A Clarkson Mosaic - page 408

Holcroft Renovated.
In use for many years as a women's dormitory, Clarkson's oldest building
(built in 1822) was renovated by ending its use as a dormitory, by refurbishing the first floor,
and by relocating the entire freshman admissions staff into the building from their offices in
Snell Hall. As an added attraction, the Clarkson family crest in stained glass was moved from
Lewis House to the window on the second floor staircase landing.
One reason for this change was to make it safe for continued use by installing fire
resistant paneling and new emergency doors. Additionally, internal and external aesthetic
changes that recreated a "period piece" from the 1850s established this historic building as an
ideal location for interviews of prospective freshmen and for receptions for alumni. Because the
building no longer was used as a dormitory, the bulky external fire escape was removed.
McGill Retired.
Professor Robert John McGill III, associate professor of Humanities, Phalanx
member, long-time college marshall, and chorus director, retired after 32 years at Clarkson.
At Commencement, Bob was given the following citation:
The Board of Trustees of Clarkson College hereby gives special praise and recognition to Robert John
McGill III for his thirty-two years of exemplary service to Clarkson College.
BE IT KNOWN that Professor Robert John McGill III was a dedicated, valuable, and accomplished
teacher and counselor of Clarkson students. Literally thousands of students have had the good fortune to have been
taught freshman composition, literature, drama, speech, and music by "Robert John."
BE IT KNOWN that Professor McGill has earned the highest regard of his former students. Invariably,
alumni ask, "How is Professor McGill?" A loving, caring man who walked the corridors of Snell Hall before it
became part of Clarkson, Professor McGill leaves his mark not only upon the College, but upon the hearts of all
who have known him.
BE IT FURTHER KNOWN that the Clarkson College Board of Trustees expresses its deepest gratitude
and respect to Professor McGill for his excellent service to his students, his colleagues, and his College.
BE IT RESOLVED, therefore, on this twenty-seventh day of May, Nineteen Hundred and Seventy-Nine,
that Robert John McGill III be forever proclaimed PROFESSOR EMERITUS.
Famous for his Music Appreciation course, nicknamed by grateful students as "Toons,"
Robert John taught the students what to listen for in music. Since 1967 when 35 curious
students enrolled in this course for the first time, McGill recorded that he taught Toons 20 times
to a total of 1,902 appreciative students.
Robert John, as he was known affectionately campus-wide, wanted his students to
appreciate "good" music, and would do all he could to see to it that they did just that. During
his famous "drop the needle" examinations to classes of over 120 students in Snell Auditorium,
he would "help" students astute enough to look at him while the music was being played. He
would pantomime clues, such as a rowing motion when he played Handel's
Water Music
. The
students loved him for it.
He also was famous for his admonitions and thunderous instructions as marshal to
graduating seniors at the Saturday morning pre-graduation rehearsal. He would instruct
graduating seniors in how they were to dress for Commencement, including his famous threat:
"No white socks!" Then, during the ceremony itself as he stood in his special green and gold
marshall's robe watching each student descend the stairs from the platform after being handed
his or her diploma, Robert John would whisper to the student to move the tassel from the right
to the left side of the mortarboard hat.
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