Michael J Kowalewski

13 May 2022

Mary was quietly, genially indispensable during the 30 years we overlapped at Carleton. Like others, I have many fond memories of her: as a colleague in environmental studies, as President of the Faculty and, most memorably, as my co-teacher in a Dyad on “Agriculture and the Midwest” in the Fall of 2000. I have written elsewhere about how rewarding that remarkable collaboration was. We linked two preexisting courses (Mary’s “Introduction to Environmental Geology” and my freshman seminar, “Spirit of Place”) to focus on a topic not often studied in liberal arts colleges. Whether discussing Willa Cather or a tillage machine, watching documentaries about the Dust Bowl or speaking with Ag Extension agents or local farmers about the Depression, we all learned together, in the classroom, in the field and at the local John Deere tractor outlet.

The students in the Dyad provided a humorous account of what they had encountered in the linked courses on the commemorative tee-shirt they made up for the course. The back of the shirt proclaimed the following:
WE . . .
. . . Spent 110 Hours in Class and Lab
. . . “Read” 2812 Pages
. . .Went on 11 Field Trips
. . . Got Back Late From 9 Field Trips
. . . Went to 10 Evening Presentations
. . . Wrote 34 Journal Entries
. . . “Read” 25 Articles Off Closed Reserve
. . . Rode 524 Miles on a School Bus
. . . Smelled 1 Pond o’ Poop
. . . And Made 14 New Farmer Friends

“Welcome to Carleton.” Mary, I’m not sure where the years have gone, but I’m glad they included the chance for us to work so closely together. Carleton wouldn’t have been Carleton without you. Wishing you many happy returns (in every sense) in retirement.