Letter to the Editor, February 9

By Michael Blasie and Benjamin Johnston, Class of 2007

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We accept the upcoming retirement of Dean Nancy Thompson with reluctance. She deserves rest and quiet, but we receive this news as a loss. When appointed dur- ing our sophomore year, she was a warm and welcoming administrator. She soon became much more.

Back in 2005, we had the pleasure of working with students, staff, and faculty on behalf of the Student Assembly. Everyone wanted to better Hamilton, but Dean Thompson did more. Willing to be pushed—and not afraid to push back—she made our weekly meetings with her a highlight. She took every suggestion seriously. She engaged every question rigorously. She prepared us for every challenge we could face: how to ask the right questions, how to hone an idea, how to run a meeting.

Hamilton empowers students to think critically, question the status quo, and catalyze change. That learning takes place outside the classroom too. The lessons we learned from Dean Thompson have proven more valuable than any one class. When someone at the pinnacle of her career takes you seriously, you remember her. She had faith in us.

Even from afar we learned from Dean Thompson. As the campus diplomat, she seamlessly worked with students, faculty, alumni, and staff. We saw her strong rapport with the Division of Student Life.

True to her title, Dean Thompson’s life was, and is, the students. She shaped Hamilton’s policies and programs. Her domain also included the more personal: roommate issues, sick relatives, ill students, parent phone calls, and student events. Each handled with passion and compassion, precision and generosity, respect and excellence. We remember a dean involved in every aspect of campus life. How many committees are there at Hamilton? About as many as Dean Thompson sits on!

Yet rarely a day went by without her taking a drop-in student meeting. Evening games, concerts, meetings, events, she went to those too. And while many discon- nected during breaks, she responded to emails and planned for next year. She loved her work.

We do not know who the next Dean will be. We are sure it will be someone wonderful. But Dean Thompson will always be our favorite. Other deans will never be her, though they may (and should) try.

Thank you Dean Thompson for your many years of service to the Hamilton community. Thank you for bringing out the best in so many students like us. It means just as much to us now as it did then. Congratulations on retirement!

Michael Blasie and Benjamin Johnston, Class of 2007

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