Faculty Appreciation Dinner 2020

The following speech was given by Dr. Tom Hamilton at the 2020 Faculty Appreciation Dinner. With a year full of prepping online and in-person courses, Florida College is grateful for the example of service and diligence the faulty provide.   

Tonight we honor three of our faculty members in reaching a significant milestone in their time at Florida College. Each honoree will receive their 20-year service pin tonight in token of our appreciation for the kind of stability and institutional memory that such longevity brings to our school.

Brian Crispell:

It was a momentous occasion when Brian Crispell came to teach history at Florida College in Y2K, although none at the time could have fully appreciated just how momentous. Having earned his doctorate from FSU four years earlier and having just published his dissertation on George Smathers in 1999, and leaving behind ten years of teaching history and geography in the Thomas County Schools in Thomasville, GA, Brian began to leave his distinctive mark on this small college along the sleepy banks of the Hillsborough River, as Brian likes to describe it.

Among his many accomplishments, one must mention, of course, how Brian went on to earn the top-rated lecturing professor award six years in a row from 2002-2007, and his student ratings remain among the highest of our faculty. He commands the respect of his students, precisely because he challenges them and insists that they earn their grade, and they know that he cares.

Brian has served in a number of roles, including: chair of the Faculty Scholarship Committee from 2001-2009, while also serving on the Curriculum Review Committee at the same time; Dean of Students from 2009-2014, Academic Dean from 2014-2017; director of the Center for Academic Excellence from 2017-2020; and presently the Associate Academic Dean for Faculty Development.

This brings me full circle, because when I first came to FC in 2005, my office in the old Student Center was directly across the hall from this young, untenured history scholar, the single interloper along a hallway full of Bible professors. Through a combination of the soundproofing of those walls being poor and my eavesdropping skills being excellent, I quickly learned how much real teaching takes place outside the classroom. I have never told Brian this until now, but without a doubt he has been the single greatest influence on how I think about my teaching here at FC, and I am glad that other faculty will benefit from his wisdom and experience.

It is my privilege to now bestow this 20-year service pin upon Brian Crispell in prayer and hope that he and Jean will be with us another 20 years.

Andrea Hastings:

One might assume Andrea Hastings’ connection with Florida College is hereditary, given that her father, Dr. Northcutt, served this college so devotedly in so many different capacities. But Andrea is one of those exceptional persons who has made her own mark upon this institution. She is admired by all who work with her and by her students, earning high student ratings… and that’s in math, sometimes even remedial math.

Andrea got her Master’s in Math Education in 2005 from USF and has used her degree to teach in the Math Department since 2004, the Education Department since 2008, and at the Florida College Academy. In fact, FCA is a beneficiary of much of Andrea’s labor of love: she runs the Odyssey of the Mind program, and she has earned both the FCA Volunteer of the Year award and the FCA Teacher of the Year award. Likewise, on this side of the river, she was given the Special Service Award in 2009.

Andrea has directed our highly successful Supplemental Instruction program since 2010 and chaired the Professional Development Committee for several years. It has been my privilege to serve on the Rules, Welfare, and Discipline Committee and witness firsthand her compassion for our students, her wise counsel in some of their darkest moments, and her unfailing commitment to find the best way forward in balancing the demands of justice and grace.

Before I finish, I would be remiss if I did not mention another one of Andrea’s distinctions. Especially since Andrea teaches statistics and loves collecting data and crunching numbers, I have to tell you that the data clearly shows that Andrea holds a record at Florida College that no other faculty member has ever come close to beating: the number of times she has locked herself out of her office. But I must also say she has never locked a student out of her heart. One example of what I mean by that happened in my first year here at the college 2005-2006. A student named Bailey Sexton was Andrea’s secretary and came to adore her and love math education herself, and she is now here teaching on our math faculty, known to us now as Bailey Ross. May Andrea have another 20 years to powerfully impact such students at the Academy and at the College. It is my privilege to now bestow this 20-year service pin upon Andrea Hastings.

David McClister:

Joy and I first met David and Lisa McClister when we lived near one another in the Chicago area, raising our young families. David and I started studying the Bible together with a couple of other preachers What I learned from those early years is the same thing that all of you who know David have learned: he is a conscientious, devoted, and careful scholar thirsting for nothing but God’s truth.

It has been a pleasure to work beside him in the Bible department all these years, with him serving as the chair since 2014. It takes a special type of person to lead our department, not only because it is the largest on campus, but also because the closest analogy I can think of to our department is the Island of Misfit Toys from that Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer movie that airs each Christmas. David is the most normal of us, although I admit that is not saying much.

What I can say is that David’s thirst for knowledge has led him to travel to the Bible lands of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, including a 3-week stint at an archaeological dig at Lachish. David has even led several of these trips. His devotion to Florida College is reflected in his granting of tenure in 2004, earning his doctorate from the University of Florida in 2008, being given the Dean’s Award in both 2008 and 2010, and serving on several committees, including the Rules, Welfare, and Discipline Committee for the past 10 years, and the Academic Standards Committee for the past 19 years. He edits the annual lecture book with his customary care and is so devoted to his work, I hear he already has the lecture book ready for next year!

Legend says that David leaped off the top floor of C-Dorm (or College Hall as it is now called) wielding a baseball bat to take on local enemies of the college. May he labor here among us another 20 years, leaping down with the sword of the Spirit to take on enemies of the cross and truth. It is my privilege to now bestow this 20-year service pin upon David McClister.

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