and never slowed down. North studied abroad twice (Northern Ireland and London), was a community organizer for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and has maintained close connections with many of her classmates through the years.

Lauren North

PETER V. JOHNSON ’71

Distinguished Service Award (posthumous)

Since graduating from Earlham, Peter V. Johnson ’71 devoted his life to the field of college admissions and the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue a quality education. Beginning his career at Earlham as a part of the Upward Bound program, Johnson went on to work for 10 years in residential life and admissions at Hampshire College. In 1982, he began a 35-year career at Columbia University, first as the assistant dean for student affairs and later as the director of enrollment group special projects and special assistant to the dean of undergraduate admission and financial aid.

A contributing writer for The Multicultural Student’s Guide to Colleges: What Every African American, Asian-American, Hispanic, and Native American Applicant Needs to Know About America’s Top Schools, Johnson sought out and mentored under-resourced students throughout his career. As an inspirational speaker, he regularly visited high schools and community-based organizations across the country, and his life was featured in First Generation, a 2012 documentary about high-achieving, low-income students trying to be the first in their families to attend college. In 2014, he served as a judge for ABC’s “The Scholar,” a reality television show which offered college scholarships as prizes. And in 2016, Johnson was the recipient of the Columbia Black Alumni Council Heritage Award, which honors those who have made considerable contributions to the community and to their fields.

Johnson served on a number of committees and boards, including the College Board Middle States Regional committee, the scholarship committee for the New York Hotel Trades Council and Hotel Association of NYC, and the Board of Friends of Columbia’s Double Discovery Center, which works with low-income, first-generation college-bound youth from Harlem and Washington Heights. In the words of Jessica Marinaccio, dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid for Columbia College and the Fu Foundation of Engineering and Applied Science, “The number of lives that Peter has influenced and touched, however, far surpass those mere years—he was a mentor, guide, adviser, friend and stalwart educational leader in all he did.”

Peter V. Johnson ’71

JESSICA RETTIG ’91

Outstanding Alumni Award

Jessica Rettig ’91 is a dedicated teacher and scholar in the field of biology. As a full professor of biology at Denison University, Rettig is one of only two women full professors in the sciences at Denison. She is sought after as an expert on the evaluation of colleges and departments, having served as an external reviewer of biology departments and as a Higher Learning Commission accreditation reviewer for multiple colleges. After obtaining her Ph.D. in zoology and in ecology, evolutionary biology and behavior from Michigan State University in 1999, Rettig served as a visiting assistant professor at Earlham College and an assistant professor at William Jewell College.

In her current role at Denison she teaches in biology and Denison’s writing program, and also is the Anderson Endowment director and the coordinator of the Ronneberg Lecture Series. At Denison, Rettig has been instrumental in providing research support and opportunities to science students.   

In addition to her scholarly pursuits, Rettig is highly engaged in her local community. She has coached soccer and basketball, engaged high school students in science outreach programs and research, serves as the clerk of the Granville Friends Meeting, coordinates the Granville Ministerium (a group of local clergy) and serves on the Board of Trustees of Kendal at Granville, a Quaker-associated retirement and assisted living community.

Rettig’s husband, Geoff Smith ’90, is also a professor of biology at Denison. Together, they are committed to their students and the teaching of natural history and field biology to undergraduates, including having worked in tandem with Earlham Professor Emeritus John Iverson to bring Earlham and Denison students together for field research on iguanas and turtles for many years.

Jessica Rettig ’91

Stories written by Brian Zimmerman and Jen Gose.