Three alumni describe
their favoite teachers
Daniel H. Kohl,
Professor of Biology
Edward Wise: Danny Kohl would say,
If an ex-New York City cab driver can do this ... Danny
was inspiring, controversial, and unconventional.
'Dannys a cab driver become professor.
Like a taxicab driver, he had a no-nonsense knack for always pointing
me in the right direction.
'We never shared a warm, fuzzy relationship:
I would go for months without seeing him; then, if things werent
working, Id call him or show up at his office. Yet, he was
always dependable, thoughtful, and deliberate.
'Dannys direct approach was helpful.
He knew the solution, even if it wasnt always what I wanted
to hear! There is no going around this. Youre going
to have to work hard, youre going to have to bust your butt,
he would say. I always knew it was up to me, that I was responsible
for the outcome, but that he was there when I needed him.
'Not only did Danny know how the system
worked, he had practical insight into how an individual could navigate
through it. One of my biggest difficulties at that time was writing
papers, so Danny found me a retired English teacheranother
colorful characterto tutor me three or four times a week.
'Because of his background, he understood
what was needed and always shared a nuts-and-bolts practicality
that proved successful and inspiring. He was not only a pillar in
the University community but also in my life.
|Edward Wise, A.B. 75 (Ph.D.),
is executive director of Mental Health Resources in Memphis,
Charles L. Roper,
Professor Emeritus of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Jeffrey Kramer: What would
Dr. Roper do at this point? I often ask myself that question
as I work in the operating room.
'People often assume that this type of surgery
is purely science, but the manner in which Dr. Roper practiced thoracic
surgery truly revealed the artistry required! There are so many
variables: Each of many decisions can affect the ultimate outcome;
it can be a complex, layered process. One operation is often not
sufficient. Dr. Roper knew what needed to be done at each turn.
'He was a very busy man but totally committed
to patient care and teaching. He always took the time to explain
what he was doing and the rationale. Most important, everyone was
treated with the utmost respect. The way Dr. Roper talked to the
department chairman was little different from his approach to the
'Resident house staff loved working on
his service, not because he would occasionally buy us breakfast
on Saturday morning in Queeny towerwhich was greatbut
because of his personality. He was humble, yet he always called
everything exactly as he saw it. Hundreds of residents went through
his service, and they all found it impossible to get by without
their very best efforts.
'On entering his office, one often found
on his desk four or five requests from various former residents
seeking his opinion on thoracic cases. I seek his opinion myself,
because Dr. Roper has seen and done it all. He is truly in a class
by himself, both personally and professionally.
B. Kramer, M.D. 80, H.S. 90, is an assistant professor
at Kansas University School of Medicine.
Professor Emeritus of Psychology and of Medical Psychology
Clyde Buzzard: When I was at the
University in the late 60s, Dr. Saul Rosenzweig taught in
the Department of Psychology, though he must have been in his 70s
at the time. He taught a two-semester course in Freudian psychology,
which was required by the department and dreaded by psych and counseling
majors. He also taught a 700-level seminar that I took twice.
'It was such a high-level seminar no one
was quite sure what it was aboutI am not sure it even had
a name. It was interdisciplinary, with participants from the medical
school, social work, education, and in one case a veterinarian.
'As with most seminars, we took turns
presenting papers, which were then dissected and discussed. Sessions
were often heated but always conducted in the most civil manner.
'The formal topics were not especially
Freudian, but Dr. Rosenzweigs extensive store of knowledge,
anecdotes, and Freudian gossip always crept in, and it was there
Freud became a real person to me rather than some vague iconic figure.
'Dr. Rosenzweig was seen by students required
to take his regular course as a hard and stern taskmaster who insisted
they actually know the material.
'He was not demanding in the seminar,
but he didnt need to be, because we all worked our heads off
anyway. That seminar was exactly what I thought education was supposed
to beinformed people talking, sharing their special knowledge,
experiences, and ignorance, and always in a warm context of civility,
good humor, and support. Although we all made mistakes, I dont
recall anyone ever being embarrassed. What I remember is sheer intellectual
|Clyde E. Buzzard, M.A.Ed. 73,
CERT. 73, is a writer and editor