Retirement Tributes

Nick Clary: The Renaissance Man of the English Department

NickClaryProfessor Nick Clary joined the English Department at Saint Michael’s in the fall of 1970; in that first academic year he taught four sections of College Writing, two sections of the full survey of British Literature, and two upper level sections on Shakespeare and Milton. That is a staggering course load by today’s standards, but Nick only became more energized by the challenge, and he’s been going strong ever since. Now almost 47 years later, Nick is “gradually” moving towards retirement: last year, he handed over the reins of the highly respected Honors Program that he initially restructured in 2008 and has masterfully directed for eight years. This past year, he taught a single section of his signature Shakespeare course, followed by a repeat of his spring / summer—on campus / study abroad course, “Shakespeare in Performance: On Film (S’16); On Stage (SU ’16). In the year that marked the 400th anniversary of  Shakespeare’s death, Nick  honored the milestone for his students with classic intensity:  three consecutive semesters of  upper-level Shakespeare coursework;  travel to England with sixteen Saint Michael’s undergraduates who will be housed in a magnificent “college estate” with 12th century monastic origins (at which Nick’s close friend Nicolas Baldwin presides as Dean); class screenings of  several of the best film versions of Shakespeare’s plays; class viewings of at least five live performances in London and Stratford-on-Avon, and substantive guidance for students researching and writing on  these experiences. In the 2016 milestone summer, Nick  presenedt at the International Shakespeare Conference in Stratford, and continued his research, writing, and collaborative projects.  We would expect nothing short of that from Professor Clary, and we are pleased that he will again offer Shakespeare in the fall of 2016.

Nick Clary has nearly 30 notable publications including peer-reviewed articles, book reviews, and significant editing projects such as the New Variorum Hamlet and He has presented papers at nearly 30 conferences and symposiums, in addition to organizing and chairing both a Shakespeare Symposium and a Renaissance Symposium at the college within his first five years of teaching; he also has brought the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express—now the American Shakespeare Center’s Traveling Company—to Saint Michael’s annually for the past 20 years.  He’s been awarded numerous grants, fellowships, and awards, including the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1988, and the Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship in 1999. In a particularly notable confluence of professional activity while teaching in the 1980’s and 1990’s, Nick served simultaneously as the Associate Dean of the College, the Coordinator of  the Study Abroad Program in the years before a director was hired, was tapped for the “first” First-Year Seminar Committee,  developed the Student Life training program for the LEAP Retreats, volunteered within his community as the Cultural Enrichment Director of the National Youth Sports Camps, and excelled as the Men’s Varsity Tennis Coach for eight years—he still holds the coaching record for the most wins in a season and most wins overall for that sport at the college.

Saint Michael’s will be hard pressed to fill the shoes of this Renaissance Man, but the Nick Clary Legacy will most certainly live on—even if we are not exactly sure when he will fully retire.  For Nick is still very much an active and intensive part of that “brave new world,  / That has such people in’t” . . . and we are all the better for it.   After all, we know there will be “More Anon”—with Nick, there always is.

Kathie Balutansky, the beloved “Kathie B”

Kathleen-BalutanskyThe Department greatly misses Professor Kathie Balutansky, who retired at the end of the 2014-15 academic year. She arrived in 1992 from the University of Virginia, where she had already established herself as a promising scholar and professor of Caribbean Women’s Literature. She enriched our major with a diverse array of courses–senior seminars on Magical Realism, Julia Alvarez and Jamaica Kincaid, and Contemporary Women Writers; first-year seminars on The Examined Life and Global Studies; and courses on Caribbean Literature, multi-ethnic fiction, critical theory, gender studies, and Literature of the Americas. Most recently, she developed new courses on Creative Nonfiction (Travel Writing) and Writing the Study Abroad Experience.  She is the author of one book and co-editor of two others, and she has written over two dozen articles, reviews, book chapters, and conference presentations.  Kathie has a particular interest in program development and administration, which she put to great use in the initial grant to develop the Global Studies Program in 2001, contributions to the development of service learning (which she also put into practice in four service-learning trips to Haiti), organizing the international Haitian Studies Association Annual Conference in 2001, and serving as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2004 to 2010, during which time she oversaw the 2010 NEASC Accreditation report and evaluation team visit.  For her tireless devotion to these activities, she was awarded the Norbert A. Kuntz Service Award in 2002 and the Class of 2003 Appreciation Award. There is no chance that Kathie will slow down in retirement, as she has plans to pursue her interest in geology and quantum physics, contribute to higher education projects in Haiti, complete an interdisciplinary book on Haiti, and continue master gardening and restoring a historic stone house on Isle LaMotte with her husband, John.