happy birthday, geoff!
38 years and counting


I just submitted the grades for my spring class. Since at the present time, I have no more classes scheduled at ARC, it might be a good time to thank all of the people who have done so much for me over the years.

I am the kind of amiable but befuddled teacher who never remembers to do my paperwork. I have spent time in six departments at three different schools, and in every single case, there was someone who covered my ass. Schools can’t run without qualified staff, yet most professors are too full of themselves to say thanks. So if any of you are reading this, thanks from someone who needed your help far more than I should have.

Being able to give a keynote speech to a gathering of counselors remains one of the things I’m most proud of … it gave me a chance to thank them in person. I had great counselors as an undergrad, I had great counselors as a grad student, and I worked with great counselors as a professor. Their job is vital to the success of students.

I have been lucky to work with some fine fellow teachers, first as a student learning from my professors, later working together with other graduate students, and finally as a professor myself with graduate students working with me. I’m not sure I was very good at the latter, but I hope my respect was obvious. I am proud to say that many of the graduate students who worked with me have gone on to successful careers, not just at universities, but in other fields, some related to academia, some not. If I had any useful influence on even one of them, I’ve done something right with my life.

I’ve also been lucky to work with some terrific students. A few have become friends over the years, and nowadays, thanks to Facebook, I’m able to keep track of more of them than I used to. Again, I’m proud to say that many of those students have gone on to success in various fields, and here, too, I hope I’ve had even the smallest influence on their successes. Without students, there are no schools and no need for teachers.

The above reads like a requiem, and it’s probably premature. But you never know, and it’s better to say these things now than to have time run out before they’ve been said.