Your Favorite Professors

In our Fall 1997 Alumni CLASnotes, we asked CLAS alumni to send in anecdotes or remembrances of their favorite professors at UF.  Here is a sampling of the many thoughtful responses we received: 

     I remember the patience and kindness of Dr. Clark Cross, professor of geography. He told us about his trips to Alaska every summer; I could hardly wait to go.  In our mapping class, he showed us aerial photographs of the missiles in Cuba right after they were discovered.  He made it all so exciting and explained the implications to us.  I now teach geography at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and I try to pass along the dedication and genuine interest that Dr. Cross showed for his students and his subject.  Since graduating from Florida, I have been all over the world many times, and it was Cross's stories of glaciers, jungles, sinkholes, etc. that sent me packing for parts unknown.  We had a wonderful geography department at Florida in the Sixties.  It was exciting to have been a small part of it, and I will be forever grateful to Dr. Cross and the many other professors who made it such a stimulating place. 
Alice Luthy Tym   (BA '64, MA '66) 

     In response to your request for interesting anecdotes about professors, I would like to recount one of my classes with my favorite professor, Dr. Keith Legg.  Dr. Legg was a political science professor who, in addition to advanced courses, taught basic political science courses that required a large lecture hall.  
     On one particular evening, his lecture (in an auditorium-style hall) was quite full.  Professor Legg walked into the class, put down his books, gazed at the assemblage and said in a loud voice, "Will everyone please rise."  Naturally, the entire assemblage rose on cue.  Professor Legg turned to the small boy seated next to him, grinned, turned back to the class of students and said, "My son didn't believe that I had power, you can all sit down."  
     This typifies the humor and attitude that Professor Legg brought to all of his classes.  He was an excellent teacher, serious when appropriate, and he always kept reality in context.  
Joseph S. Silver (BA Poli Sci, '75; JD, '78) 

     No teacher ever made a more lasting impression on me than Dr. Robert Carson.  I expect you will receive other fond remembrances of him, many more eloquent than mine.  Far from simply lecturing about the humanities, he brought them alive in the classroom.  An accomplished painter, he devoted a class to painting a picture.  It was exciting to see that white canvas take on the image of a dark, brooding gothic cathedral.  When the course turned to music, he brought his viola and played for us.  He was second chair viola in the university symphony orchestra, as I recall.  Although he never quite convinced me that modern assemblies of welded bicycle spokes and assorted junk was art, we had some rollicking debates about it.  As a token of appreciation, I used my lapidary skill to make him a malachite tie clasp.  He accepted my gift, then offered me one of his paintings in return!  I didn't take it because he had given me enough already.  I could kick myself now, though, because I wish I had a tangible reminder of this wonderful teacher.  
Wayne E. Tutt (BS '67) 

     As an undergraduate, there were two professors that I not only regarded as great teachers, but also as great personalities, and I consider it an honor to have been under their instruction.  Professor Manning Dauer was an unforgettable story to any of his students, and I believe that he is a legend at UF even to this day.  Although many jokes were made about the fact that he could never match up his socks, he could certainly match up his students with the information and learning that he wished them to receive.  Professor Ernest Bartley, a tall and distinguished professor, had a streak of humor about as wide as an elephant.  His classes were a revelation in political science, but you certainly had to remember to keep your assignments up to date and your thinking cap squarely planted on your head.  
     Also, although I never took classes from Sam Proctor, he was the advisor to my fraternity, and I had the opportunity to work with him and get to know him and his wonderful wife for a period of many years?even after graduation.  He embodies every single attribute that I believe a fine professor and a fine person should have.  
Shepard Lesser (BA '57, JD '60) 

     Iread with sadness, in the Fall 1997 issue of the Alumni CLASnotes, of the recent death of Professor David Niddrie.  Professor Niddrie shepherded my MA proposal through at least 12 versions, followed my field work with interest, and helped me sift through data and focus closely on the two major themes of my thesis.  Perhaps most importantly, he took an interest in how the actual writing of the thesis was coming along on a weekly basis.  His tutelage and helpful, concrete suggestions improved my writing and organizational abilities vastly.  
     I have no idea how many of his former students you have heard from, but I am certain that his influence on me is not unique?he supervised many theses and dissertations and shepherded many students to completion of their work and their degrees.  I am frequently reminded these days of what a good, solid, supportive advisor he was, as I speak with grad student acquaintances of mine attending one school or another, where they are locked in huge battles with their advisors and hostility has destroyed what should be a thoughtful working relationship.  The outcome of this is (or will be) non-completion of a thesis and no degree granted after sometimes years of work on proposals, research, and writing.  I am very, very grateful to have had Professor Niddrie take such a strong interest in my project from beginning to end.  
Frances L. Fryberger (MS Geography, '73) 
Keep in touch 
We'd love to include an update about you in the "Alumni News" section of our next issue.  Please fill us in.  Include your full name, graduation year, degree and major.  Pictures are welcomed. 
Return to:  Jane Gibson, Editor, Alumni CLAS notes, 2014 Turlington Hall, PO Box 117300, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL  32611.