Friends gathered earlier this month to celebrate four members of the Mary Baldwin University community who are retiring this year after a combined 116 years of service.
Karen Dorgan, professor of education, will retire after 20 years as a faculty member in the Richmond regional center. She has worked as an advisor and taught in the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs (Baldwin Online and Adult Programs), the Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure program, and the Graduate Teacher Education program. Dorgan also served as an advisor/representative at the Rappahannock Community College center for several years and co-directed Baldwin Online and Adult Programs Summer Week.
Among her professional highlights, Dorgan presented at many state and regional conferences as an active member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. She spent a sabbatical in the Netherlands to study the role of geometry in that country’s elementary school curriculum, and she was the 2004 recipient of a Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges Mednick Fellowship.
Dorgan says her favorite Mary Baldwin memories include Baldwin Online and Adult Programs faculty meetings crowded into the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs House living room, faculty retreats, masters of arts in teaching dinners with stimulating conversation, and Thursday overnights in Staunton before Friday faculty meetings. These overnights often involved long walks, dinners out, and much laughter with other Baldwin Online and Adult Programs faculty members from various regional centers, she said. She will also remember Baldwin Online and Adult Programs Summer Week, meeting students from around the state and spending one intense week of teaching and learning with them.
Before coming to Mary Baldwin, Dorgan taught grades 5–8, primarily mathematics and science in York County. She earned a BA and MA in education at the College of William and Mary and an EdD at the University of Virginia (UVa) in in curriculum and instruction, with emphasis areas in mathematics education and philosophical foundations of education.
Jim Gilman, professor of religion and philosophy, will retire after 30 years of service.
Gilman said his favorite philosophy courses to teach are Introduction to Philosophy; Modern Philosophy; and Modern Political Thought, and his favorite religion courses to teach are Christian Faith and Social Justice; Greek Myth and Religion; Religion, Politics, and Public Policy; and Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
“Teaching is my first academic love, and at a small liberal arts college I was privileged to teach both religion and philosophy, which was one of my criteria for choosing Mary Baldwin,” Gilman said. “My most memorable moments at Mary Baldwin are with students in the classroom, sometimes wild episodes that still make me chuckle. Other moments are when alumni write and express gratitude for their Mary Baldwin education.”
Over the years, Gilman has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and as a mediator with Fairfield Mediation Center. He also worked with an organization that provides decent and affordable housing and support services for mentally disabled citizens. In 2003 he was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church, an office that focuses on church and community service. Gilman also enjoys reading poetry, hiking, music, concerts, museums, and camping.
He and his wife, Rosemary, plan to retire to the Seattle area, which is his hometown, spending more time with his two children, five siblings, and “plenty of nieces and nephews.” He also plans to continue writing and publishing, including a book out this spring, Christian Faith, Justice, and a Politics of Mercy: The Benevolent Community. He also is finishing another manuscript, How to Resolve Conflict: An Introductory Mediation Manual.
“What made these years so magnificently fine for me were the people, students, faculty, and staff. Mary Baldwin people made my day, every day,” he said. “Department colleagues were a blessing, and students even managed to keep me awake during class. I will miss students and colleagues the most.”
Housekeeper Martha Hamrick has worked at Mary Baldwin for 32 years, primarily in the Woodson Residence Hall and Kable House.
“She is a loyal, faithful, employee,” said Sarah Cash, Hamrick’s supervisor. “She even worked when she was sick. She is a good cleaner, a good housekeeper.”
Hamrick also made an impression on students, said alumna Trisha Vaughan Long ’08.
“She always greeted me with a warm hello and asked how I was doing that day,” Long said. “It was kind of like kissing your mom goodbye in the morning. It was always reassuring to talk with her.”
Lundy Pentz, associate professor of biology, will retire after 34 years of service. In addition to his work on the faculty, Pentz has served as associate faculty marshal for 26 years and parliamentarian for the last five. He also has been the “go-to person for biology equipment that has stopped working and for experiments that haven’t started working yet,” Pentz said. “And any time a colleague in [Carpenter] Academic has a funny smell in the office or funny-tasting water, I seem to be the contact person for testing or explaining the problem.”
Pentz notes among his professional highlights having Johns Hopkins University publish the laboratory exercises he had written out in calligraphy and illustrated; being recruited to serve as a scientific review administrator for the United States Army’s Breast Cancer Research Program on a molecular biology and genetics panel; and, more recently, collaborating with Professor of Art History Sally James to develop a technical art history course resulting from the American Art Institute’s program for teachers through a Kress Foundation fellowship.
“It was probably the most fun I have had teaching any course, because it brought together my science and my hobbies, as I have had a long-standing interest in calligraphy and illumination,” Pentz said.
In the Staunton community, Pentz serves on the vestry and the worship committee at Trinity Episcopal Church, serving as lay reader and lay Eucharistic minister. He recently joined the Augusta County Railway Historical Society and Museum and has helped set up and operate model railway displays.
After retirement, Pentz will offer a course for UVa’s Osher Lifetime Learning Institute, or OLLI, program on the medical applications of basic science, among many hobbies and travel plans. He will also return to campus each Commencement to hand-letter Latin honors on diplomas — as long as his hand remains steady.
Pentz said there are many things he will miss about Mary Baldwin University, including “leading the faculty in procession down the Administration Building steps and into First Presbyterian Church for Founders’ Day on a crisp October morning, working with colleagues in so many disciplines whose love of learning and ideas is so strong, and, above all, seeing the light of comprehension and interest appear in a student’s eyes and knowing that I had somehow helped that happen.”