by Jake Becker
Binghamton University faculty, alumni and administrators gathered May 1 to honor professors Carrol Coates, Gerald Kadish and Zoja Pavlovskis-Petit for their 50 years each of teaching at Harpur College.
The event recognized the leadership of the three in shaping the core values of the institution throughout their careers.
"Harpur College was founded on a tradition of excellence that began over 60 years ago," Interim Dean Wayne Jones told an audience in the Mandela Room. "As we reflect on the amazing careers of these three wonderful faculty, we can see where continued excellence comes from. It comes from the excellence in your scholarship, and everything you do to share with your students the passions you have in your discipline, in the liberal arts and in Harpur College."
The jubilee marked the retirement of Kadish, distinguished professor of history, known as "Mr. Harpur" to his former students. Coates, Bartle Professor of French, comparative literature and linguistics, has for the last year enjoyed semi-retirement teaching part-time. Pavlovskis-Petit, who is in her 51st year at Binghamton University and also as a professor of comparative literature, will continue to add years to her tenure.
By sustaining this commitment to excellence, which began when Harpur's first president, Glenn G. Bartle, was shaping the emerging institution, the three have continually integrated their academic passions into their respective curriculums.
"They've helped take the vision that Glenn Bartle had and [have made] it reality as the university transformed itself from an undergraduate liberal arts college to a university setting," said Donald Nieman, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "To make that happen, you really need people who carry the institutional memory of the institution to new, successive generations that come in. Gerry, Zoja and Carrol have really done that."
Their devotion to students continues to set a model precedent for Binghamton's faculty within and outside of Harpur College, according to President Harvey Stenger.
"These three professors started their careers here and created a legacy of what Binghamton University is known for – outstanding faculty teaching engaged, highly-motivated, precocious, hard-working students," he said.
After accepting the inaugurated faculty award for a half-century of service to Harpur College, Kadish made the most of the opportunity to commend his colleagues and express his gratitude.
"[Professor Pavlovskis-Petit] has been a constant delight for [these] 50 years," he said. "[Professor] Coates has been also for 50 years a source a knowledge. Harpur College remains an exceptional opportunity for those who truly want to learn."
Jones, who recited the long lists of personal and academic achievements, emphasized the professors' seminal work in expanding the core values of the institution.
"[Each individual has spent] 50 years contributing not only to the education of our students," he said, "but to the intellectual brainpower of our campus."
Last Updated: 5/17/13