At 4 p.m. on Tuesday in the Fuller Arts Center a very special group of professors met. With their roses in their lapels, these past Distinguished Professors of Humanics gathered for another Springfield College tradition. Dr. Carol Mitchell gave her final speech as she closed off the year as the Distinguished Professor of Humanics and passed the torch to a new recipient, Associate Professor of Communications Marty Dobrow.
Mitchell, a professor of English and film studies, started off her presentation with a light-hearted and interactive movie quiz. Various quotes from well-known movies would pop up on screen, and Fuller was full of professors and students yelling out the answers.
Moving into the heart of the presentation, Mitchell covered a few of the films that she showed this year. All of the films serve a message of Humanics that appeared to get through to Mitchell’s students, as each video was accompanied by another video of a student reaction.
The films covered a variety of topics, including the Cambodian genocide, the water crisis and women in athletics.
“It was a wonderful experience. I really enjoyed giving the speech because I could talk about the Humanics values and how many of those values are in films,” said Mitchell. “The response today from everyone who was here today was terrific.”
Mitchell was interested in film from an early age, when her grandmother would take her to see up to four movies a weekend and then out to dinner to discuss them. This had a major impact on Mitchell as she went on to teach film rhetoric at University of Massachusetts Amherst, before writing her PHd thesis on film.
Although Springfield College is a school primarily known for its niche in health science and exercise, Mitchell has proven that film can be just as important. An array of important issues were brought to light through Mitchell’s work, and now the torch has to be passed as Dobrow humbly accepted the prestigious honor that is appointed to a new professor each year.
“It is a great honor,” Dobrow stated. “I have profound admiration for the people who have occupied this position in the past. A number of them are personal friends, and people for whom I have great, great respect.”
Dobrow has done a tremendous amount of work this year in the field of civil rights. He is working on a book surrounding Martin Luther King, Jr.’s visit to the Springfield College campus in 1964. In addition to the book, Dobrow presented a lecture regarding his research on the topic and even attended the Civil Rights Summit, in which Barack Obama and three other former presidents were in attendance.
“I am overjoyed, Marty is one of my dearest friends and I think he has done so much for the college this year and always,” Mitchell stated. “He is a great teacher and great human being, and there isn’t anyone else who I think deserves the award more for this year.”
Springfield’s standard for Humanics is something that is held at a high standard. Although Dobrow has yet to completely figure out the project he’ll embark on, we can all expect something that embodies the ideal.