I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!
John Halstead '70
May 18, 2017
I am President Emeritus living in the Finger Lakes after serving for 17 years as a university president: Mansfield University (1998-2005) and SUNY Brockport (2005-2015). Prior to that I was Vice President at both Gonzaga University and the University of Maine following my M.A. at Michigan State University and my Ph.D. at The Ohio State University. I also taught graduate courses in higher ed for over two decades. Although my career spans over 45 years (encouraged by Dean Griffith who created an internship at Colgate, including working with Deans Miller and Martin helping to admit the first class of women at Colgate) Professor Aveni's career is much more daunting and amazing.
In the early 2000's during my first college presidency, I was taking a visiting scholar and colleague from Ukraine to the Syracuse Airport. There I encountered Professor Aveni for the first time since my freshmen core (and later when he dazzled my young daughter in a star gazing program during a Reunion Weekend). We struck up a conversation and I invited Tony to come to my campus in PA to deliver a distinguished lecture. He immediately accepted, visited the Mansfiield University campus and delivered an engaging lecture. I think the honorarium was a good dinner and a glass of wine. However, it cost me much more as Tony rallied my astronomy professors to save the old planetarium during a campus tour. Thus, during a time of budget cuts for the PA state universities, I reallocated funds as advocated by Tony!
As an undergrad, invoking a thirst for knowledge and cross disciplinary studies which I later supported at my two universities as president. An enduring respect for the value of the liberal arts coexisting with the ever growing STEM fields.
To never forget your professors as my wife and I visited Tony and Lorraine's Hamilton home during one of the Colgate Reunions (I loved the Scene story about being broke and picking Colgate). They were most gracious. I also saw Tony during one of the presidential inaugurals at Colgate--symbolic since I also stood on the Chapel steps with a young freshman I had recommended to Colgate and "my" President, Tom Bartlett, and marched that day as a delegate for SUNY Brockport.
Congratulations, Tony, on a tremendous career mentoring and impacting so many of your students. I trust my stories will be shared with you verbatim. Your modesty as CASE National Professor of the Year is exemplary as you symbolized the best of the best. I would never fall asleep in your class!
I beat you to retirement in 2015, yet now Dartmouth calls so you're not retired and probably never will be...Keep that Aveni magic taking others to the end of the universe. Well done, my friend!