A TRIBUTE TO EUGENE C. WINSLOW (1919-2015)


(Photo:   The Lion's Roar Yearbook, 19XX edition)

Eugene Clinton Winslow

(Reference:  Published in The Brattleboro Reformer, 103(13):A4, 21-22 March 2015)

Eugene Clinton Winslow
5 July 1919 27 January 2015

           Eugene Clinton Winslow was for the decade 19641974 an inspiring President of Windham College, an important member of the Putney community, and a truly valued mentor, colleague, and friend of mine. When Winslow took over the helm of Windham as its second President and part-time Professor of Chemistry, he inherited an insignificant and faltering institution. Tirelessly and almost singlehandedly he proceeded to build up the College into a quality institution of which the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the Putney community at large could be justly proud. He had wonderful rapport with the students. And many of those faculty, staff, and alumni who had been attracted to Windham have either stayed on or returned to the area to bolster the local economy and otherwise enrich the region.

           Winslow was responsible for the raising of substantial funds, the gathering together of a highly qualified, indeed, exciting faculty, the developing of a fine library, the building of a substantial physical plant, and the enlarging of the student body. Such an overall accomplishment could have been possible only by someone with Winslow's daring, imagination, drive, and forceful leadership. He was especially mindful of developing strong faculties not only in his own area of the natural sciences, but also in the social studies, humanities, art, music, and theater. As a graduate of Middlebury College (B.S., 1940), his vision was to create a "Middlebury South" in Putney.

           Prior to Windham, Winslow (who had earned his Ph.D. at Cornell University in 1944) was for 18 years Professor of Chemistry at the University of Rhode Island, a recognized and much published authority on thermally stable polymer chemistry, and the author of the standard 1958 textbook, Basic Principles of Chemistry. And it must be mentioned that during World War II Winslow was in the Navy seeing action as Commanding Officer of a minesweeper in the Pacific Theater, ultimately rising to the rank of Captain.

           Winslow had a keen sense of social justice and civil liberties, and was thus importantly involved in both local and statewide politics. As a sampling of his public-service activities here, he was variously President of the Vermont Higher Education Council, Vice-chairman of the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, Vice-chairman of the Vermont Constitution Revision Commission, Member of the Vermont Democratic State Committee, Chairman of the Vermont McCarthy for President Committee, and Delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

           I was a Professor of Biology at Middlebury College when Winslow recruited me to serve as Professor of Botany and Chairman of the Science Division, a post I held during 19661976 and have never regretted since. The Viet Nam Conflict was in progress at the time. As an outside research activity I became very active in on-site investigations of the unprecedented environmental impact of that war as a result of our widespread use of Agent Orange and other chemical warfare agents, our intensive bombing campaign, and our extensive tractor clearing operations. I could never have carried out those time-consuming activities without Winslow's continued encouragement and support over the years, for which I remain immensely grateful.

           Finally, a few words about some highlights of Winslow's rich life not already noted above: He was born in West Rutland on 5 July 1919 (attending elementary and high schools there), and he died in Holderness, New Hampshire on 27 January 2015. During Winslow's years of teaching in Rhode Island he also held various local public-service positions, including President of the South Kingston Town Council. Winslow was married to Katherine Holloway in 1942; they separated in 1964 and divorced in 1968. They had five children (Holly, Jill, Heidi, Peter, and Paul). In 1970 he married Gloria Carter; they remained married until his death. At that time, Gloria made the very touching statement about her husband that he was a gentle man, a gracious man, a forgiving man, and a man of determination and love; he loved people and cared for them, loved young people, and loved his students and encouraged their future.


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