Column: “O Captain! My Captain!”

The Campus staff bids farewell to adviser of four years


Cheryl Hatch has served as The Campus newspaper adviser for four years, and announced her resignation from Allegheny College on July 20, 2016. Her official last day as The Campus’ adviser is August 14, 2016. This column contains farewell letters from various members of The Campus staff. 

Angela Mauroni (Editor-in-Chief)

Cheryl Hatch notified The Campus staff that she was resigning from her position at Allegheny College as a visiting professor on July 20, 2016, and we are devastated. Allegheny is watching the departure of an invaluable asset not only to the journalism in the public interest program at our college, but an asset to the students that walk the campus every day, the students who come to Allegheny to learn the priceless skills they will need to function in everyday life.

For those that never had the honor of meeting Cheryl, she is a talented professional in the journalism field. She covered subjects ranging from war to the Ebola outbreak. One of her photographs from her coverage of the Ebola outbreak was exhibited at the Women in Photojournalism Conference in Denver. She never quit writing, continuing to write columns for the Meadville Tribune to keep herself in practice. Just in the past year, she has also won second place for column writing in the Professional Keystone Press Awards and third place in column writing in the Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association.

Cheryl instilled in her students and advisees passion, dedication, self-worth and integrity. She led by example with fervor and sincerity, convincing students to meet potential they never imagined they possessed. Her guidance is what has brought The Campus from a paper that struggled to fill space to one that is consistently printing hard news, and sometimes has too much content to fit in the print version of the paper. She demonstrated professionalism and friendship in her interactions with staff members, and went above and beyond like no other professor or adviser I have ever seen.

After I covered the news of the Oct. 29, 2015 car accident on North Main Street that claimed former student Hannah Morris’ life, Cheryl took me out to dinner with an alumnae to debrief, supporting me again as a professional and as a friend in a way that no one outside of the situation could understand I needed. She introduces us to professionals in the field for future opportunities, connecting us with them for lessons in progressing as journalists and tips on staying safe in potentially harmful situations. When she learned staff members who were low on their meal plans sometimes skipped dinner on Thursdays because of the time commitment laying out the paper took, she brought food for the staff to make sure that did not happen.

I have come to respect and trust Cheryl’s guidance and wisdom over the three years I have had the honor of working with her. My gratitude for her time and my sadness at her departure are simply inexpressible.

Cheryl leads by example professionally, but the lessons she has taught us that will benefit us for the rest of our lives cannot be forgotten, cannot be overstated, and I cannot be more appreciative to her. To me Cheryl will always be a friend, a teacher, a professional and someone I truly admire. My heart breaks at her departure, and I hope that wherever she goes she finds the utmost happiness. I know she will continue to find success, because that is who Cheryl is.

Eylie Buehler (Editor-in-Chief)

I transferred to Allegheny College my sophomore year. I came from a school where I did not feel included and felt that relationships and friendships there were artificial. When I came to Allegheny, I wanted to experience a college career with personal, professional and genuine relationships with fellow students, professors, advisors and even administrative heads. I have found that through writing for and working on The Campus newspaper these hopes and expectations came to fruition.

I met Cheryl Hatch in Journalism 100 on my first day of my first semester at Allegheny. I was nervous and felt out of place as a sophomore at an unknown school. I remember Cheryl being extremely humble about her accomplishments in her career but absolutely raving about the students and the work that the newspaper fostered.

In her journalism class we were obligated to attend The Campus’ writers meetings and we could take stories for extra credit. The first couple of meetings I slummed in my seat and hoped no one would notice me, but by week three, with Cheryl’s encouragement, I was raising my hand to take stories. By the next semester I was on staff as a junior editor, and half way through that semester I had my very own page to design and had been promoted to a page editor. Now my co-editor-in-chief and I are leading the news team and we will be doing so without one of our most important and influential players.

As I worked with my fellow staff members and with Cheryl over the past two years, I realized that this is what the Allegheny experience is all about. Cheryl made the newsroom a home rather than a workspace.  She made sure that our staff was not just a group of students, but rather a family. She would welcome us into her home and plan endless cookouts and get-togethers for staff bonding, and would talk to us about everything from social life on campus to the classes we were struggling in. She was not just our newspaper adviser, she was our Campus mom.

When we got the news of Cheryl’s departure as The Campus advisor, I spent over a week trying to figure it out how the newspaper will run, under my co-editor-in-chief and I, just as well as it did when Cheryl was there to encourage and teach us along the way. I thought about all the advice Cheryl had ever given me, all of the times she taught me to stand up for myself and talked me down on layout night when I thought I was too stressed to go on.

When I finally came to terms with the fact that Cheryl would not be greeting us with a plate full of warm, homemade chocolate chip cookies come fall, I started to plan. I wrote down all of the things Cheryl said we could and could not do with layout and made a note of how to write a headline that was unique and not cliché, but I ended up throwing all that stuff away because with Cheryl, the thing she always did that made us want to improve, work together and become stronger writers and journalists was simply having our back.

Cheryl stood by every decision we ever made whether she would have done it herself or not. She held the paper to the standard one would be held to at a professional newspaper, as though we were writing a breaking headline. Cheryl made us feel like our work meant something and that even if students on campus were not reading every weekly issue, we could take pride in the fact that we knew our work was at a professional level.

I hope that I can hold the staff to the same standard Cheryl did and make the newsroom as warm an environment as she did. As an editor-in-chief next year I am determined to keep her spirit in the newsroom. I will be reiterating all of the advice she ever gave me, that is for sure, and I will be missing her at every staff meeting and layout night.

Cheryl made my college experience thus far one I will always cherish and remember. I will always be inspired by her work and her love of journalism. I will never lose my fire for journalism as long as Cheryl is supporting us because I know even if she isn’t standing behind me to make sure my layout makes sense, she will be reading every issue we put out next year.  We are your staff always Cheryl and we will miss you dearly.

Marley Parish (Features Editor)

Allegheny College suffers a loss with the resignation of Cheryl Hatch, an accomplished journalist, a dedicated professor and a selfless human being.

When I walked into Professor Hatch’s classroom as a nervous freshman, I had no idea how big of an impact she was going to have on my life. She was the first professor to learn my name, ask about my personal background and genuinely care about not only my education but my overall well-being. Every minute spent in her classroom was full of life, learning and real world experience.

Professor Hatch encouraged and sometimes forced me to venture outside of my comfort zone and discover a passion for news writing. She inspired me to join The Campus staff where I was introduced to incredible and inspiring individuals. Because of her, I found my voice and a second home at Allegheny. Cheryl took an inexperienced and afraid student and helped mold me into a student journalist who is no longer afraid to try new things.

Cheryl made the newsroom feel like home, always filling it with snacks, coffee and advice. She held The Campus staff to a higher standard and continually motivated us to strive to be better journalists and better people. The lessons she instilled in us will live on in the newsroom and through the paper itself.

Cheryl encouraged me to believe any ideas could be accomplished, even the most daring. In just a year, she has inspired me to aim high, be confident and never be afraid to make mistakes. Most importantly in that time, I realized that the person I most wanted to be like was her, a thoughtful, fierce and inspiring person.

I am truly thankful to have been her student, but I will forever be her friend. Wherever she goes she will continue to touch lives and hearts. Words cannot even begin to describe how much she will be missed.

Joseph Tingley (News Editor)

Whether they realize it or not, the departure of Cheryl Hatch is one that will be felt by everyone at Allegheny, though it will hit the staff of The Campus the hardest.  

Professor Hatch has done so much for every single one of us. She has offered advice, support and knowledge for four years, and has always gone above and beyond as our faculty adviser.

At the same time, she has reminded us time and time again that this is our newspaper and it is not her place to make the decisions for us. Instead, she has said it is her job to support and help us when we need it.

Sometimes this was offering advice on layout, stories or writing choices and others it was simply being there, even if that was just by bringing food for us on layout night when we were stressed about school and out of Munch Money.  

In her four years as the newspaper’s adviser, she has changed the paper for the better in so many ways. Thanks to her, when we visit other colleges and see the newspapers there, we often cringe because Professor Hatch has set the bar so high for us.

Professor Hatch has also gone to bat for the staff of The Campus on numerous occasions and I suspect more times then we are aware of. Whether it was dealing with student opposition to a story or the inevitable friction between administration and student press, she has always been there.

When one of my stories came under scrutiny from administrators for divulging information that the source had not been at liberty to discuss, Professor Hatch was the one who told me, the terrified freshman staff writer, that I had done nothing wrong.

Professor Hatch has given me the skills to be a journalist. I am by no means done with my education, and I am greatly saddened that I will not be able to complete my time at Allegheny with her. However, in the spirit of Professor Hatch, I will look on the brightside and see how lucky I have been to have her for two years.

We at The Campus will miss her, but we will never forget the lessons she has taught us. Professor Hatch will always be a part of our newsroom and if she ever comes to visit us—which we hope she will—we will welcome her with open arms, ready to discuss the latest happenings of the newsroom.

In the film Dead Poets Society, a renegade teacher teaches a group of students to look at the world in different ways, think for themselves and aspire to reach something higher.

Without overstating it, Professor Hatch has a done much the same thing for us. Anyone who has seen the film knows there is only one way for this to end. Today, The Campus staff is on its desks and we have but this to say to our beloved adviser.

“O Captain! My Captain!”

Brittany Adams (Junior Photo Editor)

When I first heard that Cheryl Hatch would be resigning from Allegheny College, I was with my mother. The news hit us both hard. We were left confused and saddened. I think what struck me the hardest was that not only is my professor leaving that I have had for three of the four semesters I have been at Allegheny, but my mentor and my friend is departing what I now consider home. She wasn’t just a professor who I went through the motions with, she was someone who went beyond the limits and taught off-the-clock lessons I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Being an aspiring photojournalist, she was one of the few people I had ever met who had lived my dream job. She helped cultivate my creative edge and pushed my photos to be better. She showed up to sporting events I was taking photos at and would let me borrow her equipment, staying right next to me and helping me set up my shots. She helped me through some of my toughest assignments, which were memorials, and helped me to see how important our job is to carry on the stories of those individuals. More importantly she was always there to talk, to guide and to inspire.

Cheryl inspired us in her commitment to the paper, to her students and to her school. She taught with integrity, respect and accountability. She led by example of performing hard work by  organizing the annual journalism conferences.  

Cheryl opened my eyes to the entire world of professional photojournalism through those conferences. She brought in amazing individuals who helped to recognize the importance of what our duty as journalists are to our community. The conferences do not just teach lessons on how to carry out our work, but lessons on humanity and human decency.

I think that’s something that makes Cheryl so special. Cheryl taught her students how to be good people, how to be fair and honest in everything that we do. How often do you get a professor that will give you life lessons like these? Allegheny College is going to miss someone as unique, selfless and caring as Cheryl Hatch. I wish her luck in her future endeavors and I hope we make her proud while we live her legacy at the paper.

Shea Beaumont (Opinion Editor)

For my first three semesters at Allegheny, I honestly had no idea what I wanted to do with my education or what I wanted to focus my studies on. It wasn’t until the second semester of my sophomore year, when I stepped foot into one of Cheryl’s “real world” classes centered around the practice of journalism. After her class I finally discovered my niche at the college and for the future.

I always knew that I loved to write, but I never thought that I would want to do it for a living until I took one of Cheryl’s classes. Her classes represent a journalistic job in the real world with meeting deadlines, taking responsibility, showing respect and being able to adapt to the challenges you might face. It was almost as if “life lessons” were a part of her syllabus. I’ve learned so many life skills solely from the teachings of Cheryl Hatch that I will constantly use down the road in my life and never forget.

From the way Cheryl ran her classes, you would probably say that she treats her students like employees, but that is certainly not the case. In fact, Cheryl treated us like her friends, and not because she may have given us some incentive points as extra credit for getting bylines in the Meadville Tribune or The Campus, but because she valued her students above anyone else. She wanted the best for us, and she put each and every one of us in a position to succeed not only in the field of journalism, but in the overall field of life.

While serving as just a “visiting professor” at Allegheny College, I’d say she did a whole heck of a lot more for the campus, community, her students and the Journalism in the Public Interest program than a lot of full-time professors could ever think of. If it weren’t for Cheryl, the JPI program would not be recognized on campus and it surely wouldn’t be where it is today. Cheryl brought in countless professionals to speak about their experiences and give us journalistic advice, she organized multiple journalism conferences to display the skills of students and professionals from all around the area and lastly, she ultimately served as a role model and mentor to so many at Allegheny.

She expected the most out of us and always challenged us as young journalists, but it paid off in the long run. For example, going into my junior year, I wrote one article for The Campus and didn’t think anything of it. After the completion of my junior year, I wrote enough to become a staff writer, I wrote articles for the Meadville Tribune, landed an internship for the summer with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and this summer I became the opinion editor for The Campus. Without Cheryl staying on me and being my mentor throughout the last year, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish so much. Without her I would have never thought about taking on journalism as a career path. She helped me find my calling and she was the sole purpose for me having an interest in the field of journalism and the program at Allegheny.

The impact that she has made on my life and time at Allegheny has been great, and she has had the same effect on many other students as well. Cheryl Hatch has been one of the most influential people to ever come into my life and she has instilled an amount of motivation, determination and work ethic inside of me and has undoubtedly prepared me for my future. I wouldn’t be where I am in my life today if it weren’t for her, and I know I can always look to her for help down the road. I know for a fact that Cheryl and I will always stay in touch and remain close, and I also know that Allegheny will be losing a one-of-a-kind woman in the community.

Cheryl will never be forgotten at Allegheny, and I can promise you that she will never be replaced.