Bob Stiles, a Hampshire Institution. By Russell Powell, Hampshire Reports, Summer 1985, p.2-3)
His presence is made more indelible with the delivery of each day's mail.
His ancestors include the statesman Aaron Burr, and Ezra Stiles, the seventh president of (then) Yale College. At age 79, he still processes 75 quarts of tomato juice made from fruit grown in his renowned vegetable garden every summer. He was born and raised in Hampshire's admissions office. Hampshire's founding president, Franklin Patterson, while chairman of the board of trustees in 1973, called him "the truest founder of Hampshire College." At a young college where traditions are only beginning to emerge, he is a genuine institution. He is Bob Stiles.
Bob Stiles has delivered the mail to Hampshire's administrative offices so regularly since the college's founding that he has long since lost track of his accumulated vacation time. He is now hard of hearing. Short wispy whistles perforate his speech, and he no longer makes three trips a day to the Amherst post office (though he continues to go on Saturdays). But his wry sense of humor remains intact, and he still rises at 7 a.m. in order to begin sorting the mail by 8 in Hampshire's post office. After delivering the morning mail to the administrative offices in the Cole Science Center, he returns to his house around 9:30 and resumes work at 1 p.m.
When he was born in what was to become Hampshire's admissions office (which now bears his name), trolley tracks ran out in front along West Street and 40 Holstein cows were milked in what would eventually become Blair Hall. The long low buildings behind Stiles House now occupied by Hampshire's health services were used as toolsheds. Chickens were raised in coops north of Blair Hall (several remain standing), and Bob collected the eggs and sold them, together with apples, at Mount Holyoke College until the mid-1960s....
He was first approached about selling his land by the University of Massachusetts in 1960. They wanted to maintain the land as a farm for research purposes. Later, a group approached him asking to buy the property to convert it to a golf course. "It would have been a pretty large golf course," he says. "I had 250 acres." He declined both offers.
His mother always held an interest in education, Bob remembers, which influenced him years later when the Trustees of Tinker Hill (the trust responsible for Hampshire's initial land purchases, comprising attorney Winthrop S. Dakin, Charles Longsworth, and the treasurer of Amherst College) approached him in 1965 about selling his land for a new college. He first had heard about the plans for a new college in 1958, when a group of faculty and administrators at the (then) four colleges (Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and the University of Massachusetts) had just completed The New College Plan. "I thought it would be nice to have the new college as soon as I learned about it. They told me what they wanted to do, and that was all right. I was just happy to have it here."...
Bob is glad he sold his land to Hampshire. "I'd be dead taking care of the horses and cows if the college wasn't here," he jokes. "Anyway, there's not too much money in farming."...
He began delivering mail for Hampshire in 1966. He has made friends with a number of employees through the years (he's admittedly partial to women) and is still apt to get an affectionate kiss on the cheek on his daily rounds. He has gotten along well with each of Hampshire's three presidents, Franklin Patterson ("he was a very nice person"), Charles Longworth ("I never had any trouble with him"), and Adele Simmons ("she does pretty well")....
In addition to his tomatoes, Bob maintains a large rhubarb patch and grows a variety of vegetables each summer. He makes his own applesauce and freezes squash and corn, right on the cob ("drop it in boiling water for about ten seconds and throw it right in the freezer"). He also grows flowers in memory of his sister ("She liked to have them, and when she died I've been having flowers ever since") and occasionally invites college employees to have lunch with him, after which they are allowed to pick a bouquet to take back to their offices. His abundant tomatoes begin appearing on a number of people's desks regularly every August....
...Through the years a number of students have stayed with him...In fact, of all the pleasures he has derived from his long association with Hampshire, his contact with students remains at or near the top of his list. Many alumns still write or visit him when they return to campus. He was even invited to an alum's wedding in Burlington, VT, this spring. Hampshire's students, he says, have changed very little over the years. "Students are just about as good as they were to begin with. I think students have been pretty good all the way through."...
Stiles Celebrates 80th Year. Hampshire College News, April 1986, p.4
The Hampshire community gathered to celebrate the 80th birthday of long-time Hampshire employee, Bob Stiles, and to name him father of the college. The Stiles family was the original owner of the farmland on which Hampshire College stands (building began in 1968), and the house in which Stiles was born is now the admissions office.
A formal resolution passed by the college senate and read by President Simmons at the event said the following:
"Be it henceforth known that on this 11th day of February, 1986, Hampshire College gathered to celebrate the contributions of Bob Stiles to our community. Following the venerable tradition of our cousin, Yale University, which prospered under the leadership of Ezra*, Hampshire was conceived in the orchards of his descendant, Bob. For 15 years the college has benefited from Bob's daily presence. his Yankee wit and insight, his advice and encouragement. We have been nourished by his vegetables, cheered by his flowers, strengthened by his rhubarb. Through dark New England winters and periods of discouragement many have found warmth in Bob's kitchen; and sustenance from his applesauce sundaes has tided us over until spring and better times. Be it therefore resolved that for his many gifts to us, for his love of students, and his continued good counsel, Hampshire declares Bob Stiles the father of the college on this occasion of his 80th birthday."
*Ezra Stiles was the seventh president of Yale.
In Memorium: Robert Stiles. Hampshire College News, vol. IV(1), October 1986, p.1.
The entire Hampshire community was saddened when Robert E. "Bob" Stiles, one of the original landowners of the campus and a fimiliar presence on campus, passed away on Thursday, July 3 (1986). He was 80....
Hampshire College Workforce Management Plan, 1990 (Click here for a pdf version of the entire Plan)
Hampshire College faces a structural deficit of $1,200,000 which must be permanently eliminated from the budget. The recommendations submitted to the president by the budget task force on September 24, 1990 propose a reduction in the faculty and staff/administration compensation budgets by approximately $700,000. The task force further recommended that faculty reductions of 6.0 FTE and staff/administration reductions of 15.0 FTE should equate to $700,000. For the purpose of this proposal, we focus on a dollar goal rather than FTE count since the FTE count varies dependent upon the value of the position reduced or eliminated. These guidelines have been developed to help reduce the college's structural deficit. They do not constitute new legal or contractual rights nor alter pre-existing rights. These guidelines are subject to modification if circumstances warrant including revision and/or elimination if and when the structural deficit no longer exists or when the college deems it necessary to expand programs and services. The staff advocacy committee recommends that the administration develop controls and a process for the creation of any new positions in the future to insure that having once reached the goal of a reduced workforce, new positions are not added back into the budget arbitrarily. A review process which includes the budget and priorities committee is suggested.
For Hampshire College, workforce management provides a standard campus-wide guide for making any significant change or reduction involving personnel. The goal of workforce management is to provide an orderly process for making staffing decisions that correspond with budgetary realities, employee needs and organizational needs.
Through the use of the following guidelines, we can achieve our goal through attrition and reorganization, exhausting every means available to us, considering layoffs of individual employees a last resort.
If layoffs become necessary, workforce management is intended to minimize the impact on the employee and the unit to the extent possible under the circumstances. Utilization of workforce management procedures may reduce the potential negative consequences of layoffs, terminations, and reassignments. The process outlined herein will assist in establishing specific workforce management programs. This plan is instituted on a temporary basis and does not supersede the benefit policies described in the employee handbook.
II. Developing A Workforce Management Program
Upon notification by the president that, due to financial exigencies, a significant change in the workforce is required, the budget supervisor for the affected area(s) will appoint a workforce management coordinator (administrator). The workforce management coordinator should be selected with team leadership and organizational abilities in mind. The coordinator will establish a team consisting of the designated managers of the affected unit(s). A list of designated managers for all units is attached. Where small units are combined by function, a single designated manager has been selected as the responsible person for those units. It will be the coordinator's responsibility to work with managers in the development of a workforce management program that is tailored for each unit and is in concert with the budgetary goals established by the president while maintaining diversity within the workforce. The tables on pages 13 and 14 provide an overview of how salary dollars are distributed, not only throughout specific areas, but among administrators and administrative staff. This tool is meant to assist the administration in determining a dollar or percentage target for the various functional areas.
The workforce management coordinator and the managers of the affected units will review the units in view of their mission, the relationship between functions and other units, and the overall purpose of the unit. The coordinator and the team will identify appropriate procedures for workforce reorganization and reduction by investigating the following options:
1. Voluntary Indefinite Cost Saving Alternatives:
A. Early Retirement;
B. Voluntary Resignation;
C. Voluntary Reduction in Contract Year;
D. Voluntary Reduction in Work Week.
2. Voluntary Temporary Cost Saving Alternatives:
A. Voluntary Unpaid Leave of Absence;
B. Intermittent Time Off Without Pay;
C. Job Sharing;
3. Reorganization and Targeting Positions For Elimination:
B. Job Recombination Policy
4. Transition Assistance:
A. Job Matching Component;
B. Outplacement Component;
C. Rumor Control Unit.
When considering any reduction or reorganization within a unit, particular interest must be paid to the effect the reduction may have on other necessary functions within the institution but outside of the unit.
The manager will discuss with employees in the unit all available options as well as reorganization and redistribution of work load. It should be made clear to all employees in the unit that any proposals involving voluntary reduction of time or FTE must be reviewed for feasibility based on the operational design of the unit and may or may not be approved dependent upon organizational need.
A report (including specific plans and recommendations) and a completed workforce management plan profile will be prepared by the manager, and will be forwarded to a review committee by January 31, 1991. The committee will consist of a School Dean, a Budget Supervisor, a staff member from Budget and Priorities, two members of SAC, the Personnel Director and the Affirmative Action officer. The participating dean and budget supervisor may vary dependent upon the area being discussed.
It will be the committee's responsibility to review the reports and recommendations for procedural compliance and general feasibility. The committee will provide a commentary for the president on each report submitted. The manager's report along with the commentary will be forwarded to the budget supervisor for final review and discussion with the president. The proposal will be either approved, returned for revision, or denied with a written explanation from the budget supervisor to the coordinator and manager. The president and/or executive branch of the college must reserve the right to determine, based on long term institutional goals, where current staffing levels need to be maintained, and where reorganization is needed.[p.2-4]
Workplace Democracy, 1990 (Click here for a pdf version of this document)
Staff Participation at Hampshire
It is true that Hampshire already practices participatory management to a greater extent than many other colleges. On the whole the respect and consideration that administration show staff people and the flexibility in many aspects of the work place that many staff people enjoy is, while not unique, certainly not common. What is also very special about Hampshire is that its employees have tremendous commitment to the institution. However, there is also a very definite sense that staff could participate more fully in decision making at Hampshire. To enhance employee participation in the decision making process we recommend that:
1. The Staff advocacy Committee, SaC formerly PAC, will be made up of 14 elected staff and administrators and the director of personnel as a nonvoting, ex officio member. The director of personnel will be informed of all meetings, however, the committee reserves the right to meet without the director of personnel. It will represent and promote staff concerns insuring that the interests of its constituents are taken seriously in College fora. SaC's advocacy is informed by institutional and staff priorities. Included in its responsibilities are the following:
a. Advise the College on how to improve communication between administration and staff and participate in the review and evaluation of personnel policies, compensation, benefits and practices, existing and proposed. SaC will meet with representatives of other committees, senior officers of the college. The staff seeks representation on all governance bodies having faculty and student representatives including the Board of Trustees.
b. Educate staff and administration on principles of worker participation and workplace democracy.
c. Keep in touch with innovations in employee participation and workplace democracy at other institutions and businesses and continue to provide leadership in management practice at Hampshire.
d. Plan quarterly all-staff meetings to report on and discuss issues.
e. Serve as a forum for discussion with staff representatives of administrative bodies. Staff representatives have an obligation to report on developments within their respective committees.
f. Personnel Office will report semiannually to SaC numbers/category of grievances. SaC is further charged with reviewing present grievance procedures and exploring ways of providing for the resource of an ombudsperson.
2. SaC will participate in the creation of an overall mission statement for Hampshire which will include an explicit commitment to participatory management.
3. Semiannual orientation sessions will be held for all Hampshire staff members hired in the preceding period. Such introductory sessions will include, but not be limited to an explanation of the rights, responsibilities and duties of a Hampshire College employee, benefits information provided by the Personnel Office, education about Hampshire's commitment not to discriminate on the basis or race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, national origin, mental or physical handicap, political belief or affiliation, membership or nonmembership in any organization, or veteran status. Integral to these orientation sessions will be presentations about workplace democracy and participatory management at Hampshire College. Thereafter, a tour of and orientation about campus offices and services will be held.
4. The College recognizes the value for all employees of participation in governance and committee work and will encourage that involvement as a legitimate use of their working time. Such governance and committee work is not to interfere unduly with an employee's regular duties.
5. SaC is charged with the responsibility for continuing to promote implementation of workplace democracy issues and to regularly report on its progress.
6. SaC will be funded annually by standard budget procedures.
Ruth Hammen, from The Physical History of Hampshire College, 1989.
The first summer that Franklin Patterson and his secretary I was, was writing The Making of a College, which I brought along, because I typed it. But I would be at the typewriter in Stiles House (now the Admissions Office) and people would come in and say, "What a beautiful spot!" and I would say, "Is it? Tell me!" I was looking at the typewriter. I still look at the typewriter--not much on touch typing. But this became, as I learned later, was being written for a grant to the Ford Foundation. Foundations in those days were valuing grants in terms of how thick they were. And I can remember complaining, only to my son at home, that Patterson was such a terrible writer, that he never used one word where ten would do as well. But then I learned why--I learned he could write tersely and very well. But this was foundation proposal writing--had to thicken it up...[p.7]
Stepping out...25 Years Later.
Daily Hampshire Gazette, June 10, 1992. p. 1,8.
Ruth Hammen shirked advice she received 25 years ago--that she was too old to skydive--and stepped out of an airplane yesteday at 7,000 feet over Northampton Airport.
Hammen is 75.
The Hampshire College secretary had only to arch her body and keep her arms and legs extended, while instructor David Strickland, strapped to her back, worked the pair through the 30-second freefall, the minutes-long parachute ride and the "tippy-toe" landing. Just after touching down yards away from 30 friends and relatives, Hammen smiled and quipped, "Now on to bigger and better things."
But in truth she's still awed by skydiving and before leaving the airport yesterday already was talking about doing it again. "She was as cool as a cucumber," said Strickland, who has made more than 4,000 tandem jumps with novice skydivers. "I have 18-year-olds kicking and screaming."
Strickland's tandem parachute made Hammen's skydiving dream possible. Without any experience at landing, Hammen might have hit the ground harder than her frame could handle had she gone it alone. But with the expert hands of Strickland easing the parachute to a light touchdown, she landed without a scratch.
Hammen, who lives in Williamsburg, said she first considered skydiving in the late 1950s when living in New Jersey. But a friend with connections refused to arrange a jump because Hammen had two young children. The friend was wary Hammen would injure herself. A decade after that Hammen lived in Massachusetts and inquired about parachuting at a flight school in Orange. She was told that, at age 50, she didn't have strong enough cartilage for the bumpy landings beginners experience.
Then this spring, a Hampshire student told her about the recent invention of tandem jumps, where the instructor works the parachute, making jumps for older novices possible. She signed on.
Hammen arrived at the Airborne Adventure Skydiving School about 4:30 yesterday afternoon in slacks and colorful sneakers that depicted confetti and streamers. After instructions on how to hold her body during flight, workers suited Hammen in a yellow jump suit and harness. Strickland put on his own red suit, that would hold the parachute, and the two climbed into a small five-seater airplane.
As she boarded the plane she joked to the crowd, "What if I go and he doesn't come with me." "Then we'll see you very soon," a friend quipped back.
Strickland's wife, Chapin Strickland, also climbed in, with a video camera on her helmet to film Hammen's descent. Twenty minutes later she landed, reporting to the crowd that Hammen had a smile on her face.
When Hammen touched down, her 6-year-old granddaughter, Giovanna Tolda, was the first to break the gap between the jumpers and the crowd, running with a stuffed bunny rabbit in hand to give her grandmother a hug. Others followed, including Hampshire professor Susan Douglas who bought Hammen a glass of bourbon on ice, a favorite drink.
Hammen later said the drop went more slowly than she expected. Asked to describe the experience, she said, "I felt like a bird."
To: The Hampshire Community
Subject: Ruth Hammen's Retirement Extravaganza
Ruth Hammen, CCS administrative assistant, right hand to founding president Franklin Patterson, first College employee, mother and grandmother to us all, storehouse of Hampshire lore (much of it unrepeatable), is retiring at the end of this month.
Ruth already has the Simmons Hall auditorium named for her. What else to do to express our appreciation and love? Have a party!
Make plans for a significant event--music, food, storytelling--at the Red Barn, Friday, April 1 (yes!),  from 3:30-5:00 pm. The Ruth Graham Hammen Retirement Extravaganza.
Everyone is welcome, kids and spouses too, and help is needed. Please come!...
Ruth Hammen: "Mother of the College"
August 17, 1916 - October 26, 1997
Ruth Graham Hammen died on October 26, 1997, at the Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton. She was 81 years old. In 1966 Hammen moved to Amherst to become the first secretary to Franklin Patterson, the founding president of Hampshire College. She stayed on at Hampshire for 27 years, eventually earning the affectionate title "Mother of the College." The following excerpt is taken from a speech given by President Gregory S. Prince, Jr., at the Hampshire memorial service for Ruth held on Sunday, November 23, 1997.
"Some might characterize the celebration of Ruth Hammen's life as the end of an era, the end of a critically important chapter of Hampshire's story, but I would not do so. Ruth's contribution and impact continue to emerge, and the chapter has a long way to go before it ends. In the same way, I am sure that her spirit and character will continue to emerge and be seen as her children and their children make their way forward. With her family and with Hampshire, Ruth's significance and her gifts exist as much in the future as in the past.
Franklin Patterson, Hampshire's first president, and Chuck Longsworth, Hampshire's second president, credited Ruth's work with far greater significance than Ruth would ever have claimed. As editor and manuscript preparer of The Making of a College, Ruth did far more than edit. She added substance, concepts and tone to the document, even while forcing a sharpening of the thoughts of the two main authors.
She was not just present at the creation, she was one of Hampshire's creators. Her life's work and the gift of her life grow as Hampshire grows."
--From Non Satis Scire, Spring 1998, p. 39.