Ewing, Montgomery, and Tomé Earn Arthur Vining Davis Fellowships
July 02, 2021
By Elsa Wenzel
The Arthur Vining Davis Fellowship is granted each year to faculty members who demonstrate incredible contributions to their students and community.
Each year, Rollins students and faculty choose outstanding faculty members who demonstrate superlative achievements in teaching, advising, scholarly work, and contributions to their field.
Out of dozens of nominees, three individuals are chosen to receive Arthur Vining Davis Fellowships from the College and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation named for the 19th-century Florida businessman and philanthropist. This year’s recipients are history professor Hannah Ewing, librarian and associate professor Susan Montgomery, and Spanish professor Patricia Tomé.
Since joining the College in 2014, Ewing’s high level of engagement has earned her multiple accolades, including the Student Government Association’s Outstanding Faculty Award and the R-Compass Advising Appreciation recognition for multiple years in a row. Students have praised her as “the very definition of a Rollins professor,” “the best academic advisor,” and “the most incredible professor I’ve ever had.”
A member of the classical studies program steering committee, Ewing serves as the Rollins chapter advisor to the history honor society Phi Alpha Theta. She says the award energizes her work, affirming that Rollins values her focus on relationship-driven, friendly teaching, especially after the challenges of remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a liberal arts alum who benefited from great mentors and teachers, paying it forward to my students, advisees, and colleagues has always been a top priority for me,” says Ewing, “I've loved making the often very distant past accessible and relevant for 21st-century students—and I try to put that same collaborative, demystifying energy into helping advisees navigate the Rollins curriculum and future plans too.”
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Susan Singer praised Montgomery for providing the “whole package” of a Rollins faculty member who blends teaching, research, and service. Montgomery is a fixture at the Olin Library, where she teaches and also serves as library liaison to many departments across campus. Another colleague said Montgomery “provides excellent instruction to students on a range of topics,” including organizing workshops for students to fine-tune their research skills.
Students have called Montgomery a “role model,” someone on whom they can “rely for support and help.”
During Montgomery’s efforts to improve accessibility for library patrons, she became a certified Braille transcriber. In 2017, she published a book on the subject of accessibility, Assessing Library Space for Learning.
“I’ve always been inspired by the work of our students and my colleagues so I appreciate that they see me as a person who they can rely on for support and help,” says Montgomery, who came to Rollins 11 years ago. “Librarians want to help others—that is what draws us to our profession.”
Since 2007, Tomé has served as a professor of Spanish at Rollins, where she is known for encouraging students to explore their passions. Over the years, she’s taught many Rollins College Conference (RCC) courses and served as faculty advisor to dozens of incoming students, some of who praise Tomé as “patient,” “engaging,” and “motivating.”
One colleague expressed how much Tomé “emphasizes learning through conversation” and “teaches students cultural and socioeconomic issues through real-life experiences.”
Her strong commitment to service is exemplified by creating Project Bridge, a program that encourages students to give back to the community by teaching English to employees around campus who do not speak English as their first language.
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