The ability to speak and write in a clear, organized, and effective way is a central part of the liberal arts education at Hamilton College. To help all Hamilton students strengthen their writing abilities, the College established the Nesbitt-Johnston Writing Center in 1987. The central focus of the Center's services for students is peer review, provided through the writing conference program.
The Writing Center is named in honor of George L. Nesbitt (1903-1985), Professor of English from 1930 to 1973, and Thomas McNaughton Johnston (1904-1986), Professor of English from 1934 to 1972. Demanding and inspiring teachers, they helped two generations of Hamilton students to write thoughtful, coherent, clear, and sometimes elegant prose. Professor Nesbitt, who chaired the Department of English from 1952 to 1968, was instrumental in establishing the English composition sequence; Professor Johnston, the principal author of Hamilton's Essentials of English Usage, was known for his own graceful style, which his best students aspired to emulate. Together they constructed the foundation for Hamilton's present reputation as an institution that teaches and values good writing.