by Colleen Dabrowski
Professor Louis Hamilton, who has been part of the Drew University faculty since 2006, announced on March 22 that he would be leaving his position through an email sent to members of the Baldwin Honors Program. At Drew, Hamilton serves as the Director of the Baldwin Honors Program, Chair of the Comparative Religion Department and an Associate Professor of History and Christianity. Starting on July 1, Hamilton will be starting his new position as a Professor of History and the Dean of the Honors College at New Jersey Institute of Technology. When asked about his new position, Hamilton replied, “The Honors College at NJIT is about half the size of Drew University, so just scaling up will be an exciting challenge. I am curious to see which of the strengths of a small Liberal Arts College I can bring to their Honors education. I think it will be invigorating and that I will learn a huge amount.”
Professor Hamilton has done a lot of work for the Baldwin Honors Program during his time at Drew. He has been integral in making improvements to the program and its selectivity, creating more transparency between the Baldwin Honors faculty and students and increasing the academic rigor of the Honors Program courses. He also contributed to bettering the cultural events offered for honors students and encouraging the relationship between the Honors Program and the wider Drew community. On this point, Hamilton commented, “Without a doubt the Honors Program is larger, more prestigious, has a more rigorous curriculum and is more important in the lives of scholars than it was four years ago.”
Hamilton will look back on his time at Drew fondly, remembering the events he participated in and the students he encountered with joy. “There are so many talented and hard-working students that I have had the opportunity to work with here at Drew,” he said. Discussing what Drew has done for his growth as an intellectual, Hamilton said that“Teaching in a Comparative Religion Department has given me a much broader sense of my own field and the materials I study. It has made me much more effective at communicating the significance of the history of Religion, and of Christianity in particular, to others.”
The Drew community has responded to the news of Hamilton’s departure with mixed feelings, as they have expressed an unrelenting positivity regarding his time at Drew while acknowledging he will be greatly missed at the university. Director of Specialized Honors and the Associate Director of the Baldwin Honors Program Kim Rhodes stated:
Prof. Hamilton’s vision for and dedication to the Baldwin Honors Program has been inspiring and remarkable. Working with him and the Baldwin scholars has been one of the most valuable experiences of my years at Drew. Although he will be sorely missed, Prof. Hamilton’s legacy will continue through the curricular and co-curricular components of the the program that he championed, among them research grants for scholars, the INTO/junior initiative partnership, and, of course, the annual Jazz at Lincoln Center field trip!
Students echoed Rhodes’ sentiments; Gregor Radovic (‘20) said, “I’m happy he is moving on to bigger and better things, but he is a good professor and I will miss him.” Julia Morreale (‘19) commented, “Prof. Hamilton always invested so much time and effort into the Baldwin Honors program, and he cared about his students on an individual level.” Reflecting on the values Hamilton embodies, she continued, “I’m definitely going to miss having him as my professor, but I’m glad that he is doing exactly what he’s taught us: improving ourselves through whatever new and exciting opportunities come our way, and leaving a positive impact on everyone we interact with.”
Hamilton concluded his email to the Baldwin Honors students with gratitude: “Thank you for four wonderful years as Baldwin Honors Director. It has been a privilege for me to serve in this position and a pleasure to work with all of you.” Honors Tea will continue for the remainder of the semester every Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. if students would like to express their gratitude to him.