Barry McNamara  |   Published June 10, 2021

Hatch Award for Service

Biology professor Tim Tibbetts ‘heralded’ for faculty leadership, Pipe Band involvement, work at LeSuer Nature Preserve.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – A recent award nomination letter for a Monmouth College professor used the word “unheralded,” and it was, at the time, a fitting description.

TIM TIBBETTS: Biology professor and director of the Pipe Band honored for his service to Monmouth... TIM TIBBETTS: Biology professor and director of the Pipe Band honored for his service to Monmouth College.But now, the faculty member responsible for the College’s well-used LeSuer Nature Preserve, for its iconic Pipe Band, and for helping to create an atmosphere of collegiality through his committee work and other tasks has indeed been heralded – biology professor Tim Tibbetts has received the College’s Hatch Award for Distinguished Service.

“Among Tim’s many notable services to the College, beyond being an excellent professor and trusted colleague, I will focus on four,” wrote the nominator, who began with Tibbetts’ many years as chair of the biology department and his service on the College’s Faculty Senate, including multiple years as its chair.

“As in all of his interactions, he is professional, affable, unflappable and uses an appropriate level of humor to ease tensions and promote the common good,” wrote the nominator of Tibbetts’ Senate service. “He doesn’t seek the limelight or always have to be the one to talk. He listens and only speaks when it adds something to the conversation – usually something others have missed.”

“Pretty much everyone on our faculty deserves this award at some point. Almost everyone goes above and beyond here. It’s what helps the College keep moving forward.” Tim Tibbetts

“Pretty much everyone on our faculty deserves this award at some point,” he said. “Almost everyone goes above and beyond here. It’s what helps the College keep moving forward.”

For the past 20 years, Pipe Band members have come and gone, but the constant has been Tibbetts, who had learned to play the bagpipes prior to coming to arriving at Monmouth in 2001 and teaches others in his role as director. In addition to leading the Pipe Band at campus events such as halftime of football games, Tibbetts regularly drives the pipers across many states to national competitions.

‘Herculean’ work in nature

“Fourth, and perhaps most unheralded, Tim does enormous, uncompensated service at LeSuer Nature Preserve, of which most people are likely completely unaware,” wrote the nominator. “For 20 years, he has overseen the continuous care and restoration of LeSuer. … The brush piles, the wood chips and the plastic mesh protecting saplings are just a few of the visible indicators of Tim’s Herculean work on the site, work that benefits both the College and the community.”

Originally, Tibbetts tried to satisfy his tree-planting urge on the home front, but he was overruled.

“So I realized that if I was going to keep up with my proclivity for planting trees and changing the landscape, I was going to have to do it at LeSuer,” said Tibbetts. “And then, through the idea of a former student, I’ve gotten students involved at LeSuer, as well. If it’s one person against nature, nature wins that every time. But when you have a crew, you can make progress.”

“I try to get students involved and show them that life’s more than just punching the clock.” Tim Tibbetts

And you can also teach valuable lessons.

“I try to get students involved and show them that life’s more than just punching the clock,” said Tibbetts.

Being able to work with students outside the classroom is at the center of Tibbetts’ service to the College.

“Pretty much all the extra things I do involve students,” he said. “I do these things because I enjoy them, and also because I enjoy getting to know students beyond the classroom in different venues and in different contexts, whether it’s doing actual physical labor or learning music. That’s Monmouth College’s strength – the faculty making connections with students. Hopefully, down the road, those eventually turn into alumni connections.”

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