By John Syme
Following a variety of encomia, Ross sauntered to the podium, hands in pockets, and broadened the spotlight outward to the college he loves. He told stories about himself and his mentors across the years—Ratliff, Zimmerman, Nelson, Spencer, Williams, Vagt, Kuykendall. He spoke of the “extraordinary generosity and goodwill” of the people of Davidson College.
In a September letter announcing his retirement, Ross wrote, “I am eager to have that sabbatical which I intended to take 15 years ago, in the fall of 1998. Following this year-long leave, I look forward to resuming a more participatory role in the life of the economics department.”
At the reception, Ross spoke of four pillars of Davidson life that have stood out in his mind since he came to campus in 1979: faith, reason, honor and service.
“The people have changed, and the manifestations have changed, and will change, and need to change,” Ross said, “but the underlying faith, reason, honor and service remain.”
Ross said that he had met several times with his successor, Wendy E. Raymond, then professor of biology and former associate dean for institutional diversity at Williams College, for whom he expressed “great confidence and respect.” Raymond joined the college Aug. 1.
As the chief academic officer for Davidson, Raymond leads the college’s 170 full-time faculty members and associated administrative officers to advance the college’s academic mission.
In her 19 years at Williams, Raymond became a leader on campus, gaining national recognition for the promotion of innovative undergraduate education and diversity initiatives.
A molecular biologist, Raymond holds an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Cornell University and earned a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from Harvard University. At Williams, she taught a variety of biology courses, including genomics, immunology, genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology.
“Wendy has a proven track record of strong, transparent, collaborative leadership in many contexts,” said Davidson College Professor of Biology Karen Hales, who led the search committee. “We believe she will work vigorously and creatively to help Davidson reinforce its strong identity as a liberal arts college and shape curricular initiatives for the future.”