Festive Recognition Dinner Celebrates Longtime SMC Faculty

Faculty receiving honors at Recognition Dinner.SMC hosted a Faculty Recognition Dinner on Friday, Sept. 21, to honor a diverse group of faculty members who have been with the College for 15 to 40 years. The celebration, held at the Soda Center, began with tasty hors d’oeuvres and drinks followed by a sit-down, gourmet dinner—and accolades from a large crowd of faculty members.

Faculty were celebrated for their academic advances and indelible contributions to SMC. Associate Professor of Communication and Chair of the Department of Communication Ed Tywoniak, celebrating 40 years of teaching at SMC, commented on the occasion. “I’ve seen a lot of changes in 40 years. I teach a lot of technology, and back then, you couldn’t get a phone in the dorm. We had one photocopy machine on campus and were still using mimeographs. Women were just admitted in 1971, when I was here as a student in 1975, he said.

“The greatest thing about my time here is the presence of the Brothers,” Tywoniak continued. “They’ve been the frame of reference for my entire life, professionally and personally.”

A printed brochure included a compilation of praise, ribbing, and adoration from honorees’ department members and students.

Celebrating Professor Paul Giurlanda on his 40 years in Theology & Religious Studies, one colleague wrote, “Paul is always thinking, always puzzling over something, always reflecting. And it isn’t merely academic, arm’s-length analysis he’s up to. He’s really trying to figure out how this world works, what matters, and how he (and we) fit into it.”

Wrote Sally Jamison of the College’s beloved Carole Swain, who has dedicated 30 years to the Office of Mission and Ministry, “Carole Swain quite simply has been the embodiment of the Lasallian spirit at the College for 30 years. As the inaugural vice president for Mission, Carole invited Saint Mary’s faculty, staff, and students into a deeper understanding and commitment to the liberal arts, Catholic, and Lasallian traditions through various initiatives, programs, and events.”

Joan Peterson is celebrating 30 years on campus. “Her hard-working habits, her concern for students and for the program that serves them, her sensitive, caring personality, and her dedication to Saint Mary’s values have made her a model of what a professor should be. It has been an enriching experience to have worked with her all these years,” wrote the Department of Teacher Education.

English Professor Brenda Hillman poetically described 15-year veteran English Professor Marilyn Abildskov this way: “Like Athena in the epic, she has sometimes empowered her student voyagers to change the nature of time itself or at least to shape it in ways, as she writes, that are ‘linear, spiral, braided, and disjunctive’ in order to craft their personal narratives.”

Finally, a group of faculty members pronounced of Professor Alvaro Ramirez, World Languages & Cultures: “The ultimate Don Quixote, he has guided countless students through the adventures and misadventures of all things Mexico—the language, the country, the cultures—and made them question assumptions about what it means to be Mexican. …There’s not too many souls around here who have, like Alvaro, deep knowledge of all things Cervantes, Borges or Rulfo, and also a deep appreciation for punk rock and rock en español.”

Faculty honored are listed in the box. Congrats to all!