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Retiring faculty not planning on slowing down

Dec 1, 2016

For Flagler College’s three faculty members who retired this spring, it won’t be “mint juleps on the front porch,” as Assistant Professor Don Robbins put it. Rather, the three faculty — with seven decades of service devoted to education between them — will pursue long-delayed passion projects. Assistant Professor Don Robbins


Robbins will never forget the moment he walked into the Netherlands’ Museum Mesdag in 1997. “The art there moved me,” he said. “I fell in love with everything.”

For someone whose professional pursuits had centered on coaching and teaching Math, the discovery was seismic. He began studying the artists of the period between 1860 to 1900, known as The Hague School. To Robbins, retirement will not mean slowing down or giving up his love of teaching.

Instead of teaching Math, he hopes to acquire the skills necessary to lecture on particular Hague School works.

Associate Professor Dr. John Diviney
Latin American Studies

When Diviney learned in 2001 that he had been hired to serve as Flagler College’s new coordinator of Latin American studies, he was beyond elated.

“I felt like I had died and gone to heaven,” he said.

The retired United States Army Major was always a teacher at heart, and over the course of the last 15 years, he taught Spanish, Spanish Literature, Portuguese, Latin American Studies and Latin American History.

“In some ways, I hate leaving it,” he said. Now he plans to work on his own special projects — including the translation of 18th century documents on St. Augustine.

Assistant Professor Catherine McFarland

San Francisco. Folk songs. Reconnecting with old friends. Practicing German. Those are some of the things on McFarland’s mind as she prepares for “an identity shift” from art history professor to retiree. She and her husband, retired Flagler College professor of English Doug McFarland, will settle into San Francisco.

But retirement doesn’t mean giving up her love of art. She’s currently working on a book on renowned Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel — a 16th century Netherlandish Renaissance painter. Working at Flagler, she said, has played a critical role in her growth as an art historian.

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