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Remembering Victor Hill

Professor Hill had a great influence on me (“In Memoriam,” fall 2016). He was a freshman advisor like no other. For the eight or 10 of us he advised, that meant handwritten invitations to visit on our doors when we arrived, frequent calls to come for donuts, 10-course dinners (really) and frequent harpsichord concerts. I wasn’t much of a math student, but he didn’t care. I couldn’t pronounce the names of the meals he cooked, didn’t know which utensil to use and had no idea what a harpsichord was. But he was kind and friendly and really looked after us. Twenty years after I graduated, I was invited to give a talk at Williams and stopped by his office in Bronfman. He wasn’t there, so I left a note. I received a long letter in the mail soon thereafter and it seemed like we had just spoken. As a teacher, I try to do things in the same way that Professor Hill did, but, alas, without his panache!

—Steve Cohen ’73,
Cambridge, Mass.


“I am delighted that you have received the potential awakening of a lifetime, and that now you might actually get what so many of us have been describing all along. Welcome to that deep perpetual angst. Embrace it, and allow it to motivate you to a deeper form of action.” —Rhon S. Manigault-Bryant, Associate Dean of the Faculty and Africana studies professor, in “An Open Letter to White Liberal Feminists” surprised by the election results, for the African American Intellectual Historical Society

“It’s where we are in this country right now. Anyone who thinks that race has faded away in any realm of life is obviously kidding themselves.” —Roger Kittleson, History professor, in an article about evidence of implicit racial bias in Major League Soccer officiating

“It’s a tremendous opportunity. It’s a chance to see the universe change around you.” — Jay Pasachoff, Astronomy professor, in a article about the first total solar eclipse visible from the continental U.S. in four decades, set to take place on Aug. 21, 2017

“Turn on your kitchen faucet, and you’ll likely see the work of an EPA grant. Most drinking water systems receive critical EPA support to keep aging infrastructure delivering clean water to American households.” —Phoebe Cohen, Geosciences professor (with David Bond, associate director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Action at Bennington College), in an op-ed for the Bennington Banner about how proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency could harm Vermont’s work to safeguard drinking water in communities affected by PFOA contamination

“Rather than a barrier, early decision helps us pursue our goal of increasing access for low-income students.” —Adam Falk, President, in a letter to The New York Times, responding to Frank Bruni’s column “The Plague of ‘Early Decision’”

“The data are striking.If I wasn’t a respectable, distinguished person, I would use curse words to describe these results, because they’re amazing.” —Nate Kornell, Psychology professor, in a article about a Japanese study showing that macaque monkeys, like humans, know the limits of their own memories