Dear Marietta College community,

It is with great sadness that I share with you that Dr. G. Whitmore (Whit) Hancock, Professor Emeritus of Physics, passed away yesterday (Wednesday, July 14, 2021) after a lengthy illness. Our hearts go out to his wife and our dear colleague, Dr. Carole Hancock, Professor Emerita of Education, as well as to the rest of his family and friends.

Whit began his teaching career at Marietta College in 1968, serving as an Instructor of Physics as he pursued his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Virginia, where he also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Physics in 1963. His earliest course load at Marietta College included General Physics, a General Physics lab and Modern Physics, which covered 20th century discoveries. He earned the rank of full Professor in April 1990, and served as Chair of the Physics Department during his tenure.

Outside of teaching, some of his major accomplishments at Marietta were: helping create the Environmental Science Program; serving on the original three-member faculty committee that initiated the development of the McDonough Leadership Program; being a charter member of the committee that developed the Master of Arts in Liberal Learning program; and being a charter member of both the Exxon Grant Committee and the Assessment Committee.

After 33 years of truly dedicated service to Marietta College, he retired from full-time teaching. As a testament to how his peers felt about him, Faculty Council unanimously granted him Emeritus status immediately effective upon his retirement. Whit showed that his passion for teaching could never truly be retired, as he continued to help foster young minds during special science camps and helped within the Physics Department when needed. His impact to the Science Department at Marietta College and the students who learned from him cannot be measured.

As most of you know, one of his former students, David Rickey ’78, honored Whit and his fellow Professor Emeritus of Physics Dr. Les Anderson by donating funds that would be used to build the Anderson Hancock Planetarium; endow a professorship; and establish an endowment for the building. The building was named after Rickey’s former professors.

Whit worked hard to ensure the College found the funding and donors to obtain the Phi Beta Kappa clock in time for the campus to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the charter’s founding. I know he was proud of the prominent role it has played in our promotional efforts and that is has become a popular place for students and alumni to take photos.

Marietta College is a better place because of Whit Hancock, and it is an honor to be able to share a common thread with a man of his caliber.

Arrangements for a service are still being planned, and we will share that information with campus as soon as it becomes available. There are also plans for an on-campus celebration later this month.


Bill Ruud
President and Professor of Management