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Retiring faculty members have been elected to emeritus status

Stephen Lammers, Helen H.P. Manson Professor of the English Bible; Ronald Robbins, associate dean of the College; and Edmond J. Seifried, professor of economics, have been elected to emeritus status and were recognized tonight for their service to Lafayette at annual pre-Commencement reception, dinner, and awards ceremony. President Daniel H. Weiss read the citations. Lammers is retiring after 40 years, Robbins after 41 years, and Seifried after 30 years.


Although it’s a special honor to be named the Helen H.P. Manson Professor of the English Bible, the position that Steve Lammers has held since 1991, the title hardly reflects what Steve really did for a living. Yes, he taught a course on the Christian Scriptures. But his portfolio also included a class that addressed war-peace questions and a course on social and ethical issues in biotechnology and genetic engineering. He coordinated the interdisciplinary minor in Health Care & Society and co-developed a popular and innovative course in which students compare, on-site, the health-care systems here and in the United Kingdom.

Steve’s impact on undergraduates earned him, among other honors, the Student Government Superior Teaching Award, the Jones teaching and lecture awards, the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Beidleman Research Award. His grateful students also include the hundreds of physicians, nurses, medical students, and others at the Lehigh Valley Health Network with whom he has examined the complex and challenging ethical issues that have accompanied the recent rapid advances in medical technology.

A Lafayette EXCEL Scholar who collaborated with Steve on a research project in 2002 described him as a mentor and guide who “doesn’t let me off the hook. He pokes at the things I try to avoid. It’s difficult, but it’s worth it.” Steve, you have never let the College off the hook, either, as those who have served with you on faculty committees and in other important capacities will readily attest. And the College is a better place thanks to your poking, prodding, probing, and counsel.

As we recognize your new status as professor of religious studies emeritus, we applaud, with gratitude, your exemplary service over the past 40 years, and we record our pleasure that you and Noel will remain valued members of our community.


“Associate Dean Ron Robbins Retires After Long Run” – The wordplay in that headline in the student newspaper earlier this month highlighted two important facts about Ron: the impressive length of his service to Lafayette and his love of running, including distance running. No headline, however, could possibly capture all that Ron has meant to this college over the past 41 years.

Although current undergraduates have known him only as Dean Robbins, Ron will be identified in retirement as librarian emeritus because he did not become a dean until 1998, relatively late in his Lafayette career. His initial appointment was as assistant reference librarian in Skillman. A year later he was promoted to reference librarian and then to head reference librarian. In 1990 he was named head of public services. As secretary of the Friends of Skillman Library he played a prominent role in connecting the library to the broader community – and he has remained active with the Friends’ executive committee. Ron’s outstanding service as a librarian and a dean notwithstanding, some alumni still think of him as “Coach” in gratitude for the guidance he provided as an assistant coach with the men’s track and cross-country programs and as the faculty adviser for women’s track and cross-country, a sport he was instrumental in elevating from club to varsity status.

In each of these roles, Ron has been the consummate teacher. His dedication to students’ success, his friendly and encouraging manner, his genuineness, and his patience have made him a trusted and popular mentor. To this list his colleagues would add his reliability and professionalism and his spirited sense of fun.

Ron has not gone the distance for Lafayette alone. His team was ably anchored by Bonnie, who crossed the finish line slightly ahead of him when she retired two years ago. Together, the two of them have devoted themselves to this college for more than 66 years – a world-class record of dedication and service.


In announcing Prof. Seifried’s participation in a summer seminar a decade or so ago, the Kansas Bankers Association made it clear that those who attended his presentation were in for a special treat. “The term ‘entertaining economist’ is normally an oxymoron,” the preview noted, “but not in the case of Dr. Ed. So if you want to know what’s going to happen with the economy in the next year and enjoy hearing it, don’t miss his session.”

Even “Dr. Ed” might be hard-pressed to provide us with an “enjoyable” economic forecast right now. During the 30 years he served as a Lafayette faculty member, however, countless undergraduates interested in financial markets benefited from the same expertise and wit that have made him such a hit with the professional bankers, bank directors, and business leaders who have attended the more than 2,000 presentations he has made in the U.S. and abroad. Students gained insight and knowledge, as well, from his involvement as a consultant and adviser and from the unique perspective he had acquired as a first-hand observer of the privatization of commercial banks in the former Soviet Bloc countries.

In a 2005 interview with our Public Information Office about his dual roles as a professor and outside consultant, Ed highlighted the strong connections he saw, on a daily basis, between what he taught in the classroom and its practical application. As the founder and director of the Economics Department’s internship program, he used his extensive contacts in the financial services field to enable a number of students to gain invaluable real-world experience.

We applaud his service to Lafayette College and extend our best wishes to him as professor of economics emeritus.

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