Resolution Honoring Ben Ford for His Service as Chair of the Faculty, Sonoma State University, 2011-2012

Whereas, Professor of Mathematics and Statistics Ben Ford inaugurated the second 50 years of SSU’s history by poetically reminding us that in academia, as in life, all is premiere without rehearsal, that complacency is impossible, and that all the unexpectedness that characterizes the life of our institution ultimately is the good news, and

Whereas, his deep belief in the innovative power and collective strength of simply talking to each other has created a new SSU institution of regular, open-forum “Conversations” amongst faculty, administrators, students and staff, and has won a widespread expectation that these continue, and

Whereas, he has challenged us to look forward rather than backward in this anniversary year, and to begin a broadly collaborative new “start-up effort” as we define what Sonoma State University will become over its next 50 years, and

Whereas, he worked tirelessly throughout his chairship year to foster the kinds of collaboration, innovation, and engagement that could produce tangible and sustainable results, and

Whereas, to accomplish these results, he has deftly yet subtly plied his trade in abstract algebra on a near-daily basis for over a year, parsing potentially divisible quasi-groups like the Academic Coordinating Team, while coaxing identity elements from nascent semi-groups like the Sustainability Work group, and above all modeling the kind of dynamic symmetry that institutions can achieve when they balance divisibility and associativity, and

Whereas, in the face of horrific system-wide budget cuts and daunting political challenges to the core purpose of public higher education, he has repeatedly elevated the public moment of faculty governance with his graceful, eloquent, and unfailingly on-target recitation of poetry designed to inspire and engage us all, and

Whereas, he has single-handedly ensured the historic preservation of the cultural artifact known as the “Root Beer Float” as an item on the University Club menu, and

Whereas, his ability to bring any given faculty governance meeting to early completion, regardless of agenda, (apparently employing a complex equation designed to simultaneously fold time and facilitate due process, first proposed in his 1998 publication, “Confusing Clocks”), is destined to become the stuff of SSU legend,

Therefore be it

Resolved: that the Academic Senate of Sonoma State University offers genuine and profound appreciation to Ben Ford for his gifted service as Faculty Chair for 2011-2012; and be it further

Resolved: that the members of the Academic Senate wish for him many continuing encounters with unexpectedness (albeit not necessarily while riding two-wheeled vehicles), and look forward to many more years of his poetic yet pragmatic engagement with the broader SSU community.

Unanimously approved by the Senate