I was sad to see that Professor Whitney Stoddard has passed away. The College noted that:
“Whitney Stoddard personified the ideal of the liberal arts professor,” Williams President Morton Owen Schapiro said. “His scholarship informed his rigorous yet popular teaching while he supported in many ways his faculty colleagues and seemed to attend almost every academic, cultural, and athletic event of his students.” He also looked the part, with his tweed jackets, wide-brimmed hats, ever-present pipe, and retriever often at his side.
For many years, freshman orientation at Williams included a talk by Stoddard called “A Sense of Where You Are,” a wry look at the architecture of the college, not every minute of which was enjoyed by the college administration. The talk was so popular with students that recent classes asked him to give it again the week of their graduation, for which he changed the title to “A Sense of Where You Were.” In 2001 he produced the book “Reflections on the Architecture of Williams” with editor Thomas W. Bleezarde and photographer Arthur D. Evans. This earned him the Williamstown Historical Commission’s first annual preservation award.
1) The whole article is very well-written.
2) Note the use of “freshmen” instead of “first year”. I have a guess about the author of the article . . .
3) Professor Stoddard served in the Navy in World War II. The number of current Williams faculty (active and emeritus) that have served in the military is fast approaching zero. Whether or not you think that this is a good thing depends on your point of view.
4) I remember Professor Stoddard’s talk as well as I remember any lecture at Williams. I was so enthralled by his wit and humor and timing, that I went to the lecture most ever year at Williams. Although no one will ever be able to give the talk that way he did, I hope that the college will continue the tradition.