Retiring professors reflect on their Lehigh experiences, future hopes

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Retiring faculty had their final few months at Lehigh cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.  

Philosophy professor Roslyn Weiss has worked at Lehigh since fall 1991, and will be retiring after finishing up the spring semester. Weiss specializes in ancient Greek mythology and medieval Jewish philosophy. 

Roslyn Weiss

Upon her retirement, Weiss’s immediate plans include continuing to write a fifth book on Plato, as well as continuing her research in ancient Greek philosophy and medieval Jewish philosophy. 

“I suppose my experience was atypical because I am on sabbatical this semester, beginning research on my new book,” Weiss said. “So, I am mostly spending my time the way I would have were it not for COVID-19.” 

Weiss said her time at Lehigh was enjoyable. She said she formed friendships with students who have gotten successful jobs and turned into wonderful colleagues. She said she will miss her colleagues in the philosophy department most.

Weiss said she hopes the future of Lehigh will not change too much, as she said there was so much change this past year. 

“I hope Lehigh remains recognizable as the Lehigh I have loved so much and where I was privileged to be a faculty member for 30 years,” Weiss said. 

Dannah VanPraagh, ‘23, said she misses seeing her professors in-person but, for retiring faculty, she said she hopes they return to Lehigh to visit.  

“In a way, it kind of feels like all of my teachers are retired because while I’m still learning, I am not getting the face-to-face experience that is so important to a person’s education,” said VanPraagh. “We are all just home.” 

Philosophy professor Robin Dillon is also finishing up her final semester at Lehigh. 

Robin Dillon

Dillon came to Lehigh in 1987 right out of graduate school and has worked at Lehigh for the entirety of her career. Dillon said she has enjoyed her many years on campus.. 

“The best part has been the very many terrific people I have had the privilege of working with: students, other faculty members, staff, members of the administration and alums,” Dillon said. 

She said building the Women’s Studies Program — now Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies — in the ‘90s, as well as serving as the director for seven years, was one particularly rewarding experience during her career. She said she is proud that she was able to work with faculty, administrators, staff, students and alumni to create the Center for Ethics. 

Both projects expanded education and research opportunities for Lehigh students. After she retires from Lehigh, Dillon said she plans to travel and work on some writing projects. 

Dillon has been on leave this semester, and she said she hasn’t been affected as much as her colleagues, who have had to transition to online teaching due to the coronavirus. 

“Like everyone else, I have been caught up with the news and adjusting to the new precautions and have been reaching out to family, friends, colleagues and former students to make sure they are okay,” Dillon said.

Dillon said she hopes the Center for Ethics, the philosophy department, the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, and the College of Arts and Science will continue to grow. She said she hopes everyone at Lehigh takes advantage of the opportunities found there.

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