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Hartwick College's most prestigious teaching honor has gone this year to a St. Lawrence University graduate.

Douglas A. Hamilton '79, associate professor and chair of the biology department at Hartwick, was presented the Margaret A. Bunn Award for Excellence in Teaching at the college's commencement on May 24.

David J. Bachner, acting vice president for academic affairs, presented the award to Hamilton, who was hailed as a teacher with "an enviable record of research," one whose students are "drawn to him and his work for many reasons…and who observe a dedicated scientist track down answers to difficult questions with excitement, passion, and precision."

Hamilton's teaching specialty is plant molecular biology, with a particular interest in plant pollens. The recipient of grants from the Hartwick College Board of Trustees, Hamilton has conducted research on gene expression and has published more than 15 scientific papers on the topic, some co-authored by his students who have gone on to graduate careers in biology.

A member of the Hartwick College faculty since 1995, Hamilton received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry and biology from St. Lawrence and the Ph.D. from Cornell University. Prior to joining the Hartwick faculty, Hamilton served for nine years as a research associate for the Research Foundation of the State of New York in Albany. He was appointed chair of Hartwick's biology department in 2000, and was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor of biology in 2001.

As a student at St. Lawrence, Hamilton was a member of the Laurentian Singers, and he has served as a member of the Reunion Development Committee. His wife, Lynne T. Nicolson, is also a 1979 St. Lawrence graduate, and earned her medical degree at Albany Medical College. She is chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Sunnyview Hospital in Schenectady, New York.

Margaret Brigham Bunn, for whom the teaching award at Hartwick is named, served on the Hartwick Board of Trustees for 14 years. After her death in 1978, Bunn's board colleagues established the monetary award presented annually to a member of the faculty judged by Hartwick alumni, who graduated five years earlier, to have been the most outstanding member of the faculty with whom they studied.

Posted: May 28, 2003