Alan Childs retires after 37 years of ‘great adventure’

Hannah Doherty

For psychology professor Alan Childs, his almost four decades at the college may have gone by fast, but many say the impact he left on the college is far-reaching and long-lasting.

On Wednesday, a reception was held by his fellow faculty, administrators and students to celebrate Childs’ career, which spanned many parts of the college.

“I am just so touched and humbled by the fact that they cared about me enough to put this together and that all of these people are here,” Childs said at the reception.

“The years have gone by so fast,” he said. “It has been a great adventure, and I am a lucky and blessed man to have been a part of it.”

According to Childs, his “greatest achievement” has been getting involved with different parts of the college. During his time here, he has been a professor, administrator, the faculty advisor for the men’s basketball team, founding director of the Center for the Integration of Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship and creator and teacher of the summer abroad trips in London on healthcare.

He is also a three-time recipient of the college’s Student Government Superior Teaching award and winner of the Marquis Distinguished Teaching Award in 2003.

At the reception, fellow colleagues spoke of their time with Childs and his influence at the college.

“We are going to miss him. He has been an exceptional scholar, mentor and friend,” said psychology department head John Shaw in his emotional speech to the crowd.

Shaw also spoke of Childs’ commitment to the college and its’ students, even to students he will never teach.

“Ten days ago Experience Lafayette occurred, which is the biggest yield event to get admitted students to come to Lafayette. He’s never going to teach these students, but, on a Sunday, Alan was here showing these students and their parents what Lafayette College is all about,” Shaw said, “But I think that shows what Alan Childs is all about.”

When it comes to what Childs is going to do after the school year ends, he is still not sure, but knows he wants to remain a part of Lafayette.

“I really don’t have any official plans after this. I will enjoy my life and family. I am looking forward to spending more time with my grandkids,” he said. “I definitely want to stay connected with the college emotionally, if not any other way. I’m sure I will still be on campus for concerts and lectures and to see my beloved basketball team.”

Childs has been the faculty advisor for the basketball team since 1990. The coaches were all at the event to support him.

“He is an impressive man and genuine in his approach to helping the players and us coaches. He has been like a second father to us,” said assistant men’s basketball Coach Jimmy Fenerty.

Not only do Lafayette faculty members love him, but so do his students.

“However old he is, he is 18 or 19 at heart…You learn the most from your friends and he was one of my close friends on that trip. We did a lot and I learned a lot,” said Sam Komrower ‘17 as he remembered his experience with Childs during his summer interim trip to London in 2015.

Childs was especially appreciative of his department, and spoke of his experiences working with his colleagues.

“[My colleagues] have inspired and tolerated me, they have forgiven my mistakes and encouraged me in my successes,” Childs said. 

According to Childs, however, his happiest memories have been “the times I have been in a classroom when everything is clicking and the students are having a good time and I am having a good time and we accomplish something special together.”

While Childs may be retiring as a professor, he will not be able to simply leave teaching behind.

“I am a professor not because it is what I do but because it is who I am,” he said.