This makes sense according to the logic of incremental progression because the informal thanks to family are often the most heartfelt.Close family members are often the people who gave the most (although some supervisors are likely to feel this is not true).That this was not done was due to my inability to express quantitatively the relationship I sought.” Irving Isaacson ’36 wrote an economics and sociology thesis on “Would a System of Government Ownership, Properly Administered, Provide the Necessary Flexibility in Our Price System?
And we chose honors theses because they’re readily available, down the street at Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library and online since 2011 on the SCARAB database.
Jordan Becker ’15, writing a rhetoric thesis on “Contesting the Dominance of Neoliberalism: The Ideograph as a Force for Social Change,” said this about Professor of Politics Bill Corlett, who was part of his thesis defense panel: “If I become only half the thinker, half the teacher, half the person that Bill Corlett is, it will surely be one of my greatest accomplishments.” Erin Beirne ’06, writing a geology thesis on “A Geochemical Investigation of Organic Matter Composition, Deposition, and Preservation at Sprague Marsh, Phippsburg, Maine,” thanked her family, noting that: “It is entirely possible that I would have slept through my senior year had you not been willing to call me every morning, that I would have drowned in a sea of Bates had you not been there to bail me out, and that I may have never had a moment from myself had you not been as important a part of my life, my consciousness, as you are.” Craig Woodard ’86 wrote a biology thesis on “Partial Purification of a Type I Arylsulfatase from ,” and thanked now-retired professor Joe Pelliccia for “for his wisdom, guidance, support, and patience. Pelliccia has taught me to be a scientist.” Woodard earned a doctorate from Yale and has been a professor of biological sciences at Mount Holyoke College since 1995.
Students may choose to namedrop in these internal thanks too: if a big name in the field gave feedback after a conference paper or in conversation, acknowledgements strengthen the student’s academic authority and insider status.
Acknowledgements vary in length, and the effect of a very long acknowledgement—I have seen a nine-pager—is to dilute the thanks.
But acknowledgements do matter because in amongst the celebration the right people need to be thanked in the right sort of way.
The acknowledgement pages I have looked at vary considerably.(Mount Holyoke College photograph) Paul Bomely ’76, writing a government thesis on “Mark-up Sessions and Congressional Decision-making: A Case Study,” dedicated his thesis to “Martha” for “her advice, her patience, and her faith, because she always understood.” “Martha” was Martha Brown ’76, then Paul’s fiancée and a fellow government major. Terrance Amsler ’96, writing an English thesis on “Negotiating Public and Poetic Ground: The Poetry of Mahon, Carson, and Mc Guckian,” dedicated his thesis to his mom, “who, for every hour I spent typing, you knit two, purl two, making me a vest of Irish wool and familial love.” Roger Thies ’55 put a cover page on his biology thesis, “A Study of the Effects of Ultraviolet Light on Bacterial Viruses” that said, “This Is Thies’s Thesis.” He wasn’t done being inventive with his name.Paul and Martha were married just a couple weeks after their graduation, on June 19, 1976, and will celebrate their 40th anniversary this spring. When he married Nancy Tanner, they joined names as Nancy and Roger Tanner Thies.Such formal thanks are usually in the first paragraph or two.Interestingly, our Guide to Theses and Dissertations states that you should “Only acknowledge people or institutions that have contributed to the content of your thesis” (14). I have seen people thank their dog for sitting at their feet for hundreds of hours, the cat for its companionable choice of the thesis draft as a place to settle down for a nap, and God for creating a magnificent universe available to be studied.Sarah Weinstein Knowlton ’96 wrote a chemistry thesis on “Lanthanide-Crown Ether Couples as Chiral NMR Shift Reagents.” In dedicating it to her mother, she quoted Lincoln: “All that I am or hope to be I owe to my mother.” She’s now an associate professor of physical sciences at Rhode Island College.Christoph Berenbroick ’96 wrote a classical and Romance languages and literatures thesis on “Thanks to Kirk [Read] and Denis [Sweet] for conversations that have helped me with this work so much.” In her interdisciplinary thesis on “Redefining Disability: A Case Study of Community and Art,” Anna Schechter ’06 thanked the Blue Goose for its “perfect mixture of serenity and dysfunction.” In 2006, classmates Diana Gauvin, John Atchley, Benjamin Lebeaux, John Mulligan, and David Squires all did honors theses with Professor of English Sanford Freedman.Paul Wason ’76, writing a biology thesis on “The Domestication and Early Dispersal of Cotton as It Relates to the Possibility of Pre-Columbian Contacts Between the New World and the Old,” thanked a legion of friends for helping with typing (lots of people were thanked for typing back then) noting that “no matter how much planning is done, there is always a rush at the end.” At the end of his thanks to all his friends who helped, Wason added, “Thanks, also, to others who offered to help.” Brooks Motley ’06 wrote a geology thesis on “Sedimentation in Linnévatnet, Svalbard, During 2004–2005: A Modern Process Study Using Sediment Traps.” He toasted his adviser, Mike Retelle, by saying that “the next Interface Pale Ale in a leaky Zodiak is on me.” The “leaky Zodiak” refers to a brand of rubber boat. Paul Phillips ’18 of New Gloucester, Maine, Chrissy Mc Cabe ’16 of Bronxville, N. I., sip their “Interface Pale Ale” last summer during research work in Svalbard with Professor of Geology Mike Retelle.(Photograph by Mike Retelle) Robert Pladek ’76 wrote a government thesis on “Politics of the Funnies: The Influence of Political Cartoons on Public Perception of Political Leaders.” The project required a survey, which he did by enlisting a crew of Bates friends, who, he noted in his acknowledgments, sacrificed a “Saturday morning to stand out in the cold.” They were Jim Geitz ’77, Liz Mac Kie Venturato ’76, Lisa Dimock ’77, Rick Dwyer ’78, Brenda Flanagan Pladek ’76, Sue Archard Robert ’76, the late Polly Howlett ’76, Bill Nagel ’76, Rich Rothman ’79, Bruce Penney ’76, and Jan Malatesta Penney ’77.In the spirit of Thanksgiving Week, we pored over a few hundred honors theses looking for the best thanks and tributes — that is, the most distinctive, unusual, and quirky — offered by thesis-weary seniors over the years.While the honors program started in 1927, not until the 1970s did the custom of including dedications or acknowledgments begin to flourish. Most the examples below are at 10-year intervals, meaning we didn’t look at thesis because, well, this ain’t a senior thesis.