As another school years comes to a close, Saint Anselm prepares to say goodbye to some of its valued colleagues. Their areas of study range from philosophy to chemistry, and they boast three to almost four decades of teaching. The five professors who will not be returning to Saint Anselm next semester are Dr. Robert Augros, Philosophy, Dr. Elona Lucas, English, Dr. George Parodi, Chemistry, Dr. Donald Rhodes, Biology, and Dr. Janet Romaine, Economics and Business.
Dr. Mark Cronin, Dean of the College, remarked that saying goodbye to this batch of teachers will not be easy, “It is, of course, always difficult to part with beloved teachers. Many of these faculty members have been with the school since the 1970s and 80s, and they have served our students and the college with not only their scholarly and pedagogical expertise, but also with their grace and dignity of character. Even though we’ve have hired new professors to teach in their content areas, faculty such as these cannot be replaced. They are deeply committed to their students and to the college, and they will be dearly missed.”
The teachers that are leaving at the end of the year have had the joy of watching Saint Anselm as it grew and evolved into the modern college that it is today. Professor Lucas from the English department leaves a campus that is very different from the one she first arrived at thirty-seven years ago in the Fall of 1981. “When I arrived the Dana Center was just being completed, the Carr center had just recently been built, and I have seen many new buildings added on campus.” Included in that are the majority of the dorms that are currently on campus, because Lucas reported that the majority of students at the time commuted to class, a big change from the school’s makeup now.
But while Lucas says the physical state of the campus has greatly changed, the advancement of technology has seen an even bigger impact on both students and faculty. Lucas shared that when she joined Saint Anselm in 1981 photocopy machines did not exist yet, forcing her to type all of her syllabuses and other important documents on mimeograph paper. “It was virtually impossible to correct, and we did not have secretaries, so we did all the work ourselves. Faculty didn’t have computers either, I didn’t get my computer until 1986.” Professor Lucas said she did not even have a phone in her office. Today, Lucas is still upgrading her personal technology, having bought her first smartphone earlier this year.
Professor Parodi of the Chemistry department has worked at Saint Anselm College for thirty years and has had his three children all attend and graduate from here as well. Parodi also said that he has noticed the physical and technological changes at Saint Anselm, but he also remarked on the change in personnel. “The level of scholarship I think has risen over the years. The accomplishments of young faculty are very impressive.”
When asked what he would miss most about Saint Anselm, Parodi did not hesitate to answer that it was the people. “When people talk about the college being a community, it’s very easy to say that, I’m sure a lot of campuses do say that. But it is certainly true here. From the workers at the coffee shop to the administrator, I think we all look forward to our social interactions.” Parodi said it is that type of community that encourage past retirees to return to the campus for a visit, something he said he will be sure to do.
When she was asked what her time at Saint Anselm has meant to her, Lucas got emotional as she recalled the friendships and opportunities working at Saint Anselm has given her. “I loved being able to teach things that I loved: Chaucer, Arthurian Legends, Medieval Literature, Jane Austen, Willa Cather, and Linguistics. Those are classes I created myself and taught myself, and the ability to teach these things was an opportunity to learn and grow intellectually.” Lucas also fondly remembered her friendships with members of the monastic community, citing Father Jude Gray and Father Daniel Dempsky as two valuable colleagues in the English department, who are now gone.
Lucas said the close relationships she created with some of her students will also stick with her as she goes. She presented a tote bag full of letters, emails, and cards from students. She vows to save them as mementos of her time here.
Once the school year is over and the offices are emptied out, both Parodi and Lucas look forward to the new part of their lives. Lucas plans to move back to Ohio where she grew up and attended college. She will continue her reading and her research and forever grow her love for education. Lastly, she looks forward to spending her summers with her sister in Arizona, avoiding the cold New England weather.
Parodi is excited to travel once he is retired. “I was very fortunate to be sent to Orvieto last semester, that was wonderful, and I’d love to go back to Italy. First, I’ll be heading to Ireland in the Fall. And I also hope to plant a good garden.”
Every teacher that will say goodbye at the end of this year will be greatly missed by faculty and students alike. Their lessons will continue to influence the school long after they are gone.