Ashland University Remembers Dr. Mark Hamilton

Katie Harrigan

Ashland University mourns the loss of Dr. Mark Hamilton, Associate Professor of Philosophy in his 39th year of teaching, who passed away on Dec. 27 at age 67.

The campus community reflects on his life as an educator, colleague and friend who left a lasting impact on many.

“Dr. Hamilton was a man who just seemed to be at peace with the world… if you were to talk to him and find out all the things that happened prior to this period in his life, you could tell he was so thankful to be alive,” Chair of the Department of Philosophy Dr. Louis Mancha said.

Mancha conveyed that Hamilton had a gift for connecting with students of all different backgrounds and interests. He knew how to establish trust with those he taught and share his love for the discipline.

“Hamilton wasn’t just teaching because he loved it,” Mancha said. “He really believed the work he did in the classroom was a mission and opportunity to reach others.”

Mancha said the AU Philosophy curriculum is heavily shaped upon Hamilton’s work and his contributions to the department have helped define AU as an educational institution founded upon Christian ideals.

Within that department, Hamilton found lifelong colleagues and friends.

“Professor Hamilton was a very friendly and amiable colleague,” Professor of Philosophy Dr. William Vaughan said. “He valued personal relationships and never allowed philosophical differences to interfere with cordiality in department matters. He really was the ethical model for collegiality in higher education.”

Vaughan expressed that Hamilton was very popular among students. In lectures, he was personable, engaging and made complex subjects more understandable through his story-telling style of teaching.

“He loved students and rarely said ‘no’ to any request. He was not in it for awards, and probably would have politely turned down any such recognition,” Vaughan said. “He preferred to leave his mark in the hearts of students.”

During his time at AU, Hamilton has inspired those who have entered his classroom.

AU senior and finance major Cameron Deal said Hamilton was an outgoing educator who was dedicated to helping his students succeed.

“Dr. Hamilton’s relationships with his students were like no other,” Deal said. “He cared to hear about every student’s story and offered his insight and help in any way that he could.”

Deal said Hamilton even helped him overcome a very difficult time in his life by offering guidance and advice when it was needed the most.

“That is just one of the many moments that proved Dr. Hamilton was a selfless and compassionate person. He took time out of his day to listen to my personal issues and offer words of encouragement,” Deal said. “I will never forget what he did for me.”

Hamilton dealt with many medical hardships throughout his life, but it never stopped him from doing what he loved. He remained committed to the Ashland Community until the very end.

“The death of Dr. Mark Hamilton has been hard on the AU community, but his legacy will always live on. I certainly aspire to have the outstanding character Dr. Hamilton had as I grow and mature as an adult,” Deal said. “I hope that I do well and make him proud.”

Hamilton is highly regarded by faculty and students as a man of kindness, faith and intellect. For many years, this cherished quote by Hamilton’s favorite author lived on his classroom door, encompassing his optimism even as he endured challenges in life.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” – C.S. Lewis