Judith Stapleton:
2012 Recipient of the Williamson Medal

The following citation was presented at Franklin & Marshall College’s Commencement Ceremony on May 12, 2012:

Judith Stapleton is an extraordinary student, exemplary campus leader and a kind and humble person of unsurpassed personal integrity. She graduates ranked second in the Class of 2012 with honors in Art History and a minor in Italian. She spent both the summer of 2010 and the spring of 2011 studying in Italy. Judith has also been an influential figure at the College’s Writing Center for three years and served as head tutor during her senior year. As a senior she has also engaged the Lancaster community by partnering with classmates May Aung and Rukshana Tuli to found an organization called Atma. The initiative, a Franklin Innovation Challenge winner, is dedicated to empowering local refugee women by hosting bi-weekly workshops and helping the women market their artisan products.

Judith’s journey to F&M was somewhat unusual. Born in Scotland to a Scottish “mum” and an English dad, she lived until age 8 in Hertfordshire, England, an hour north of London. Her parents then moved to Connecticut, where Judith resided until receiving a letter inviting her to enroll at Franklin & Marshall in the fall of 2008. Being an adventurous spirit, Judith opted to enroll via what was then known as the College’s January program, and spent a gap semester in Europe. After a three-week camping trip during which she visited 11 European countries, Judith settled in Glasglow, Scotland, where she lived with her sister and waited tables at a local restaurant. Judith regards this as the period that sharpened her appreciation for the opportunity to attend Franklin & Marshall, and she arrived in January 2009 hungry to engage the intellectual life of the institution. In November 2010 Judith also became a naturalized citizen of the United States and now holds dual citizenship both here and in the United Kingdom, a status shared by her parents.

Relationships with faculty and other students have been a defining feature of Judith’s time at F&M. Indeed, she started building them even before arriving on campus. During her gap semester in 2008, she traveled from Scotland to London so that she could meet in person with her first academic adviser, Professor Kabi Hartman. They met in the basement café at Waterstone’s bookstore in Bloomsbury and went over her course schedule for the spring. Like other relationships that Judith has enjoyed at F&M, this one has been sustained for four years and included meetings at the Chestnut Hill Café, Jazzman’s and Professor Hartman’s home. Indeed, Judith even borrowed a pile of books about the Bloomsbury group from Kabi — which she still needs to return.

During her seven semesters at F&M, Judith has established herself as a promising scholar of art history. Although she arrived at the College fairly certain that she would major in Art History, Judith nurtured that interest through grants she received from the College. After her sophomore year, she used a travel grant to study Byzantine art in Italy, and during the summer following her junior year, a Marshall Scholar grant enabled Judith to visit England to continue her study of Byzantine art. It was during this second trip that her intellectual curiosity led to a diversion that has become the topic of her senior honors thesis and may well occupy her scholarly attention for some years to come. Specifically, she vis-ited and became fascinated with a place called Charleston House, which served as the base for a small community of esoteric modern artists known as the Bloomsbury Group. In describing Judith’s senior thesis, Professor Amelia Rauser observes, “Judith is an exceptional intellect. A less ambitious student might have chosen an element of the house or the output of an artist to pursue, but Judith has been in-terested in the big picture from the beginning — how the aesthetic theories of Roger Fry and Clive Bell and the modernist feminist literature of Virginia Woolf integrate with the seemingly spontaneous decoration of the house and the unconventional lives of the artists who lived there.”

The Writing Center has also played a significant role in Judith’s life at F&M, and she equally has left her mark on the Center. Enrolling mid-year as she did, Judith initially found it difficult to integrate into campus life. Life changed for the better, however, when she was chosen as a writing tutor. Center Director Dan Frick and the team of tutors quickly became a community where Judith put down her roots. In turn, Judith showed herself to be a natural leader. Her ability to work well with students, her talents at leading in-class writing workshops, and her overall dedication to the Center led to Judith being offered the head tutor position for 2011 – 2012, when she was still a sophomore. In describing her performance, Professor Frick says, “She led by example, never asking anything from the staff that she wasn’t already doing herself. Such an attitude inspired a deep loyalty from the other tutors. Not coincidentally, during this year when the Center has been able to operate at record levels — we’ve never been busier — staff morale remained high. . . . Judith is a person of such exceptional quality, she makes the unprecedented seem ordinary.”

Judith’s passion for the written word has also influenced her other leadership choices. She has served as layout editor for the student literary magazine Epilogue, associate editor of the nonfiction magazine College Dispatch and art editor for Plume. Finally, her accomplished approach to the art of writing prompted Professor Frick to invite Judith to serve as the preceptor for his first-year seminar “America in the Age of Nixon.”

Judith also exemplifies the intellectual ethos that the Faculty Dons seek to foster in the College Houses. She formed a mentoring relationship with Ware College House Don Joel Eigen and sought his advice in developing both her plans for summer study in Italy and her Marshall Scholar project. Judith was also a ubiquitous presence at the signature Ware College House bagel breakfasts, where she enjoyed both lively conversation and meeting students she might otherwise never have encountered. She presented her final research project on the influence of Byzantium on the Bloomsbury Set to fellow Marshall scholars over a dinner in the Ware Den. House Don Joel Eigen says of Judith: “When I think of the reasons that animated my interest in being a House Don, it was to work closely with the Judith Stapletons in the student body. She inspires others with a quiet, determined purpose and an inquisitiveness that seems boundless. She’s probably the loudest ‘silent leader’ in the House.”

After spending a year working at Franklin & Marshall, Judith plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Art History.

Judith, we admire your serious yet playful intellect, your selfless style of leadership and the character of the relationships that you have built while a student. You clearly exemplify the qualities of intellect, creativity and character that the College seeks to foster in its students. On behalf of the faculty and administration, I invite you to accept this Williamson Medal.


Bennett Helm:
2012 Recipient of Bradley R. Dewey Award For Outstanding Scholarship 

The following citation was presented at Franklin & Marshall College’s Commencement Ceremony on May 12, 2012:

The Bradley R. Dewey Scholarship Award recognizes the faculty member who best exemplifies “the ideal of the scholar whose research efforts reflect and inspire excellence and enlighten teaching.” Bennett Helm is an outstanding example of the teacher-scholar ideal we value so highly. He is a prolific researcher who has achieved international recognition for his work, and he is a devoted teacher who challenges our students to participate in the philosophical enterprise at the highest level.

Professor Helm graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 1988, summa cum laude. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, and joined the Philosophy Department at Franklin & Marshall in 1995. He has been chair of the Philosophy Department and the program in Scientific and Philosophical Studies of Mind.

Professor Helm’s research aims to provide an account of the mind adequate to a serious moral psychology and understanding of personal and moral values. His publications are at the forefront of current work on action theory, moral psychology, the nature of emotions and the metaphysics of the self. Helm shows these areas to be interconnected in ways that force us to revise entrenched views about the nature of the mind, rationality and personhood. In his first book, “Emotional Reason,” published with Cambridge University Press, he shows that emotions are essentially intertwined with personal values and the structure of rational deliberation. Emotions and reasons can only be spelled out in terms of our commitments to revise them in light of one another. This implies that we need to abandon old distinctions between cognitive and motivational capacities: Cognizing the world and being affected by it constitute a single capacity. His second book, “Love, Friendship, and the Self,” published with Oxford University Press, broadens the philosophical implications of this analysis beyond individuals. Helm shows here that we should understand our identities as persons in terms of potentially shared values that constitute our loving and caring for one another. Traditionally individualistic notions, such as autonomy, turn out to rest on our social relations with others.

In addition to these books, Professor Helm has published the results of his research in more than two dozen articles in some of the leading philosophy journals, such as “Noûs” and “American Philosophical Quarterly.” He has presented his work at international conferences in Germany, Switzerland, Scotland, Jordan, Israel and Norway, and several of his papers have been translated and published in German. He has twice won year-long NEH research fellowships, as well as a prestigious ACLS fellowship. He is a lead investigator on a $640,000 grant from the John Templeton Foundation on Love and Human Agency. Next year he will be a Laurance Rockefeller Visiting Faculty Fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Human Value, where he plans to complete a third book investigating how our being free and responsible depends on our membership in a broader human community bound together through its members’ emotional interconnections.

Franklin & Marshall College is proud to bestow its highest award for scholarship on Bennett Helm: a true model of the teacher as scholar.


Greg Adkins:
2012 Recipient of the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching 

The following citation was presented at Franklin & Marshall College’s Commencement Ceremony on May 12, 2012:

“The Faculty Handbook” states that the College can flourish only in an atmosphere that not only tolerates but also encourages searching inquiry, unfettered thought, open discussion and free expression of ideas. As teachers, the faculty must engage students in such a community. For almost 30 years, Professor Gregory S. Adkins, as an exemplary scholar and master teacher, has modeled this ideal. He is one of a handful of F&M faculty to win both the Bradley R. Dewey Award for Outstanding Scholarship and the Lindback award for teaching.

Professor Adkins came to the College in 1983 after receiving a B.A. degree summa cum laude in physics and math from UCLA, where he stayed to complete his Ph.D. He has published more than 50 articles on aspects of quantum field theory, positronium, and gravitation; one of them is on a prestigious list of the all-time highest-cited articles in energy physics. He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) in 1998. Since 2007, he has held the William G. and Elizabeth R. Simeral Professorship at F&M.

Student course evaluations are key measures of effective teaching at F&M, and students place Professor Adkins “off the chart.” They describe him in superlatives. A student in his first-semester “Introductory Physics” last semester said: “He really is the most enthusiastic, kind and intelligent professor I’ve come across, and he really cares how his students do.” Another student in “Modern Physics” wrote, “Professor Adkins loves every aspect of being a professor. . . he is very friendly and approachable. He is a great teacher. His passion for the subject radiates during his classes.” Finally, a directed study student said: “[He] loves to help students solve a mystery. He will not try to solve it, but he will guide you.”

Professor Adkins’ reputation lives outside F&M. A National Science Foundation review panelist wrote: “. . . Adkins has consistently included undergraduates in his research, doing, as he describes, parallel calculations. It is hard to imagine a better way for a student to develop analytical and problem-solving skills as well as rigorous thinking in general.” In fact, 20 of Greg’s published works, all in top journals, contain the names of 19 different students as co-authors. A colleague in the American Physical Society states, “Greg’s research is first-rate. Particularly important is that Greg’s attitude toward physics is exactly what I think the APS should be encouraging, i.e., while putting enormous effort into advancing theoretical physics, he is also a dedicated teacher and faculty member.”

In Professor Adkins’ own words, “I am always aware of how fortunate I am to have a job here, and I remember that when working with students. Almost all of my students are interested, eager to use their minds and willing to work, and that makes them a pleasure to teach.” Professor Adkins’ love of teaching F&M students extends from the beginning to the end of their careers. He stated how excited he was to return to teaching introductory physics after a long hiatus, and how, at the same time, he looked forward to teaching some “extra courses,” electives in topics like string theory for our most advanced students.

Because of his dedication to his students and his ability to engage them in his passion for understanding the natural world, we extend to Gregory S. Adkins the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching. 

Dan Lewis:

2012 Recipient of the Richard Kneedler Distinguished Service Award 

The Richard Kneedler Distinguished Service Award, named for former President Richard Kneedler, was created to recognize one member of the professional staff each year who consistently goes “above and beyond” what would normally be expected; who has earned the respect of students and colleagues; and who has clearly demonstrated his or her commitment to the mission of the College. Nominations for this prestigious award were accepted from members of the campus community and reviewed by a committee of professional staff. From among many fine nominees, the committee recommended Dan Lewis, Director of Housekeeping & College House Facilities, as this year’s award recipient.

Mr. Lewis joined the College in 1984 as Superintendent of Housekeeping, overseeing F&M’s in-house and contracted custodial staff. Several years later he became Building Trades Manager, a position in which he supervised F&M’s locksmiths, carpenters and painters. In recent years, he has played a key role as a liaison between F&M’s College House System and Facilities & Operations, providing immeasurable help to dons, prefects and students in planning large tasks and responding to questions.

Through the years, Mr. Lewis has worked on many projects to enhance the College’s physical spaces through painting, carpeting, masonry and other means. He also worked closely with the key shop in Facilities & Operations and F&M administrators to select and roll out the College’s “fob” access system. Mr. Lewis administers F&M’s photocopier agreement, works with vendors for laundry equipment and snacks and beverages, and leads innumerable projects throughout campus. Through it all, he never misses a chance to tell people about his love for the College.

Mr. Lewis’ contributions to life at F&M extend well beyond his work in Facilities & Operations. He advises F&M’s Bessie Smith Society, a student group devoted to jazz, blues and folk music, and WFNM radio, where he hosts a program that airs from 5 to 7 a.m. each Monday during the academic year. He has been a regular performer in “Fum Follies,” an annual musical comedy presented by members of the faculty and professional staff. He also served on F&M’s Fringe Benefits Committee in the 1990s.

Like so many F&M employees, Mr. Lewis is enthusiastic about working with our students. As one colleague noted, “By his own personal example, Dan models for our students the ‘qualities of intellect, creativity and character’ we would hope they bring to their future endeavors: professionalism, patience, generosity and passion.”

Dan Lewis, your upbeat, gregarious approach to your job and many contributions to life at Franklin & Marshall enrich the fabric of our community. You are a living testament to the College’s wish for its alumni: “…that they may live fulfilling lives and contribute meaningfully to their occupations, their communities and their world.”