The Columns

Five Members of W&L’s Faculty to Retire After Teaching a Total of 193 Years

— by on June 1st, 2009

Five members of Washington and Lee’s faculty are retiring June 30 after teaching at W&L for a total of 193 years. They are Philip L. Cline, business administration and economics, 34 years; A.G. Fralin Jr., Romance languages, 34 years; John S. Knox, biology, 33 years; Joseph F. Lyles, physical education, 50 years; and Thomas O. Vinson, mathematics, 42 years.

Phil Cline, the Lewis Whitaker Adams Professor in Economics and Business Administration, joined the faculty in 1975 after receiving his B.A. from W&L and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University.

A Fulbright senior scholar at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, Cline also received the Commonwealth of Virginia “Outstanding Faculty Award.” He has been the recipient of grants from the United Nations, the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the W&L Class 1965 Endowment for Excellence in Teaching, among others.

Cline taught statistics, quantitative models, business in a changing world, economics and management information systems at W&L. He was formerly a research associate and economics instructor at Oklahoma State University. He also worked as an associate systems engineer and marketing representative with IBM.

A.G. Fralin, who received his B.A. from Randolph-Macon College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, taught French, Spanish and Italian in the Romance language department. He was assistant professor of French and Spanish at VMI for three years before joining W&L’s faculty in 1975.

He also taught at the James Madison University’s summer program in Paris from 2005-2009, and was a consultant-lecturer in French and English for Doctoral Studies in Civilizations and Literatures of the Americas at the French University of the Antilles and Guyane in Martinique (UAG) from 2004-2008.

Fralin is the author (with his wife as co-author) of six books including an annotated edition of Simone Schwarz-Bart’s Pluie et vent sur Telemee, three French textbooks, two French workbooks and 18 articles. A book and two articles are forthcoming.

John Knox, professor of biology, joined the W&L faculty in 1976 after earning his A.B. at Drew University, his M.S. at the University of Maryland and his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech. In addition to fundamentals of biology, he taught field biogeography, plant diversity, biological diversity, evolution and A Biologists View of Creationism.

His research in collaboration with his colleagues and students provided the scientific basis for recognizing the plant Helenium virginicum as a valid species, and later for the U.S. Congress to list Helenium virginicum as a “threatened species” protected by the Endangered Species Act. His work has been important in helping to formulate a federal “recovery plan” for this species. He continues to collaborate with W&L colleagues to gather genetic data that should help in conservation management of Helenium virginicum and in understanding the plant’s evolutionary history.

Knox has authored and co-authored nine research articles published in peer reviewed literature. He has led 11 spring term class field trips to the desert Southwest and seven to Central and South America. Knox served on W&L’s Faculty Executive Committee, the Student Faculty Hearing Board, Faculty Review Committee and the Shepherd Program, among others.

Joe Lyles, who is retiring from W&L after 50 years in the department of physical education, played professional baseball with the St. Louis Browns for five years and basketball with the St. Louis Bombers for four years before joining W&L. He received his B.S. and M.S. from Springfield College.

Lyles was head baseball coach from 1959 to 1978 and head soccer coach from 1959 to 1976. He also was assistant varsity basketball coach from 1959 to 1969 and chairman of the Penn and South Region, the conference before the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC). He retires as associate professor of physical education, having taught every required physical education class in the P.E. curriculum while at W&L.

Lyles served on National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) committees for baseball including national chairman of the newly formed Division III for five years after its formation, national chairman of Division III All-American selection committee and member of the Divisions I, II and III National Baseball Rules committee. He was also on NCAA committees for Divisions II and III for soccer.

Tom Vinson, professor of mathematics, received his B.A. from Emory University and his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech, both in math, and an M.S. in statistics. He joined the W&L faculty in 1967. He taught statistics, topology and calculus, and his fields of specialization were general topology, statistical inference and probability.

Vinson is co-author of Elementary Linear Algebra (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich) with retired faculty member Robert S. Johnson. He also co-authored Inverse Limits and Absolutes of H-Closed Spaces, published in the Proceedings of the American Mathematics Society.

Vinson served on various W&L committees including acting chairman of the Fringe Benefits Committee.