The Colgate Scene ON-LINE

[James King Loveless]
James King Loveless

James King Loveless

Professor of Art and Art History 1966-96

As someone who arrived at Colgate during the decade of the "Children's Crusade" (the '60s) and is still here, I wonder at how quickly it all went by, how things changed and how things remained the same. We witnessed the reinvention of the wheel several times. Women on campus went from visitor status in the back of a classroom on a Friday afternoon before a social weekend to the front row as fully matriculated students.

Except for those with whom I have remained in contact since their graduation, these beautiful, bright people who studied with me never grow old. While I liked them all, it was, nevertheless, always that special handful in each and every class who made me feel lucky to share in their personal evolutions. For me the jury will always be out in determining who learned and profited most -- them or me.

When I first arrived on campus and fancied I could have passed as a student in the right light, a source of great admiration was the intellectual distinction of my colleagues. I consider it a rare privilege to have known and worked with such people as Eric Ryan who, when I arrived, chaired the department. He was a gifted artist, a masterful teacher and a wise friend. He demonstrated to many students, and me, the value of broad and inclusive inquiry as essential to the education of the Artist.

I still feel the same admiration for many of my colleagues today. The faculty here have always been first-rate. My only regret is that I failed to exercise the initiative to further widen and deepen my contacts with more of them over the years.

In this, Colgate itself was the wiser. Through such programs as General Education I had the pleasure of rubbing elbows with colleagues in other disciplines, with other points of view and experience. They, in addition to my friends in Art and Art History, hammered out together the intellectual fare crucial, in our belief, to our students' education.

I realize that I have drawn a somewhat idyllic picture of a community of young scholars and gifted, committed professors. I think in the main it is a true depiction. But my picture needs an important corrective: Without the excellent efforts of a successful administration this distinguished academic community as we know it would be history.

A window in the Colgate enterprise in its larger context was provided to me by RuthAnn Loveless, the director of alumni affairs, who continues to set me straight about many things. Otherwise, I could have yielded to my innate view that if it wasn't for me, a handful of students and a fellow faculty member or two, the sun would cease to rise in the East and Colgate would degenerate into a subscription health club.

The only decent thing left for me to do, therefore, is to thank from the bottom of my heart each and every member of the administrative staff. But I can't stop there. If it wasn't for the intelligent, able, disaster-diverting skills of such people as Betty Knapp (Conner) and Lois Wilcox (art department secretaries), whose separate tenures bridged the last 30 years) we would all have come unglued.

In conclusion, what can I say? Only this: It doesn't seem to make much difference how carefully we enunciated our goals or edited our program descriptions, in the end it was competent people who made the difference.