A Zeal for Life and a Nearly Permanent Smile


Durwin Striplin and Elizabeth Mills heard their names ring out during Commencement ceremonies on Chambers Lawn, as President Tom Ross ’72 read the citations for Davidson’s top teaching honor, the Hunter- Hamilton Love of Teaching Award.

Thanks to the generosity of Grey Hunter and her late husband, Jim Hamilton ’54, Davidson professors have experienced the thrill of receiving this honor since 1992. The award recognizes a teacher’s special connection with students both in and out of the classroom, with recipients selected based upon letters of nomination from alumni and current students.

Associate Professor of Chemistry Striplin, with a Ph.D. from Washington State University, was noted for his “well-known zeal for life that is shared with the world through a nearly permanent smile.” In research he conducts with students, he seeks to break down water into its component elements of hydrogen and oxygen, mimicking photosynthesis, to provide an almost limitless supply of fuel for hydrogen-burning engines.

Mills, chair and professor of English, was praised for instilling a thirst of knowledge into students. One nominator said, “None of the students in my class brought a love of the subject to the first meeting, but we all took a love of it away from the last meeting.”

Mills earned her Ph.D. from UNC, with a dissertation on poets Emily Dickinson and A.R. Ammons.

—Bill Giduz


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