Robert PeabodyProfessor Emeritus, Department of Biology
Believe it or not- there was once a time when biology professor Bob Peabody wasn't thinking about mushrooms.
Back in 1981, three years into his teaching career at Stonehill, his research efforts focused on salamanders. It wasn't until Peabody's wife, Diane, then a member of the Bridgewater State College faculty, needed help on a last-second presentation she was asked to make in Australia that he joined in on the project.
Since then, he has never stopped thinking about honey mushrooms and their unusual genetic variations. He has never stopped thinking about his students either. For the last 29 years, Peabody has had a tremendous influence on a long and growing list of Stonehill science majors, all of whom have benefited from his mentorship.
Peabody began what will be his final year of teaching on a high note when he received the Hegarty Award for Excellence in Teaching at the 13th annual Academic Convocation at the end of August. "When you go into teaching and you've been doing it for a while, it's really nice to know that there are students and fellow teachers that think you are doing a good job and succeeding. It is a really great feeling," said Peabody.
Peabody believes one of the best things about conducting research at the College is the fact he has been able to quietly go about it without an enormous amount of pressure.
"Stonehill provides a very good balance between conducting research and teaching," said Peabody, who remembers Fr. Robert Kruse, C.S.C., who was the Academic Dean of Stonehill from 1978-1987, buying the Peabodys a special piece of equipment they needed for their research when they themselves couldn't afford to buy it. "He was always very encouraging and supportive when it came to doing research," notes Peabody.
The opening of the new Science Center will make conducting research much more feasible according to Peabody, not only for teachers but students as well. "More and more students are coming to us wanting to participate in the SURE program and do their own research but with our space constraints it has been difficult to support these growing numbers," said Peabody.