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J. Ritchie Garrison, professor
emeritus of history, has received this year’s College of Arts and Sciences
(CAS) award for excellence in mentoring.
He is among eight CAS faculty
members to be honored in 2019-20 for outstanding achievement in a variety of
Over the past few weeks, CAS Dean
John A. Pelesko surprised each of the honorees with a virtual visit during an
online class or event to announce and present the award.
Following are more details about Garrison
and the tribute Pelesko offered.
Now professor emeritus, Garrison has been a member of the History
Department for 35 years, but his truly interdisciplinary work extended to
Museum Studies, Art History, the Hagley and Winterthur Museums, and the Ph.D.
programs in American Civilization and Material Culture as well as U.S. history.
He has introduced several generations of students to the wonders of
vernacular architecture in the “Atlantic world,” and has been very much engaged
in the conception and creation of the Digital Sampler Archive. Garrison has
supervised no fewer than nine Ph.D. dissertations since 2005 and sat on 17
Ph.D. and dozens of M.A. committees.
His enthusiastic and devoted
students have gone forth to museum and academic posts all over the country,
including William & Mary and the University of Miami. They all sing his
praises as a particularly effective teacher and guide along the way of learning
This award for mentorship is a
most fitting one on the occasion of his retirement.
“For me, teaching is a
form of mentoring—passing on to the next generation the knowledge they must
acquire to work as professionals, giving our students the confidence to
say yes to the possibilities life offers, and developing the resilience and
perspective to enable them to weather life's trials,” Garrison said. “Mentoring
is the art of giving control to others so that they may act independently and
About the awards
Throughout the college, eight
faculty members were honored this year (read more).
Award winners, in addition to
Garrison, were Persephone Braham, associate professor of languages, literatures
and cultures, and Jamie Sutherland, assistant professor of mathematical
sciences, both for excellence in advisement; Jill Flynn, professor of English
education, and Oyenike Olabisi, associate professor of biological sciences,
both for excellence in advocacy; Kristen Poole, Ned B. Allen Professor of
English, excellence in scholarship; James Angelini, associate professor of
communication, excellence in service; and Jessica Edwards, associate professor
of English, excellence in teaching.
The honorees were selected by the
College’s Faculty Awards Committee, chaired by Lawrence G. Duggan, professor of
history, with members Richard Cunningham, professor of theater, Alenka Hlousek-Radojcic, associate professor of
biological sciences, Gladys Ilarregui, associate professor of languages,
literatures and cultures, and Brenda Shaffer, instructor in fashion and apparel
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