The Colgate Scene ON-LINE

[James H. Reynolds]
James H. Reynolds

James H. Reynolds

Professor of Psychology 1964-96

For nearly 20 of his 32 years at Colgate, Jim Reynolds has lived in a home that affords him a view, across the street, of the corner of Olin Hall where his office is located.

This is an ideal place to live. I have often remarked that it's sort of like being a farmer going off to the barn each day. I think the proximity has helped to make Colgate and teaching and research such an enjoyable -- and all-consuming -- life for me for all these years. And now, when it's time to retire, I find it hard to believe that so much time has passed.

I was at Berkeley doing a one-year post-doc when I saw the ad for the Colgate job and applied. We knew this area and really wanted to get back to upper New York state. I guess I didn't think I would stay here for the rest of my teaching career. Then a few years later a job opened in Illinois and I was invited out for an interview.

I remember coming back and telling the family that the university would probably offer me a job. The kids' remark was, "Would you come back and see us on weekends?" My wife Shirl felt the same way. I shall always thank them for helping me decide then and there that this would be a fine place to stay.

Certainly in an institution like this the academic side depends on a combination of creativity and motivation of faculty members to innovate and bring in new things, and I have been fortunate to see and to be a part of many changes.

I saw real faculty creativity and dedication when I was division director and worked with the people who had the drive and energy to start and build such interdisciplinary programs as molecular biology and marine geology and environmental science -- these were the kinds of things that began and grew because of the initiative of faculty. And I remember so well helping Tom Brackett and Charlie Holbrow start the computer center that later grew into the computer science department. Yet another example of the initiative of faculty was Bill Edmonston, who came here as a clinical psychologist and ended up in neuroscience, eventually leading the college to start a neuroscience concentration. It's unlikely that Colgate would be the strong institution it is today without the initiative and creativity of such a faculty, and I've been so fortunate to know and work with them.

Many of the students I remember were people with whom I worked on research projects. Mark Friedman was one. He worked with me on research as an undergraduate and now teaches at Montclair State. His daughter Jaclyn came to Colgate and majored in psychology and worked with me as a research assistant. Now she is a graduate student at the University of Rhode Island. Another was Jim Pelle-grino, a Phi Beta Kappa here who went on to graduate work in psychology with a friend of mine at Colorado, then went to work in Pittsburgh with the same director of research that I once worked for. Jim is now dean of Peabody School of Education at Vanderbilt.

Anyone who has an occupation that puts him in contact with people like these -- faculty and students alike -- is lucky indeed.

I am one of those lucky ones -- lucky enough to have been here at Colgate these many years. It's been a great experience.