Teaching excellence

With gratitude, the Academy says goodbye to two instructors retiring with the distinction of emeriti.

July 26, 2023

Two instructors with more than a half-century of combined service to Exeter and its community retired at the end of the academic year.

Alison Hobbie
Harlan M. Ellis Distinguished Professor, Vira I. Heinz Professor and Instructor in science

Hobbie, who earned her B.A. in both chemistry and women’s studies at Wellesley College and completed her M.S. in environmental science at the University of Virginia, joined the Exeter faculty in 2001. During her tenure, she contributed positively to all aspects of student life.

She coached volleyball and crew, served as a dorm head in Langdell Hall, participated on the Curriculum Committee, the Agenda Committee, the Health and Wellness Council, and as chair in the Department of Science. She also served as adviser to the Class of 2015, the Women in Science  and Engineering Club, the Chemistry Club, the Genetic Journal Club, the Science Olympiad Association and Exeter Investigation Society.

Hobbie has received numerous teaching awards, including the Brown Family Faculty Award; the Alfred H. Hayes, Class of 1925, and Jean M. Hayes Teaching Chair in Science; the Harlan M. Ellis Distinguished Professor; and the Vira I. Heinz Professorship. Hobbie was recognized by Stanford University for exceptional teaching, and in 2011, 2015 and 2021 she was named as “most influential teacher” by former students attending MIT.

Science Instructor Sydnee Goddard shared her appreciation of Hobbie in the 2023 PEAN: “Self-effacing, positive, articulate, compassionate, gracious, giving, hard-working, organized, open-minded, bright and curious are some of the words that epitomize Mrs. Hobbie. These traits have made her an effective Harkness instructor, community leader and lifelong learner. … She sees her life’s work as a ‘service’ to others.”

Honoring Hobbie during faculty meeting, Dean of Faculty Eimer Page said: “Alison, you have worked over the course of your career to inspire, encourage and guide the students in your care, and in so doing you have inspired, encouraged and guided those colleagues who were fortunate enough to work alongside you. We are deeply grateful for all that you have given to Exeter, and we are glad to have known you as our colleague and friend.”


Rob Morris
Health Education Instructor

Morris received a B.S. in health education from Springfield College and joined the Academy’s young and growing Health Education Department in 1992, helping shape its development during his career. Having completed a postgraduate year at Tilton Academy, Morris was deeply invested in the concept of residential education, and it is no surprise that his influence was felt beyond the athletic fields and across the academic, residential, club and committee areas of the school. During his tenure he was honored with the Brown Award and a Radford Award.

Morris and his family first lived in Webster Hall, where Morris served as the dorm head of Webster North. He later served as dorm head in Wentworth from 1999 to 2006 and as a dorm affiliate in Moulton House from 2009 to 2023. He was a steady presence in the lives of the students, and their trust in him in the dormitory spaces extended to his work developing the Academy Student Assistance Program.

During his nine-year tenure as athletic director, Morris worked tirelessly to help coaches develop through a combi-nation of positive feedback and professional development. His commitment to teaching the game and to the development of each player was foundational to his approach as both the junior varsity and varsity head football coach. He was also a vital member of the principal’s staff, the Catholic Exonians, the Health and Wellness Council, the Orientation Program Committee and the Athletic Policy Committee, among other groups.

Morris’ leadership among his colleagues and advising relationships with students are testimonies to his emphasis on character education, developing strong and supportive teams, and doing the work that needs to be done without fanfare. One colleague shared: “Rob has been the moral compass of the department, extremely dependable and could be counted on to tell you how he truly feels. … Rob kept the students’ best interest in mind when designing courses and updating curriculum; he was and always will be care before content — Maslow before Bloom.”  

This story was first published in the Summer 2023 issue of The Exeter Bulletin.