Peter Greenfield retires in May after 28 years at Puget Sound. He attended California’s College of Marin for two years before completing his bachelor’s degree at University of Washington in 1972. After earning his master’s degree from Mills College in 1975, Greenfield returned to the Northwest and UW, completing his doctorate degree in 1981.
After a brief stint at Whitman College, Greenfield joined the faculty of the English department at Puget Sound in 1983. With broad interests in dramatic literature spanning the works of ancient Greece to the present day, Greenfield is a specialist in late medieval and early modern English drama. His courses included Shakespeare, early British literature, the history of the English language, and interdisciplinary humanities. While a member of the faculty, Greenfield served the university in numerous roles, including several years as chair or associate chair of the English department and as a member of the Faculty Advancement Committee. He fondly recalls “the joy of team teaching with wonderful colleagues” throughout his career, including Professors Walter Lowrie, Ili Nagy, and Geoff Proehl. Years ago Greenfield and colleague Florence Sandler began an annual trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival at the request of the alumni office. For the last 12 years, they’ve led the group of alumni and friends, calling themselves “the FOPS” (Friends of Puget Sound), unofficially continuing the tradition.
An author, co-author, and editor of myriad books and scholarly works on medieval and modern drama, Greenfield has enjoyed a career-long association with the Records of Early English Drama project, an international scholarly endeavor to establish and provide the broad context from which the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries grew. Greenfield also served 10 years as editor of the annual scholarly journal Research Opportunities in Medieval and Renaissance Drama. He received numerous grants for research and travel, including the Lantz Sabbatical Enhancement Grant in 2004, Dirk Andrew Phibbs Memorial Award in 2007–08, and National Endowment for the Humanities grants totaling more than $500,000.
Upon retirement Greenfield will join his partner, Professor Sandra Dahlberg, in Houston, Texas, where he looks forward to devoting most of his time to research and writing. In particular he anticipates completing his publications on the dramatic activity in the English counties of Hampshire and Hertfordshire prior to 1642 for the Records of Early English Drama series. He intends to continue teaching part time, and plans to return to the Pacific Northwest every summer to continue the FOPS’ annual trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Born and raised in New Zealand, Florence Sandler studied English and history at University of Canterbury in Christchurch, earning her bachelor’s degree in 1958. Two years later she completed her master’s degree in English literature and began teaching at Victoria University of Wellington, writing on the side and reviewing American books for New Zealand radio.
Having secured a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue doctorate studies in the United States, Sandler arrived on the campus of University of California, Berkeley, in 1963—the same year that Martin Luther King Jr. marched on Washington, D.C., that President Kennedy was assassinated, and that Berkeley saw several leaders of the emerging civil rights movement also arrive on campus. There Sandler studied English literature with an emphasis on John Milton. She spent the summer of 1964 running a Freedom School in Gulfport, Miss., reaching out to young people in the African American community, encouraging voter registration, and teaching black history during what may have been the first time the subject was systematically taught. She fondly remembers numerous demonstrations on the Berkeley campus the following year and a second summer working within the civil rights movement.
Sandler’s Fulbright allowed her five years to complete her doctorate studies and gain professional experience, which she did in the form of teaching assistantships and positions both at Berkeley and University of Illinois at Chicago, where she was a member of the faculty on opening day, 1966. Two years later she submitted her dissertation, and earned her Ph.D.
In 1970 Sandler joined the faculty at Puget Sound. A specialist in early modern English literature, she has published on numerous writers, including Spenser, Milton, Donne, Blake, George Eliot, and others. Her courses include classes on writing in English by authors from Africa, India, the Caribbean, Canada, and Australia, as well as several on women in literature. Sandler served as director of the university’s women’s studies program (now gender studies). She received several research awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Folger Shakespeare Library, and University of Puget Sound, including the university’s first John Lantz award. She co-founded the Daedalus Society on campus, served as president of the Pacific Northwest Renaissance Conference, and in 2005, received the Faculty Senate Service Award. Sandler plans to write and travel in retirement.
Practically born into life on campus, Mary Turnbull was raised in Tacoma, the daughter of Rev. Dr. R. Franklin Thompson, Puget Sound president for more than 30 years. She fondly remembers two of her earliest jobs, to pick all the dandelions she could find on campus leading up to Commencement—25 cents per 100 dandelions—and to be chauffeur for her dad on official university business, making trips to “every Methodist church, community high school, and local hotel in early 1960s Washington.”
Mary completed her bachelor’s degree at University of Washington in 1968. As a graduate student at Puget Sound a few years later, she taught French, German, English, and whatever else was asked of her at Curtis Junior High School in University Place. Mary’s professors encouraged her to pursue doctorate work, and she did at The University of Chicago, where she was the first female candidate to be welcomed into “The Committee of Comparative Literature.” She completed her doctorate work in 1978, and returned to Tacoma to join the faculty of Puget Sound as an instructor in the English department the following year.
“Teaching, listening, and learning with your students, at whatever level—from preschool to postdoctoral—reminds me of a relay race,” Mary says. “Each participant passes the baton to the following competitor. Some teams push ahead, while other teams, equally qualified, may have a setback. Most will reach their desired goals. And the coach, mentor, or academic instructor quietly shares pride in the progress of every student.” In addition to teaching core classes, such as Introduction to Literature and Biography/Autobiography, Mary has served on numerous university committees and groups. She was the first instructor to chair a Puget Sound university committee, and she contributed at multiple stages in the development of the university’s academic advising program.
An ambassador of Puget Sound to the university community and beyond, Mary was often a speaker at alumni and parent events, prospective student activities, and local book clubs. She served as a publicly elected member of the University Place School Board for 16 years, serving four times as board chair, and she has been an active and sustaining member of the Aloha Club for 30 years and of Tacoma Junior League for 32 years.
Though her plans are many, Mary is most looking forward to life simplifying in retirement. “I have taught several thousand students,” she says, “each one at a time. They remember me, and I will never forget them.”