June 03, 2024

With a combined total of 55 years on the Hill, the College bids farewell to two legendary professors.

John Eastby, Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs

John Eastby headshotDr. Eastby is retiring after 35 years of teaching at Hampden-Sydney College. Back in 1988, during his time at St. Cloud State University, Dr. Eastby was urged by his close friend, retired Patterson Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs James Pontuso, to consider applying for a position at the College. Intrigued by the tight-knit community and the serene rural campus, which was ideal for raising his family, Dr. Eastby joined the faculty in 1989.

Throughout his tenure at the college, Dr. Eastby distinguished himself as a dedicated educator and community member. He held various leadership roles including director of the Western Culture Program, interim director and assistant director of the Wilson Center, associate dean of the faculty, chair of the Government and Foreign Affairs Department, chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee, and chair of the Honor Appeals Committee. Furthermore, he actively engaged in extracurricular activities such as participating in the Alumni Summer College, advising Madisonians (Model UN), and being an active member of College Church. Beyond the Hill, Dr. Eastby generously volunteered his time and efforts with Farmville-area organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Southside YMCA, and FACES Food Pantry.

Working with students has been a source of joy for Dr. Eastby, who appreciates the moments when students pose thought-provoking questions, evolve, and flourish during their time on the Hill. Among his cherished memories is that of leading classes to Europe in the 1990s, which he considers a significant milestone in his career, offering students invaluable and enlightening experiences. Additionally, he fondly remembers engaging in discussions with his now retired colleague Professor of Government & Foreign Affairs Roger Barrus and former College President Samuel V. Wilson, as they discussed the conceptual framework for the Vietnam War Conference.

With a deep love for Hampden-Sydney, Dr. Eastby intends to remain on campus. Reflecting on his tenure as a professor, he expressed gratitude for the opportunity to collaborate with outstanding colleagues, including Pontuso, Barrus, Elliott Professor Emeritus of Government David Marion, retired Associate Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs Warner Winborne ’88, the late Lt. Col. Rucker Snead ’81, along with Myers Associate Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs Celia Carroll Jones and Assistant Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs Richard Burke. Moreover, Dr. Eastby will dearly miss the Wilson Center and the colleagues he collaborated with, as well as the enriching interactions with students.

Paul Hemler, Professor of Mathematics & Computer Science

Paul Hemmler headshotDr. Hemler is retiring after 20 years of teaching at Hampden-Sydney College. Dr. Hemler came to Hampden-Sydney in 2004 from Wake Forest University, where he served as an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science.

While at the College, Dr. Hemler has served as chair of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department, founding faculty advisor for the Computer Science Club, chair for the Appeals and Student Affairs committees, and a member of various committees such as Academic Affairs, Professional Development, Assessment, Honors Council, and Faculty Affairs.

Dr. Hemler possesses a passion for computer graphics and the underlying science of computer games, appreciating their value as teaching tools because they encompass numerous computer science topics within the curriculum. His diverse research interests span high-performance and scientific computing, visualization, image processing and analysis, app development, and the Internet of Things. With years of experience in medical image processing, Dr. Hemler has specialized in extracting information from two- and three-dimensional medical images to assist surgeons and radiologists. Additionally, he has collaborated with the National Institute of Health.

Engaging with students, instructing them, and mentoring them to navigate complex problems and projects has brought Dr. Hemler great satisfaction over the years. Hampden-Sydney's focus on the personal connection between students and faculty has resonated with his teaching approach, enabling him to excel as a professor. Dr. Hemler will fondly remember the thrill of connecting with students and witnessing their exhilaration when they conquer difficult concepts, which has filled him with immense happiness. His legacy will carry on through the dedication and spirit of his colleagues and students.