Jim Maas, a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow and professor of psychology, has written the following open letter to the Cornell community:
You might have heard that, at long last, I have decided to retire. I have been on the faculty at Cornell for 48 years and have had the pleasure of teaching Psych 101 (now 1101) to over 65,000 Cornellians. I have never skipped a fall semester of Introductory Psychology and only once in all those years did I have to cancel a class (laryngitis got the best of me). I have enjoyed every minute of teaching and working closely with an incredible group of students, advisees, course tutors, scholar athletes and alumni. Among my most cherished highpoints were being the recipient of the Arts College Clark Award for Distinguished Teaching, the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Educator Award, and four times in recent years, being recognized as the faculty member who most significantly contributed to the college experience of a Merrill Presidential Scholar (chosen from the top 1 % of the senior class in each college.) As far as alumni relations, I have been invited to speak at over 250 Cornell Alumni Club events and have treasured my long-term personal interactions and continued correspondence with thousands of former students over nearly five decades.
I will be 74 years old next summer. I was due to take a sabbatical leave this spring, and then would have to return to teach for the entire 2012-2013 academic year. My dear wife Nancy has been wanting to pursue her burgeoning art career near a big city, and in a warmer winter climate. She has been patiently devoted to supporting my interests for all 32 years of our marriage, and it's now time for me to focus solely on her needs and well-being. I have been discussing retirement plans with my department chairs and Arts and Sciences Deans for several years. This is not a decision I have taken lightly. I will dearly miss Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 10:10am in Bailey Hall, and so many other things that have occupied me at the university. After a great deal of thought and months of conversation, Nancy and I have decided that December 31st is a very logical and opportune time to begin my long overdue retirement. We plan to spend this winter in various locales, with the purpose of deciding where to move to pursue Nancy's work, shared hobbies, travel ventures, and other long neglected interests.
Keep in touch if you are so inclined (firstname.lastname@example.org). You have my deep gratitude and admiration. You have given me 48 wonderful years.