Honor Roll

Honor Roll

Tony Novaco (L-R), Thom Bruggink, Jim Lennertz, and Chester Salwach. Photo by Chuck Zovko.

The College honored retiring faculty members elected to emeritus status at the annual Pre-Commencement Dinner May 24. President Daniel H. Weiss read the citations below. To read testimonials from alumni, visit community.lafayette.edu, where you can add your own memories of these unforgettable professors.

THOMAS H. BRUGGINK, professor of economics, joined the faculty in 1978.

When you first arrived at the College you developed the econometrics course which, over the past 35 years, has become a mainstay for all economics majors. For the past 10 or so years you’ve taught one of the department’s most popular electives, the Economics of Sports, and annually turned out a least one senior thesis in this area. Always in high demand, this course will be sorely missed from the curriculum as we have no one waiting in the on-deck circle to pinch-hit for you.

“He created a research opportunity that ultimately led to a honors thesis and a platform upon which I applied to graduate school.”

You added you own special brand of humor to your classes and also to the department, giving your assignments catchy titles such as “Add a little curvature to your life”—for an econometrics homework. And you were generous with colleagues, sharing exams, assignment ideas, and chocolate—a ready supply of it was always in your office! In response to an online feature about you, an alumnus wrote, “Professor Bruggink’s courses at Lafayette College were always among my favorites. I am happy to hear that he is still proving that economics is such a fascinating field.” You have made positive, lasting impressions on your students. In 2007, we thanked you with a James E. Lennertz Prize for Exceptional Teaching and Mentoring, and we thank you again tonight.

Thom, you’ve had a long and steady record of success in research and have published extensively with students. Your most recent publications are the results of research in sports economics related to Major League baseball and other professional sports. Many media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, have cited your work.

Your service on important faculty committees has been invaluable as have your contributions as a faculty mentor to the cross country team.

Thom, I understand that you’re an avid bicyclist and have promised to ride your bike every day, rain or shine, after retirement. We’ll be on the lookout! We wish you great rides and look forward to seeing you when College Hill is your destination.

JAMES E. LENNERTZ, associate professor of government and law, joined the faculty in 1975.

With a J.D. from Harvard, a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and 38 years of teaching and scholarly inquiry at Lafayette, Jim has lived and shaped the Lafayette Experience.

“His commitment to his students’ development, to excellent academics, and to a vision of Lafayette as a great institution was and remains an inspiration.”

As an educator and mentor, Jim has had a lasting impact on the lives of his students. His teaching focused on developing “critical thinking, communication, teamwork, etc.” in his courses and sought “to guide and acknowledge confident, articulate and effective speaking (and listening).” His use of simulations engaged students and offered his classes an interesting platform from which to explore thorny issues—from a mock trial of Osama bin Laden, to a moot court project on political humor, to role playing lawyers and Supreme Court justices arguing and deciding the Health Care Reform Act.

Alumni/ae look back on their experiences with Professor Lennertz and remember him as a thoughtful and caring mentor. He, in turn, looks back with pride on his students’ accomplishments, knowing that he “was somehow able to touch and enable them to facilitate their achievements.” Some time ago, a former student reached out to Jim after 20 years. Upon learning how he positively impacted who this alum had become, Jim is quoted as having said, “Those are the moments that make teaching more a rewarding vocation than a mere job.” In 2004, in honor of those moments, the James E. Lennertz Prize for Exceptional Teaching and Mentoring was established. The prize represents a tribute to Jim’s enduring contribution and stands as evidence of his pursuit of excellence. It serves as an ongoing reminder of what we value as an institution and what Jim has stood for and practiced: providing a challenging education to students with commitment, engagement, enthusiasm, and a love of learning.

Congratulations, Jim, and best wishes as you begin your next chapter in California!

ANTHONY D. NOVACO, Marshall R. Metzgar Professor of Physics, joined the faculty in 1973.

Tony, for more than 40 years you’ve been an integral member of the Lafayette family. Whether teaching introductory physics, quantum theory, solid-state physics, or astronomy, students are awed by your command of the discipline – and your booming voice. Even at 8:00 a.m. in the morning, there is probably no student who has ever slept through one of your classes! Generations of students have left your courses both wiser and more curious, and those students are probably your most enduring legacy at Lafayette.

“His influence led me toward dynamical systems, chaos, and fractals, which is still my research area after 20 years.”

As a theoretical physicist with a special interest in condensed matter, one of your most distinguishing and enduring characteristics is your obvious and contagious love of learning. Whenever studying a new topic— whether it be constructing a wave function for superconducting electrons, overseeing security for the department’s server, assessing the methods of historical astronomical measurements, or contemplating the potential collapse of civilization itself – you become engrossed and are eager to share your discoveries with all. Your superior teaching and scholarly contributions earned you both the Thomas Roy and Lura Forest Jones Faculty Lecture Award and the Thomas Roy and Lura Forest Jones Award.

Tony, your record as a campus citizen has been superb. Early in your career you served as the director of the Computer Center and later, in addition to being a member of almost every major faculty committee, you headed the Department of Physics. Your headship coincided with the design and construction phases of the Hugel Science Center, during which time you developed a near encyclopedic knowledge of every aspect of the building—from the roofing drainage systems to the mysteries buried deep in the basement. Even today, you are perhaps one of the few people on campus who understands how the building as a whole actually functions!

In welcoming you to emeritus status, Tony, we honor your significant contributions to the College. With teaching and committee responsibilities behind you, I know that you and Dorothy hope to log some frequent flyer miles. But remember to stop in now and again—it’ll be difficult to say good bye to you.

CHESTER JOHN J. SALWACH, associate professor of mathematics, joined the faculty in 1976.

Soon after earning your Ph.D. from Lehigh University you came to its rival, Lafayette. And for the past 37 years you’ve made Lafayette your home. Just last year you wrote that “teaching continues to be a source of inspiration and great enjoyment to me.” Your teaching repertoire has spanned elementary, intermediate, and upper-level mathematics courses and has included abstract algebra, your favorite! You also directed a study abroad semester at Vesalius College in Brussels. Over the years, you’ve seen technological advances—such as Mathematica and Moodle—that have influenced the ways in which mathematics is taught. However, Chester, it will be for your “old fashioned” dedication and selfless attention to the needs of your students that you’ll be remembered. I understand that because you live some distance from campus, it was not unusual for you to spend the night in your office when heavy snow was predicted so that you were certain to be available to teach the next day. Thank you for that!

“My career path can be directly traced back to independent research that I did with him my senior year.”

With a research interest in combinatorial design theory and algebraic coding theory, you have given presentations and published numerous papers on these subjects. In 1983, you received a Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Lecture Award.

You ably served on a number of faculty committees and, for six years, headed the Department of Mathematics. Your attention to detail and cordiality were hallmarks of your leadership. It is said that other department heads envied your reputation for the punctual completion of demanding tasks like personnel reviews and semester course schedules! Chester, the Provost and I would like to thank you for stoically and without complaint shouldering the load of guiding the interactions of 19 faculty members with the Administration.

Upon your retirement, Lafayette College will be losing a diligent and collegial member of its faculty. And I know, Chester, that this community—from the students to the faculty to the administration—will miss you and wish you well.

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