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Anchor Housing Round Up

Here is a listing of all the major posts related to anchor housing, with updates as needed.

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IT Tremor

The college’s IT infrastructure took an uncertainty hit this week with the announcement that SunGard Data Systems was being purchased for $11.3 billion. A SunGard division, SunGard BSR, supplies the systems that the college uses to track alumni giving and power the alumni directory on Ephnet. This is the second IT uncertainty tremor to hit the college within the past several months. In December, Oracle completed its takover of PeopleSoft, the company that sells the software Williams uses to run the college (Admissions, class registration, financials, HR, etc.)

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Connors ’85 Finishes Isreali Jail Stint

Patrick Connors, a.k.a. Patrick O’Connor, visited the Greenwich Citizen offices Saturday and told how it feels to be out of an Israeli jail where he had been detained for three weeks and one day.

I believe that this story is about Patrick Connors ’85. Wild stuff. Would make for an interesting Record article or Gaudino Forum event.

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HTML tutorial

Over Winter Study I taught a course on HTML. For all of you who wonder how Dave gets his quoted paragraphs offset and turned yellow, or how he links to other pages, or how Aidan makes people’s names bold, or how I post pictures — or if (gasp) you want to make a Web page of your own — well, I have written a tutorial for you. The Internet already provides many HTML tutorials, but none (at least, none that I have found) that concisely guide you from not knowing anything about HTML to having a page with just about anything you want on it.

Here is my HTML tutorial. Go forth and do good.

I realize that many Ephs already know HTML, and for those who do, the contents of this tutorial will seem obvious. But HTML is easy enough to learn that I think it is useful to know it, since most of us use the Internet daily, and it is nice to know the structure of the Internet: just how it is that the page you’re reading got to look that way (though EphBlog is more complex than basic HTML). Dreamweaver may be easy, but it creates ugly code, and it reveals nothing of the inner workings of the Internet. For that, you need HTML. Here it is.

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Letter from Iraq Part XVI

I haven’t been posting letters from Felipe recently because he hasn’t been writing. Fear not. Felipe is (relatively) safe and sound, and wrote a lengthy missive recounting some of his activities.

Highlights include:

1) Offering up advice to people important enough to act upon it;

2) Hanging out on top of a HumVee with a giant machine gun (no more ambushes reported);

3) Smoking apple tobacco from a hooka in Qatar;

4) Cross cultural karaoke.

Hang in there, Felipe. We’re still pulling for you (and eagerly awaiting your next installment).

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my b

Samuel Peckham ’07 starts off mean, goes to classy, but, in the end, won’t go away.

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Gerrard in NYT

Philosophy Professor Steven Gerrard had a letter in the New York Times.

To the Editor:

Defenders of our government’s displaying the Ten Commandments face a religious dilemma. If the Ten Commandments are worth publicly displaying, then they are religious; it is their religious meaning that gives them their significance. Otherwise, secular formulations like Kant’s categorical imperative or John Stuart Mill’s greatest happiness principle would do.

If, however, the Ten Commandments are secular, then they are stripped of any special power and are not worth the fuss.

Regardless of the legal issues involved, a government display of the Ten Commandments strips them of their religious power and should be opposed for religious reasons.

Steven Gerrard
Williamstown, Mass.
March 2, 2005
The writer is a professor of philosophy and chairman of Jewish studies at Williams College.

Is this really a dilemma? One could argue that the Ten Commandments are worth publicly displaying because of their historical significance to American history and law. I don’t care much either way, but, like any good radical anti-Federalist, am happy to let the nice people in Alabama display what they want as long as they don’t try to tell me and my Massachusetts friends what we must or must not display.

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Photo ID, #9

Here we go again.

DSCN2128.jpg

Your job is to tell:
(a) Where this picture was taken;
(b) Any memories you have of this object.

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Modest Involvement

Emeritus Professor of Economics Dick Sabot was kind enough to send in these comments on the faculty handbook’s prohibition of anything more than “modest involvement” in paid outside employment. I was curious if he knew of where/when the guideline arose. I asked him because, besides being my professor, he was a founder of Tripod, the Eph-face of the dot.com boom.

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Eric Cohen Op-Ed

Eric Cohen ’99 has an article in the Weekly Standard on the Terri Schiavo situation. Cohen, editor of the fascinating journal The New Atlantis, talked to Scattershot last spring about the moral dilemmas technology forces society to grapple with.

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Goldwarg ’03 on Gay Althletes

Jordan Goldwarg ’03 co-founded and runs Discourse, a web site devoted to gay athletes.

As a forum for gay people and sport, Discourse encourages all individuals with an interest in this subject to contribute their thoughts, in writing, about any aspect of what it means to be a gay athlete, coach, trainer, spectator, or scholar.

Discourse intends to examine the current climate of sport at every level and to bring about change through challenging discussions and the dissemination of ideas. We believe that to solve the problems that face GLBT people who participate in sport, and to gain real acceptance, it is necessary to have an ongoing and in-depth dialogue, maintained by the athletes and participants themselves. Discourse is primarily for athletes, current and former, competitive and recreational.

His story about coming out at Williams is nice read, reflecting well on the College, the ski team and him.

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Dunn on Jefferson in Time

Professor Susan Dunn has some interesting thoughts on Thomas Jefferson in this week’s issue of Time.

Jefferson believed in the transparency of government. He was the only one of the Founding Fathers who thought that the Constitutional Convention of 1787 should have been open to the public. He believed that ideas should circulate, not be discussed in secrecy.

EphBlog heartily agrees. A different contributor to the same forum argues that Jefferson:

maintained a decades-long concubinage with his slave Sally Hemings, fathered several illegitimate children with her who consequently became his property . . .

As discussed here, I am suspicious of this claim.

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A Cartoonist Mafia?

Following up on Alix’s recent post, how many Williams alums are cartoonists? The three I know of are Dorothy Gambrell ’00, author of Cat and Girl; Justin Borus ’98, co-creator of Girls & Sports, and Chan Lowe ’75, an editorial cartoonist at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Are there others? Has Williams created a “Cartoonist Mafia”? At least we appear to be ahead of Yale, which claims Garry Trudeau of Doonesbury fame.

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2005 CUL Report

I have received hundreds of e-mails asking for further commentary on anchor housing. Really. In the meantime, I would urge all interested Ephs to read the CUL Report for themselves. Although I have provided my fair share of criticisms, it is still well worth a read. You can find a nice pdf version here, with some very useful appendices. This version is much easier to read then the one published by the Record, especially since the Record’s website seems to be on spring break. I suspect that it is just an html error that the report is not linked to from the main CUL page.

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C3D Case Study

Economics Professor Steve Sheppard is quoted in an Eagle article on the Berkshire economy.

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Puppies

Karen Lichtman draws an analogy between puppies and WSO e-mail users.

Folks who want to influence the administration on this one should reach out (politely!) to Steve Birrell ’64, vice president for alumni relations and development. No one is more interested than he in seeing to it that alumni have a reason to feel connected to Williams every day for the rest of their lives.

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Foosball

Adrian Martinez ’06 deserves major credit for setting up a campus wide foosball latter. Why didn’t Gargoyle take care of this years ago?

Lest cranky alums think this a waste of time, I can only note that several of my Carter House bretheren were ace foosball players back in the day, including Mark Solan ’88. Mark went on to win an Emmy, albeit not in foosball, so I am sure that this generation of foosball Ephs are also destined for greatness.

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Blame Hank Payne

Things are getting desparate for the users of WSO e-mail. For the record, I’ll note that I suggested to Hank Payne a decade ago that Williams provide lifetime e-mail service for alumni. Every moment that an alum thinks or writes or reads “Williams,” the likelihood of giving to the College increases.

The fact that Payne (after, I think, answering politely) failed to follow up is further evidence, as if more were needed, that my long term record of ineffectual attempts to influence policy at Williams is probably peerless. Just so you know.

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Williams: 2,000 Out of 100,000 Out of 14 Million

Andrew Delbanco has written an interesting article in the New York Review of Books entitled, Colleges: An Endangered Species? In the course of referring to a variety of books — Stover at Yale, by Owen Johnson; The Future of the Public University in America: Beyond the Crossroads, by James J. Duderstadt and Farris W. Womack; The Uses of the University, by Clark Kerr; and Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line: The Marketing of Higher Education, by David L. Kirp — he gives a succinct history of higher education in America.

At one point he notes,

The leading liberal arts colleges will doubtless survive, but they belong to an endangered species. Michael S. McPherson, president of the Spencer Foundation and former president of Macalester College, and Morton O. Schapiro, president of Williams, report that even now “the nation’s liberal arts college students would almost certainly fit easily inside a Big Ten football stadium: fewer than 100,000 students out of more than 14 million.”[10] In today’s educational landscape, barely one sixth of all college students fit the traditional profile of full-time residential students between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. One third of American undergraduates now work full-time, and more than half attend college part-time, typically majoring in subjects with immediate utility, such as accounting or computing.

Which makes Williams a very rare experience indeed.

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Never Too Fast

Nice article on Phi Beta Kappa and Cross Country All American Jenn Campbell ’05.

“She’s a 12-time All-American,” fellow Williams senior Katie Marsh said, “but she never had that mindset. She is so humble. She was never too fast to run with someone.”

“Never too fast to run with someone.” What a marvelous turn of phrase. Every athlete is familar with the teammate who is as eager to help her peers to succeed as she is to succeed herself. Campbell seems like that sort of person. I hope that the same will be said of my daughters in the years to come.

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Photo ID, #8

My apologies for the lack of photo last week. Exams, you know.

DSCN2116.JPG

Your job is to tell:
(a) What this picture is of;
(b) Any memories you have of this place.

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Pump Up My Org Chart

Fans of bureaucracy will appreciate this tidbit on the Office of Campus Life. The Record reports that

The other sizeable difference to this year’s room draw will take place behind the scenes. The responsibility for collecting student forms and administering the draw has shifted from Buildings & Grounds to the Office of Campus Life.

Bazuin declined to detail how his department plans to handle the additional workload.

Responsibilities first, resources later. Bazuin (who I like and who is clearly a smart guy) is wise enough in the ways of the world to know that, the more instrumental his office is in student life, the better off he (and future directors of campus life) will be. Once he is in charge of room draw, he can figure out how to gather the resources to keep running it. Expect to see more along these lines. For example, who is “in charge” of intramural sports leagues at Williams? If it isn’t Bazuin now, it probably will (and should) be.

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Cat and Girl…and Ulysses

“Cat and Girl,” drawn by former Record cartoonist Dorothy Gambrell ’00, takes on the perennial educated person’s literary Waterloo, James Joyce’s Ulysses — and gets mentioned by one of my all-time favorite blogs, Bookslut.

To make this post even more Williams-related, Professor of English Stephen Tifft almost annually offers a class on this challenging book, if any current Ephs are feeling particularly energetic (or masochistic).

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Ephayist

Aidan on the killing of the helpless:

I’m by no means a pro-life activist, but I don’t want to support a world in which potentially productive citizens are snuffed out, as a matter of course, because medical professionals have decided that their lives aren’t worth living. I’m sorry, but that’s a perversion of the principles of medicine and an arrogant abrogation of decisions that have no right to be made by anyone, even committees of MDs.

Read the whole thing. There is no better Eph essayist (Ephayist?) writing on the web today. All my “toadies” should immediately agree in the comments. And don’t forget to note the Latin reference: Omnia
Gallia in tres partes divisa est.

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Andiamo

There was a informed thread on expanding Italian classes at Williams. David Rodriquez ’06, who should be spending more time blogging here, makes the point that there are constraints to what the College can do. It would be great if the College had more classes in every language under the sun.

Ignore for a moment whether the College should be spending more money on classes and less on buildings. Assume that the number of professors is fixed. Anyone wanting to make the case for more classes of type X needs to first demonstrate there is a demand for those classes — as Kamen Kozarev hints about Italian in the thread — and show that there are other classes which are not as popular/useful/necessary.

For every class you want to add, you need to propose a class to take away.

I realize that the proponents of new classes/majors don’t want to do this. They don’t think that other classes are bad or evil. They have friends that take/teach those classes and are happy for them. They would rather just treat the College as one big Ephraim suger daddy and demand a new lollipop.

Such tactics are, thank goodness, unlikely to work. Serious people — like the trustees, the administration, the CEP — think in terms of budgets. You need to make the case that resources should be shifted, not just expanded. But, if you do take the time to make that case, I think that you would be surprised at the impact you can have on the process.

Self-nominations for the Committee on Educational Policy will be due in a month or so. Students like Kamen Kozarev and Rondelle Trinidad should apply. They will learn a lot and the committee will be better off with their participation.

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Joyful, Joyful

The English verses to this adaptation of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, also known as Ode to Joy, were written at Williams. As this page explains:

Van Dyke wrote this hymn while staying at the home of Harry A. Garfield at Williams College, Massachusetts. It was first published in the Presbyterian Hymnal in 1911. It also appeared in the Poems of Henry van Dyke, 1911.

I did not know this. But the first two verses evoke just the kind of beautiful weather we had around here yesterday:

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.

Another question: Did Garfield actually live in Garfield House, or was it just named after him? As in, were these verses written in Garfield house, do you think?

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Gang of Four

Articles like this one on the lack of intellectual diversity among college faculty are all too common. But note the Williams reference:

Three years ago Karl Zinsmeister (see The American Enterprise, Sept. 2002) checked the party registration records of faculties on 19 campuses and found that those affiliated with parties of the left (usually Democrat) outnumbered those affiliated with the right (usually Republican) by a ratio of 10 to 1. . . . Williams College, with a faculty of over 200, boasted four Republicans.

Alas, I can’t find the original article on line, although an update is here. Previous EphBlog reviews of the (lack of) political diversity at among the Williams faculty are here and here.

My question: Who are/were the four registered Republican faculty members in 2002? (Note that this is public information, gathered from voter registrations. I am not interested in outing anyone, as it were.)

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Burke ’53, RIP

Fred Burke ’53 died last week.

Fred G. Burke, who oversaw sweeping changes in the financing and accountability of public schools as the commissioner of education for Rhode Island and then New Jersey in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, died Friday at Newton Memorial Hospital in Newton, N.J. He was 79 and lived in Milford, Pa.

The whole op-ed is a fascinating read, a picture into a time and place different from our own and yet all too familiar. Note that Burke is just one example of the many Ephs involved in public education, perhaps the most prominent of whom is Boston Superindendent Thomas Payzant ’62.

Burke went to Williams after serving in both World War II and the Korean War. He graduated at 27. When was the last time a veteran was enrolled as an undergraduate at Williams? Alas, he seemed to have less luck in love, being divorced twice. His last book does not seem to mesh with my anti-Federalist leanings, but anyone who made the teacher unions as angry as Burke did can’t be on the wrong side. More on Burke here.

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Consent and Predatory Conduct

Followers of the Tracy McIntosh ’75 case will want to read this update.

Two months earlier, McIntosh, married and the father of two teenage daughters, had welcomed the 23-year-old niece of an old college buddy to the Penn campus with an evening-long pub crawl that ended in her rape in his office.

This is more than a little sloppy. McIntosh and his defenders would insist that he is not guilty of “rape”. I am no expert on Pennsylvania law, but it seems clear that McIntosh pled guilty to sexual assualt, not rape. So, strictly speaking, he is an admitted sexual assaultist, not a rapist. There is a difference. He pled quilty to:

Except as provided in section 3121 (relating to rape) or 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse), a person commits a felony of the second degree when that person engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with a complainant without the complainant’s consent.

You don’t have to be a lawyer to pause a moment over the use of the word “consent” in this statute. Many Eph men can claim to never have had sex without the women’s consent, never with a women who had had too much to drink (and was therefore in no position to give consent), never with a women who had expressed reluctance at any point in the evening.

But some (many?) Eph men can not make that claim. It all comes down to how seriously one takes the notion of “consent”. If consent can not be given under the influence of alcohol, then many (most?) Eph men would be guilty of sexual assault, at least in Pennsylvania.

Does that mean that all men are rapists? No! If you are looking for crack-pot feminist quackery, you have come to the wrong blog, or at least the wrong author on EphBlog. But it is perhaps too easy to put Tracy McIntosh into the nasty little box labelled “rapist” and pretend that he is a different creature from his fellow Ephs.

And this still ignores the question of what really happened. It is easy to conjure up visions of McIntosh as some sort of monster out of a Law & Order episode, drugging unsuspecting women with animal sedatives. But it doesn’t take much imagination to see a different picture, one in which McIntosh and the unnamed woman engaged in consensual sex that seemed, the next day, much less consensual to the woman.

So, she goes to the cops and McIntosh, who is innocent (by assumption) in this rendition of events, faces some unappealing choices, especially if he has made some bad choices in his non-marital relationships in the past. Copping a plea bargain might have made much more sense even if McIntosh knew that he was innocent.

I don’t really believe that, but it is certainly within the realm of the possible.

Back to the article:

The account of the uneasy intervention is contained in a memo outlining an internal investigation by a Penn official in July 2003, two months after McIntosh was charged with rape by the district attorney.

The interviews in the memo would appear to run counter to an earlier Penn investigation concluding that there was no proof of a sexual assault or that McIntosh “has a history of predatory conduct.”

JA acceptance/rejection letters will be mailed out soon.[What the heck does this have to do with McIntosh? — ed.]

You don’t think that McIntosh (or Mark Foster, for that matter) has anything to do with JAs? Silly you.

Recall our previous discussion of JA/first year romantic relationships.

(My favorite part of that thread was when two participants were talking about a male — Surpise! — JA who dated two of the female first years in his entry. They assumed that they were talking about the same JA. How many miscreants could there be? Turns out that they each knew a different miscreant.)

The problem with JAs — 90% of whom are surely male, whatever Emily Thorson might wish to believe — who date first years is that they are using their position as JA to score with EphBabes who would not, in all likelihood, be dating them if they were not JAs. (I recently heard a female JA compare the effect on first year females of the purple t-shirts that JAs wear to that of military uniforms.)

There is nothing wrong with dating. There is nothing wrong with juniors dating first years. There is a great deal wrong with JAs taking advantage of dating opportunities that they would not have if they were not JAs.

If those JAs were real gentlemen, they would politely but firmly tell the aspiring first year groupie that, if this is meant to be, it can easily start next year.

And that is the connection to McIntosh. Even in the best case scenario, he had sex with a young women who was highly unlikely to have had sex with him were it not for his position at the school to which she was applying.

To the male JAs for the class of 2009: If you become romantically involved with a first year, especially a first year in your entry, then you are abusing the trust that Williams College has placed in you.

It may be true that the first year — all of 18 years old and far away from home, perhaps struggling for the first time in her life, perhaps unsure of herself in a new world full of challenges and disruptions — wants to date you. Perhaps she honestly is attracted to you. You are certainly attracted to her.

You may have handled the matter sensitively — you have checked with your entry and sought the “permission” of your co-JA. You may think of yourself as basically a good guy, not someone who would ever cause a woman harm.

Don’t kid yourself. You are a predator. You are Tracy McIntosh ’75.

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One Pulitzer Prize Winner Begets Another

One of my many great teachers at Williams was James MacGregor Burns ’39. I took his seminar on Leadership. Although there were 18 of us in the class, his incisive and thoughtful questions made it seem like a personal tutorial.

At the start of one October class, Prof. Burns came in and said, “It’s too dark in here and too nice out,” and shooed us outside Griffin Hall to have class on the lawn. I remember leaning back, feeling the warm breeze, looking up at the gold and red of the autumn leaves, and thinking, “Boy, this is just like the brochure! Here I am, sitting outside on a gorgeous fall day in New England, listening to a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Bancroft Prize tell us about his personal dealings with JFK. College doesn’t get any better than this.”

Thirty-two years later, one of his precepts is still burned into my brain. He told me at one of our student/teacher conferences, “The trick to good writing is not so much figuring what to put in, but what to leave out.” Since I now write for a living, that one sentence has been incredibly valuable to me.

He had an impact on others as well. Ed Larson ’74 (entered with my class (1975), ultimately transferred to Michigan) and who won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in History for his book on the Scopes trial entitled, Summer for the Gods, tells a wonderful story on C-SPAN’s Booknotes about what Prof. Burns meant to him:

LAMB: What’s it mean to get a Pulitzer Prize?

Prof. LARSON: Well, in my profession it’s–it’s–it’s the greatest
there is. It’s the–it–well, it’s a tribute to writing, and I love
to write. I love the–I love crafting words. I like to do research.
I like history. When I was–when I was going to college–this sort of
captures it–I had always thought I could write. I came from rural
Ohio and–where we didn’t get much particular training, and I learned
to–I learned to love literature by reading, not by writing. And I
loved to read, oh, various novelists, but I also liked Dickens and I
liked Hawthorne and–but I also liked Virgil and some of the classics
and–and Shakespeare and I loved to write. And I–and I thought I
could do it.

And then I got to college, and my freshman comp teachers were very,
very discouraging, but I–but I–but I–I liked it. And what I always
wanted to do is be a history teacher. And I had sort of given up on
my college and I was going to leave, but I had to get fresh–senior
standing to t–junior standing to transfer into University of
Michigan. And I thought, `Well, for my last–in the last qua–last
semester here, I’ll take James McGregor Burns, a Pulitzer Prize
winner, o–I’ve heard a wonderful human being.’ And I knew it was just
a course where you’d write one big paper. This had to be a paper on
your congressmen.

And I just poured my heart out in writing that paper. And I–I was
going to be leaving the college anyway, and here he was–I knew he
could write because he had a Pulitzer Prize–he had two, actually, but
I–that’s why I knew he could write. And I, of course, loved his
books on Roosevelt. And I’d–I’d left the college after I turned it
in and I had–because I had to be out to Michigan–University of
Michigan to start. And he sent the paper back to me, and it was an
A+. And with–with wonderful comments in it. And that’s when I had
confidence I could write. So winning the Pulitzer Prize was special
for me because it had that–that history, that–that–that–that
connection with Jim Burns.

I remember having long discussions with Ed down in the Mission Park dining hall as he was sweating through that paper, and he was certainly not a mass of self-confidence. “Should I include this, how should I structure it, I’m worried I’m not arguing the right points….”. You’d never know it now, based on Ed’s accomplishments and the admiring comments I’ve read from his students. It shows you what an impact a great teacher can have — and how that impact can ripple through generations.

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