Distinguished Faculty Awards

The Hobart Alumni Association and William Smith Alumnae Association honored Professor Emeritus of English James Crenner, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy Benjamin Daise and the late Professor of History Maureen Flynn P’09, P’12, P’16 with Distinguished Faculty Awards during Reunion 2017.

Established in 1990, the Distinguished Faculty Award recognizes the importance that graduates of the Colleges place on the contributions of outstanding faculty members of the past – for their impact as teachers, mentors and scholars. Nominations for the award are sought by all alumni and alumnae, and are professors who are retired or have moved on from Hobart and William Smith for more than five years or are deceased.

To see photos from the Distinguished Faculty Awards reception or to recommend a faculty member for consideration, please click here.

James Crenner
(Professor of English 1967 – 2008)

Crenner was a co-founder in 1970 of the Seneca Review, the Colleges’ renowned literary magazine and, in 2001, was appointed the John Milton Potter Chair, a prestigious endowed professorship. With an extensive list of publications, Crenner holds an M.A. in modern literature and a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Iowa, as well as an M.F.A. from the prestigious Iowa Creative Writers’ Workshop.

“By caring so much, Jim Crenner gave students not only a passion for the courses’ content but also the desire to embody the same level of passion in whatever form we felt drawn to in the future.”
– Jane Elizabeth Herbst ’72

“Professor Crenner was my dad’s [Todd Rosenthal ’71] writing professor in 1970 and mine in 2007 and 2008. We were both equally inspired by his energy and creativity. He pushed me to be the best writer I could possibly be. I will forever be grateful for Professor Crenner and go glad I got to share such a wonderful man with my dad!”
– Molly Rosenthal ’11

Benjamin Daise
(Professor of Philosophy 1970-2008)

Daise, one of the first black philosophy professors in the country, spent nearly 40 years enriching the lives of his students through the study of existentialism and ancient philosophy, with special attention to the idea of self. He is the author of Kierkegaard’s Socratic Art, a book that affirmed his role as a leading voice on Kierkegaard in the field. Trained in Danish and Greek, Daise earned his B.A. in chemistry from Morehouse College and his Ph.D. in philosophy from University of Texas at Austin.

“Because he constantly pushed me to approach problems from a different perspective, it helped to change the way that I viewed the world and the issues that we face within society. He was one of the few professors that could give criticism, but not allow that to keep him from judging one’s work fairly.”
– Joseph Goings '01

“Daise transmitted a rare and contagious enthusiasm for philosophy and treated students with respect, dignity and equality.”
– Robert Alan Schindler '72

Maureen Flynn P’09, P’12, P’16
(Professor of History 1992 – 2014)

Flynn, who passed away in 2015, is remembered as a passionate educator who defied the limits of “past” and “present.” Teaching at the Colleges for 22 years, Flynn specialized in medieval and renaissance history, among other disciplines. A Fulbright scholar and member of Phi Beta Kappa, she earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from University of Wisconsin Madison, and is the author of Sacred Charity, among many other publications.

“Maureen Flynn was one of the most amazing teachers I had, not only at HWS, but in my whole life. Her Medieval Popular Culture course changed my perspective on life and gave me insight into human nature and how society has evolved. Maureen was a truly inspirational person, who taught with passion and moral conviction and who revealed a more nuanced view of the world.”
– Sophie Bober ’14

“Maureen Flynn had a genuine interest in helping the student as an individual. Her approach was to make sure you made the connections yourself in order to understand the material. Her offers to help were well used and her attitude made her approachable and better understood.”
–Ashley Lee '11


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