PLATTSBURGH - The portrait of Dr. Gordon C. Pollard, Morrisonville, now adorns a wall in Feinberg Library at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.
The veteran anthropology professor was honored during a ceremony at the library Oct. 2 for his recent recognition as a SUNY distinguished teaching professor. Pollard is one of only 16 faculty members throughout the entire SUNY system to receive the distinguished teaching professorship title this year.
SUNY Plattsburgh president Dr. John C. Ettling commended Pollard for receiving his recognition which is considered the highest honor bestowed on a professor by the SUNY system.
"The faculty and staff are the greatest strength of any college campus and the students here at SUNY Plattsburgh are fortunate to have an outstanding faculty and staff," said Ettling. "So, Gordon, thank you and congratulations on behalf of all of us for your service to the college, to our alumni, to the community, to the discipline of anthropology, but especially to our students."
The ceremony included remarks from Pollard's colleagues, including Dr. John R. Moravek, an associate professor of geography who has worked with Pollard for more than 40 years. Moravek credited Pollard for his continued dedication to his profession and to his students.
"Gordon's played a pivotal role in a host of students' lives in helping them to realize their full potential and, in fact, reach levels of academic achievement they never thought possible," said Moravek.
On past field studies, when Moravek's classes would work side-by-side with Pollard's, it made for a richer experience, said Moravek.
"It was always good to have Gordon and his students as part of the field trips," he said. "It clearly enhanced the quality of the overall experience for my students when Gordon's classes were along."
"Students find both his introductory and his upper division courses rigorous and intellectually-demanding, but they also find them interesting and stimulating," said Dr. Patricia J. Higgins, provost and vice president for academic affairs and a fellow SUNY distinguished teaching professor. "Through these classes, he's attracted many students into anthropology in our own institution and beyond into graduate study and into careers in anthropology and archaeology."
"I think this is a marvelous opportunity that he's provided for students," added Higgins.
Dr. Jin Kim, a communications professor at the university, said Pollard personified the words of the Chinese philosopher Confucius.
"Teaching and learning are just two different manifestations of the same process," said Kim. "The ability to take the perspective of his students has been a hallmark of his teaching career. If that quality can be developed by all members of our profession, the dire prediction of the imminent demise of colleges will have indeed been proven misguided."
Pollard thanked his colleagues for their words of praise and congratulations upon unveiling his portrait with Ettling's assistance.
"What can I say other than thank you? It is a real honor to be among this group," Pollard said as he looked at a wall adorned with portraits of other distinguished teaching professors. "I've had the pleasure of knowing many of these people over the decades personally as colleagues and as friends, and it is a true honor to be here."
Presented annually by the SUNY system, the distinguished teaching professorship is bestowed upon faculty who "demonstrate consistent superior mastery of teaching; outstanding service to students and commitment to their ongoing intellectual growth, scholarship and professional growth; and adherence to rigorous academic standards and requirements."