Three Ƶapp faculty members retire

Three long-serving members of the Ƶapp faculty have retired.

Three distinguished Ƶapp faculty members have retired this spring.

The trio of faculty members includes Paula Debnar, professor of classics on the Alumnae Foundation, Eva Paus, professor of economics on the Ford Foundation, and Thomas Millette, professor of geography and director of the Geo-Processing Lab. They have amassed a remarkable 100 years of service to the College, inspiring countless students and providing them with inclusive academic excellence.

"This is an exceptional group of individuals whose aptitude, dedication and passion are inspiring,” said Provost and Dean of Faculty Lisa Sullivan. “It’s apparent that their influence has had an impact on our students, faculty, staff and institution as a whole, throughout their tenure. While we wish them well and are excited for what comes next, we will miss them.”

Paula Debnar, professor of classics on the Alumnae Foundation, joined Ƶapp faculty in 1993. Though her expertise was Greek and Latin language and literature, Debnar also offered several courses on the ancient Mediterranean, taught in English. Ombretta Frau, the Dorothy Rooke McCulloch Professor of Italian, co-taught some of these courses with Debnar.

Debnar’s 2001 book, “Speaking the Same Language: Speech and Audience in Thucydides’ Spartan Debates,” focuses on the political speeches within Thucydides’ “History of the Peloponnesian War,” giving special attention to the role of rhetoric in creating a sense of ethnic identity. Debnar has also contributed chapters to collections of essays on Thucydides, such as “The Greek Superpower: Sparta in the Self-Definitions of Athenians” in 2018 and “Thucydides and Sparta” in 2021, which she co-edited. In 2023, she co-organized the International Sparta Seminar in Coimbra, Portugal, to which she also contributed a paper.

When she first began teaching Greek at the College, Debnar broke with tradition by introducing students to Homeric Greek instead of beginning with the Attic dialect. Two of Debnar’s courses have led to articles on topics other than Greek rhetoric and historiography: one on Cassandra in Aeschylus’ “Oresteia” in 2010 and another on the Roman poet Lucretius in 2021. Her academic publications include a student commentary on Thucydides’ Melian Dialogue in 2013 as well as an expanded and revised edition of Pharr’s textbook “Homeric Greek,” for which she and colleagues at Smith College created the “Homeric Greek Resources” website in 2018.

In 2021, she was awarded the Ƶapp Faculty Award for Teaching.

Eva Paus, professor of economics on the Ford Foundation, became a member of the College faculty in 1987. Paus’ career garnered many firsts as the founding co-director of the Weissman Center for Leadership and the inaugural Carol Hoffman Collins director of the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives, which she led from 2004 to 2019. She founded and chaired the minor and introduced the .

Paus has published numerous articles on different characteristics of globalization and development. She has also authored or edited seven books and more than 40 articles and book chapters.

In 2015, Paus’ vision and commitment to transforming Mount Holyoke into a hub for international education led to the College receiving the prestigious Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization by NAFSA, the Association of International Educators. She is the recipient or co-recipient of grants from the Mellon, Freeman, Hewlett, Teagle, and Rockefeller foundations. She has also consulted with several UN organizations and has been a visiting faculty member at universities in Costa Rica, Germany, Ireland, Peru and South Korea.

In her teaching, scholarship and service, Paus advocated for and demonstrated the power of a liberal arts education that is rigorous, ethical and globally focused. She was also recently awarded the Ƶapp Faculty Award for Service.

Thomas Millette, professor of geography and director of the Geo-Processing Laboratory, started teaching at Mount Holyoke in 1992. He has long considered himself an advocate for the environment with regard to building plans, curriculum development and policy decisions.

In his role as director of the Geo-Processing Lab, Millette has involved students in a wide variety of remote sensing and GIS research activities funded by EPA, NSF, NASA and numerous other funding agencies. With very few traditional lectures or labs, his courses have always been organized around a real environmental problem or situation.

Millette’s research has included the use of satellite and GIS data to study the causes, nature and impact of land-cover change and forest degradation in the Middle Himalayas of Nepal, in the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans of Northeast India, and on the Lake Champlain Basin of Vermont, New York, and southern Quebec. He has also researched remote sensing and GIS to model forest fire potential in the Cibola National Forest, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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