ICQ -- 2001/No. 3

Former Faculty Members Donate Money for Music and Humanities

President Peggy R. Williams recently announced generous donations by two former faculty members. Professor emerita of mathematics Shirley O. Hockett made a significant pledge that will endow the Shirley and Chas Hockett Chamber Music Concert Series. And a $720,000 bequest from professor emeritus of history Robert Ryan, who passed away in March 2000, will be used to establish the Robert Ryan Professorship in the Humanities and scholarships for history students.

HockettsThe chamber music series began last year in honor of Shirley Hockett and her late husband, Chas, and now the series has a permanent endowment to bring a major chamber ensemble to campus once yearly for a free public performance. In recognition of this and of the Hocketts’ longtime financial support of the School of Music, the College has named the recital hall in the James J. Whalen Center. "We are truly privileged to be able to show our appreciation," announced music dean Art Ostrander, "by naming it the Hockett Family Recital Hall."

Although Shirley Hockett taught mathematics at the College from 1966 to 1991, her passion and her family’s have long been music. Chas, who was the Goldwin Smith Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Linguistics at Cornell University until his death last November, was a performer (primarily bass clarinet) and composer. Their five children all studied music, and two children and a son-in-law are now professional musicians. At the age of 57 Shirley Hockett herself began studying the clarinet. Within a year she was performing alongside her husband as a member of the Ithaca Concert Band.

"Bob consistently brought out the best in both his students and colleagues, so it is eminently appropriate that his bequest will be used on behalf of both," said Howard Erlich, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, about Professor Ryan.

RyanRobert Ryan’s 42-year career here, beginning in 1956, was the longest of any faculty member in College history. He was instrumental in creating both the history major and the history honors program and served as department chair from 1969 to 1979 and in 1985–86. His courses included ancient history as well as modern Germany and the Holocaust, an interest he developed in the 1980s and for which he helped develop library resources. He officially retired in 1998 but continued teaching classes.

Dean Erlich explained how the bequest will be used: "The scholarships will help provide financial assistance for qualified incoming and continuing history students, while the professorship will grant a stipend as well as a reduced teaching load to a current faculty member teaching in the humanities."

President Williams expressed her warm appreciation to both Ryan and Hockett for their thoughtfulness and generosity. "These considerable contributions will have a lasting influence on future generations of Ithaca College students," she said. "We are extremely grateful for the generosity of Shirley and Bob, who had already given so much to the institution through their lengthy teaching careers."




A. Ozolins, Ithaca College Office of Publications, 27. Nov. 2001