Dedicated service

Seven faculty are retiring this year. We offer them many thanks for their contributions and wish them well.


Nick Baumgartner, Professor of Chemistry
In a career at John Carroll spanning 42 years, Nick hired about one-third of the current faculty, championed the building of the Dolan Science Center, and shone as the model of a committed teacher who puts students first. Arriving as an assistant professor in 1969 with a B.S. from Upper Iowa University and a Ph.D. from the University of Wyoming, Nick specialized in spectroscopic analysis of iodine reaction products and subsequently was published in journals such as Photochemistry and Photobiology.

Nick served as Chair of the Chemistry Department from 1989 to 1993, Associate Dean from 1993 to 1994, and then as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1994 to 2004. He was the recipient of a Grauel Faculty Fellowship in 1985-1986, and in 1990, he won the Distinguished Faculty Award.

Nick has been a member of the American Chemical Society since 1964 and served as Director of the Cleveland Section from 1982 to 1996. He has served as a board member of the Northeastern Ohio Science and Engineering Fair since 1987. In 1995 was presented
with the Distinguished Service Award from the Cleveland Technical Societies Council.

Nick’s colleagues point out his dedication to teaching is so complete he continued to teach the introductory chemistry course for nonmajors while he was Dean, and when he stepped down from that position, returned to the Chemistry Department to teach. His courses have been in high demand. Nick will return to teach the introductory course for nonscientists the Monday following finals.


Susan Higgins DeFago, Associate Professor of Marketing
Arriving in 1989 with a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Kent State University, Sue’s research involves numerous tracks and collaborations, including labor-management relations, corporate culture, and diffusion of technology innovations in the mass market, subjects about which she has published many articles, including: “On Thin Ice? Labor/Management Relations in U.S. Professional Sports in Marketing Management Journal (with Julie Higgins) and “Legal and Ethical Issues in the Operation of a Business Website” in Marketing Management Journal (with Bill Bockanic).

Active in the Boler School with research and assessment committees, as well as coordinator for part-time faculty scheduling and student scholarships and awards within the department, a colleague says about her good citizenship: “Even on a busy, noisy corridor, Sue always maintained an open-door policy. Students and colleagues would drop in with questions, for help, or just to share news of the day. They could count on her cheerful, interested, and undivided attention.”

Sue has been central to the marketing major, offering courses about advertising and marketing management. With her guidance as the American Advertising Federation (AAF) collegiate advisor, John Carroll students have excelled in the AAF District Competitions, placing second or third in 1990, 1998, and 2000 and winning first place 1989 and 2005. Described as an advocate who always thinks about what’s best for her students, Sue repeatedly was voted outstanding teacher in the Boler School by her students and won the Wasmer Outstanding Teaching Award in 1998.


Ernie DeZolt, Associate Professor of Sociology
Arriving at John Carroll with a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. specializing in criminology from Kent State University, Ernie has been a mainstay developing and administering the criminology track in the department, including co-coordinating field placements for students at federal and county agencies. With research interests spanning theory and methodology and intervention for at-risk populations, Ernie branched out into global topics most recently, publishing “The Effects of Global Economic Expansion on Organized Resistance,” in the collection Globalization and After, and (with Elaine Hocevar) “The Information Service Sector: A Global Factor in Terrorism’s Decline and Democracy’s Expansion?” in Between Jihad and McWorld: Voices of Social Justice.

Ernie has served in a range of leadership roles on campus, including Chair of Faculty Forum (2000-2006), Associate Dean of Academic Advising (2006-2009), Learning Community Coordinator, and, most recently, Director for the First Year Seminar (FYS). He’s worked to build consensus with integrity in his efforts as a force for change at John Carroll about matters of curriculum, climate, and helping students learn.

Ernie has fully developed 20 courses during his 23 years at the university, regularly stepping up to fulfill the curricular needs of his department with courses such as “Social Stratification,” “Corporate Crime,” and “Criminal Justice Policy,” as well as courses for FYS. In his heavy advising load, guiding student research and independent studies, and in the classroom, Ernie has been commended for his concern for and the ability to relate to and inspire the best in his students.


Ruth Fenske, Associate Librarian
Ruth joined the Grasselli Library faculty in 1995 with a B.A. from Willamette University, an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin, and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. She was tenured in August of 1998. In her more than 16 years of service to Grasselli Library, she provided strong leadership in a number of roles, including Coordinator of Reference Services. As a member of the larger university community, she has been a participant in the intellectual and social life of this campus. Moreover, her contributions have extended further afield, and accordingly, in 2009, she received the Curtis W. Miles Award, which recognizes faculty members who share their expertise with community groups and nonprofit agencies.

As a Distinguished Member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals, she has been recognized by the Medical Library Association for her professional performance at a national level, where she has served as Chair of the Medical Library Education Section of the Medical Library Association and published regular literature reviews for Hypothesis: The Journal of the Medical Library Association.

In addition to her library work, Ruth has been active as a member of the Institutional Review Board (IRB), which oversees experiments involving human subjects conducted by faculty and students. Her research experience has made her an acute and constructive reviewer of IRB applications, especially those submitted by students. Cathy Anson, John Carroll’s director of Sponsored Research sums up Fenske’s many interactions with the board during the past sever years: “Ruth’s contributions will be sorely missed.”


David Mason, Professor of Religious Studies
For 40 years, David has served concurrently on the faculty at John Carroll and as Priest Associate at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights. He came to the Cleveland area in 1972 with an M.Div. from General Theological Seminary, as well as a B.A. from the University of West Virginia and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

David’s teaching range has encompassed courses about Protestant history and theology, belief and unbelief, and liberation, as well
as a number of graduate seminars in philosophical theology, process theology, and modern theologians such as Barth, Tillich, Rahner,
Küng, and Haight. As Director of the Walter and Mary Tuohy Chair of Interreligious Studies, David has enriched the intellectual life of campus while extending opportunities at John Carroll to hear and learn from eminent scholars through public talks and courses from an array of faiths and philosophical positions.

Particularly appreciated as a colleague for his humor and wisdom, David also has set an early and sustained example of productive scholarship at the university, from his early articles and monograph about time and perception in Whitehead and Heidegger through his editorship of Talking About God: Doing Theology in the Context of Modern Pluralism, to his later work including “A Christian Alternative to (Christian) Racism and Anti-Semitism” in The Journal of Ecumenical Studies, “A Christology of Universal Redepmtive Love,” in Dialog: A Journal of Theology, and to his book, Something That Matters: A Theology for Critical Believers, which was published last year.


Larry Schwab, Professor of Political Science
Larry came to John Carroll as a visiting professor in 1976 with a B.A. from Bowling Green State University and
a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University. Specializing in U.S. politics, Larry’s research interests span Congress, elections, budget policy, and the presidency. He is the author of three books – Changing Patterns of Congressional Politics, The Illusion of a Conservative Reagan Revolution, and The Impact of Congressional Reapportionment and Redistricting – numerous journal articles and several chapters in reference books. He was also a regular contributor to the “Arena” section of Politico and a source of expert insight for local news outlets wanting perspectives about political issues.

Serving as Department Chair from 1993 to 2001, Larry was known throughout his career at John Carroll for his generosity and mentorship of junior colleagues, particularly in terms of advising them and collaborating with them on publishing, and for his helpful advice and good citizenship in the department and in his area of expertise. Larry officially retired in December 2011 but returned to campus in April to give the Woelfl Seminar on Public Policy Lecture on “Reform Proposals for Elections and Policymaking in a Representative Democracy” where he addressed, among other topics, whether the U.S. should retain the Electoral College and the Office of the Vice President.

A popular teacher and advisor whose courses filled rapidly and whose advising roster was long, Larry is called “one of the most respected and loved instructors in the department, not only because of his vast knowledge of U.S. politics, but because he was fair, decent, and respectful to students and colleagues alike.”


Jeanne Somers, Director of Grasselli Library
With a B.A. from the College of Mount Saint Joseph and an M.L.S., M.P.A. and a Ph.D. in English from Kent State University, Jeanne served in several positions from Head of Cataloguing through Curator of Special Collections to Associate Dean of Libraries and Media Services at Kent State before she was selected as Director of Grasselli Library at John Carroll in 2005.

Jeanne was series editor of Kent State University Libraries Occasional Papers and contributor to the Dictionary of Literary Biography about literary and biographical topics as well as the author of articles and presentations about professional topics such as special collections, cataloguing, digital resources, and strategic planning.

During her time leading the library, Jeanne made numerous contributions to the library’s operations and holdings, from instituting budget- allocation formulas and a content management system, to overseeing physical upgrades to the spaces and furniture, to facilitating additions to the special collections, most notably the St. John’s Bible, selected Abraham Lincoln items, and the Wasmer gift of the Charles Carroll collection.

Fostering ties with other departments and units at the University, as well as community outreach, Jeanne co- sponsored the Suenens discussions and the Vocations Committee First Thursday luncheons and curated exhibits and symposia about special collections from Elizabeth I to popular culture. Her efforts to integrate the library into the educational lives of students was evident in her collaborations to develop the Center for Digital Media and a satellite writing center, not to mention more direct student support in the form of a coffee kiosk and s’mores and therapy dogs during exam week. As a colleague puts it, “Jeanne is a consummate professional and remarkable person.”

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