November 26, 2019 at 10:30 am

Dean’s Message | Remembrances, Celebrations and Opportunities to Network with Students

Dean Florenz Plassmann at Homecoming 2019, standing by table display in OHIO sweatshirt

Dean Florenz Plassmann at Homecoming 2019

Engage, January 2020

By Florenz Plassmann, Ph.D.
Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

As my first semester as Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences comes to a close, I continue to be greatly impressed by the achievements of our faculty as well as by their dedication to their students.

It therefore saddens me greatly to report that, during my first two months as dean, several of the college’s emeritus faculty as well as one current faculty member passed away before I could get to know them. Professor Emeritus Bruce Steiner died on July 13; he had joined the college’s History Department in 1962 and continued teaching popular courses on the Colonial and Revolutionary periods of U.S. history for almost two decades after his formal retirement in 2000. Distinguished Professor Emeritus Lowell Gallaway passed away on Aug. 13; he had joined the Economics Department in 1967 and retired from the university in 2002 after a successful career in research and teaching. Professor Jack Bender joined the Philosophy Department in 1985; he passed away on Sept. 14 while holding the position of Department Chair. Dr. James Tong, joined the college’s Chemistry & Biochemistry Department in 1957, and he continued his outreach activities long after his retirement in 1997. He passed away on Sept. 24. And Professor Emeritus Douglas Adie passed away on Sept. 25; he joined the Economics Department one year after his college Professor Gallaway, and he continued teaching introductory courses as well as courses in managerial economics for another six years after his retirement in 2011.  These former colleagues were dedicated teachers who, during their long and successful careers, touched and transformed the lives of an almost uncountable number of students.

Apropos transformations, in October our Physics Department organized its bi-annual Open House, which featured activities and talks geared toward a wide range of ages, from elementary grades up through the ever-young and curious at heart. It was wonderful to observe the faculty and graduate students explain the wonders of physics to the area’s young through simple but eye-catching experiments that included flying bottles powered by water, musical fire, coordinated pendula, century-old telescopes, and many more. The Open House featured over 800 visitors, and it is likely to have transformed the future career goals of some of the young attendees.

The fall semester offered some great opportunities for me to learn first-hand about the achievements of our alumni. Many of you visited the Arts & Sciences tent at Howard Square during the homecoming parade; the homecoming roundtables at the fifth annual reunion of our program in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies generated many stimulating exchanges, and the 50th Anniversary Celebration of our Geography Department in November featured a reception and a great networking lunch for alumni and student participants.

It was particularly exciting for me to welcome some of our former students to the college’s Notable Alumni reception on Oct. 25. We honored alumni from 17 different disciplines, who had traveled between nine and 9,300 miles to attend the event, and whose graduation years span seven decades, from 1951 to 2018. We are very grateful to our honorees, as well as to many more of our alumni who are also reading this newsletter, for their continued involvement with the University. Our students benefit so much when they hear about the experiences that have led to your successful careers, when you teach them about networking and about what to expect in their application processes and future professions, and when you guide them through intern- and externships. At a time when higher education must strengthen its focus on student careers, we much appreciate all the help that you are willing to offer to our current students, your successors.

Our annual Arts & Sciences Career and Networking Week offers a specific opportunity to share your experience on the Alumni Networking Day on Jan. 30 at the Alumni-Student Networking Reception. It would be great if you consider joining us in Athens for this event. RSVP online or contact our Senior Director of External Relations, Lisa Cohen, at

Dean Florenz Plassmann, portrait

Dean Florenz Plassmann


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