Rebecca Corbin-Loree ’00 and Dr. Eugene Hamilton

Rebecca Corbin-Loree ’00 and Dr. Eugene Hamilton

When an English major gets an A in statistics, she gains skills to create an award-winning research consultancy.

Purpose Discovered.

Corbin-Loree & Hamilton

Rebecca Corbin-Loree ’00, Founder & CEO, Corbin Advisors 

Professor Emeritus of Mathematics Eugene Hamilton

Rebecca Corbin-Loree and Dr. Hamilton

It was fall 1997, Rebecca Corbin-Loree was a sophomore English major with a self-admitted “numbers and math complex” from her experience in high school. Having to make a decision between a language or math course, after much internal debate, Rebecca opted to take statistics. 

The Backstory

Rebecca: I come from a family of poets, authors, and English teachers and the writing focus at Washington College was very appealing. It was a deciding factor, in fact. But, to achieve my core curriculum requirements, I needed to take a language or math course. Having taken college-level Spanish prior to attending Washington College, I wasn’t inspired enough to carry on and so, while nervous, I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone. Dr. Hamilton’s statistics course changed my life. After receiving an A, but more importantly, deeply understanding the content taught, an entire world that had previously been closed to me based on my own pre-conceived notions suddenly opened – business. I remember speaking with my father on the phone. I was at the airport heading home and I was so excited to tell him that I was changing my major from English to Business. He was excited for me and proud. I would not be the entrepreneur I am today if it wasn’t for Dr. Hamilton’s way of teaching. That single event put me on a different trajectory in life.

Washington College is a very special place and one of its biggest attributes is its professors. They care deeply about your well-being and success. They’re committed to ushering you through the four years, challenging you to think, grow, and be a citizen leader while making you feel comforted and safe. They provide so many opportunities and encouragement to get involved and excel.

Today, I run a leading research and advisory firm that specializes in shareholder value creation. I founded it over 15 years ago and it’s the perfect combination of two of my passions – data analytics and writing. Statistics paved the way for me and Dr. Hamilton, though he didn’t know it then, was instrumental in my journey to where I am today. Thanks, Dr. Hamilton, for being a catalyst – I’ll never forget your statistics class and what it did for me as a young, impressionable person trying to find her way in a very big and complex world.

Dr. Hamilton: Becca (she wasn’t “Rebecca” back then) was an excellent student. I’m retired now, but I taught that statistics class 85 times over a 40-year career and I remember well that she earned an “A.”  

It’s not unusual for students to feel some trepidation about math. Lots of students don’t think they’re any good at math. Even Einstein would say he struggled. It’s not easy but you can master it if, like Becca, you put in the time. I call the process of figuring out a problem making it “locally trivial,” meaning, one needs to simplify the complexity by breaking it down into simple steps. It requires patience and effort, and Becca had both in abundance. I could see she had brilliance for a subject she could not see in herself. 

I always say the second most important thing about teaching math is to make it really clear, and the most important thing is to make it interesting. No matter how well you explain it, you can’t understand it just by listening. You need to work it, make it your own. That’s what an “A” student does.  

I made it a point to make myself available to my students. I would hang out at the snack bar, ready to help problem solve.  I’m terribly flattered to know I played such a meaningful role in Becca’s career success. 

As part of its 40th anniversary, the Business Management Dept. is proud to feature the stories of star alumni and the professors who inspired them. The year-long celebration will culminate in a Fall gala.