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By Air, Sea, and Land

Submitted by Tina M Swenson on October 26, 2017 - 4:16pm
Photo of Ann-Charlotte (Lotta) Gavel Adams
Ann-Charlotte (Lotta) Gavel Adams, Professor Emerita and Barbro Osher Chair Emerita of Swedish Studies
Photo of Terje Leiren
Terje Leiren, Professor Emeritus

Forget whatever you think you know about retirement: Our emeriti faculty bring the same zing and passion to life after the UW, as they did to their students, colleagues and research. UW faculty have the right to continue to teach at forty percent (two courses annually), after retiring. Many of our faculty have taken the 40% option. But they are also travelling, lecturing, writing, publishing, and farming… We asked our emeriti faculty, “What are you excited about in 2017-18?”

Ann-Charlotte (Lotta) Gavel Adams

It was a difficult decision to retire.  My students were stimulating and my courses were fun to teach.  But there were also so many things I did not have time for while working fulltime, like spending more time with my granddaughters, finalizing publication projects on my desk -- and taking advantage of spur of the moment flights to Stockholm to attend particularly exciting theater productions.  Since my retirement at the end of December 2016, I have taught one large enrollment course, part of the 40% rehire I signed up for, served as lecturer on a Smithsonian Journey to Denmark and Norway, finalized a translation of Strindberg’s Occult Diary - and I have spent lots of time with my two lively and fun granddaughters.  I seem to have my cake and eat it too.  Life is good.

Terje Leiren

My plans for the coming year include getting used to being retired and continuing a couple of my research projects. I look forward to the 40 percent re-hire option to return to the classroom and teach a course on the Vikings in Winter Quarter.  Otherwise, I must say that I am excited about continuing to be able to lecture on tours of Scandinavia with Hurtigruten, the Norwegian coastal cruise company, and the Smithsonian Institution. It's almost like being in the classroom, but with travel benefits, enabling me to visit the places I talk about.

Henning Sehmsdorf

What a question, where to begin?

I am eighty now, and after fifty years — during half of which I also taught at the UW —  of growing biodynamic food for our family and the community on Lopez Island, Elizabeth and I are ready to place our work into younger hands by trading ownership of two five-acre parcels and a house on each, with two young families in exchange for labor on the farm for the next twelve years. The remaining 20 acres of the farm, our own house and all farm infrastructure will be gifted to the Lopez Community Land Trust once we die. So that’s pretty exciting, don’t you think?

This season, we’re still going strong, running a CSA supplying our customers with beef, pork, lamb, cheese, bread, eggs, vegetables and fruit, all grown and processed here on the farm. We are also teaching eco-agriculture to student groups from various colleges in the area who come here for workshops.

Next year, however, we will take a sentimental journey to see my remaining brothers and sisters, and friends, in Germany, Austria and Norway. Most of them we haven’t seen in a decade and this will probably be our last trip across the ocean. To limit the trip’s carbon footprint, we have bought a Tesla to drive to New York City, from where we will sail on the Queen Mary to Southampton and Hamburg on August 3. We will be gone over three months.

We are also working on a couple of books, one an update of Real Food on the Farm first published on our website ( some ten years ago. The other book is a volume of essays describing our work on the farm over the years, including a presentation I gave at Harvard Divinity School last year,  “The Spirituality of the Soil: The Idea of Teleology from Aristotle to Rudolf Steiner” (

Elizabeth and I are both well and in good health.