By Nathan Schmidt
This week, economics professor Dr. Laurel Homilan was rewarded for his thirtieth year of employment with a commemorative metal pin about the size of a quarter. The auspicious occasion comes at a time when faculty morale has been strained by the COVID-19 pandemic, and every coin-sized gesture from the administration counts to show that they care.
“I also got a letter from the university president,” said Dr. Homilan in an online interview, which was mostly spent trying to get the pin attached to his lapel to come into focus on the webcam. On that topic, he also added, “Oh, shoot. Am I close enough to the camera? Can you see it? I’m too close. Out of focus again. Darn. Well, if you squint, you can just kind of see the ‘30 years.’ Maybe you can’t see it. But it’s there.”
Dr. Homilan is widely known among the student body for his jovial but informative lecturing style, his collection of dog-themed printed neckties, and his support of student groups. He is also widely known among the faculty for having taught economics since before the Soviet Union collapsed.
“The field has really changed since Communism was bought out by ExxonMobil,” Dr. Homilan commented when asked.
Some students have expressed surprise at their economics professor receiving such a small and barely legible gift after such a long and successful teaching career. However, faculty have long been aware that since tenure is the only gift that matters, a wearable pin that no one would ever actually bring out in public is a valid solution to the university’s yearning need for commemoration. And for his part, Dr. Homilan looks back on the past thirty years at Fairfield University with fondness.
“People may raise eyebrows when they hear about my getting a little pin after thirty years,” he concluded, “but it sure beats the paper clip they gave me at twenty.”