Karen B. Kwitter

Forty years may be a blip in astronomical time, but it is a resplendent stretch for a career. Over that span you have repeatedly wowed students with the power, complexity, and beauty of the universe. Many of them you engaged in observations—those in remote locations and those managed remotely from here in Williamstown. Some of the latter even included substantial time on the Hubble Space Telescope. Many of those students have continued in astronomy, including those inspired by your example as an early woman in the field. You have chaired the department, directed the Hopkins Observatory, and helped develop the Keck Consortium that coordinates astronomical teaching and student research at eight northeastern liberal arts colleges. You have generously shared your interests with local residents and on public radio, and your four books include volumes of hands-on science for middle-to-high schoolers. Your own research has advanced our understanding of the chemical history of galaxies, how the conditions of life came to exist, and how the dust of long ago stars has come to constitute our very bodies. Many of your research methods have been adopted by colleagues for their own studies of the sky. All of this is heady stuff, though perhaps none more so than finding your soul mate at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

I hereby declare you Ebenezer Fitch Professor of Astronomy, Emerita, entitled to all the rights, honors, and privileges appertaining thereto.

June 2, 2019