LASTING LESSONS — Fall 2003
   

 

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.

'Danny’s 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 weren’t working, I’d call him or show up at his office. Yet, he was always dependable, thoughtful, and deliberate.

'‘Danny’s direct approach was helpful. He knew the solution, even if it wasn’t always what I wanted to hear! ‘There is no going around this. You’re going to have to work hard, you’re 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 teacher—another colorful character—to 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, Tennessee.

 


 

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 medical student.

'‘Resident house staff loved working on his service, not because he would occasionally buy us breakfast on Saturday morning in Queeny tower—which was great—but 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.”

Jeffrey B. Kramer, M.D. ’80, H.S. ’90, is an assistant professor at Kansas University School of Medicine.

 


 

Saul Rosenzweig,
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 about—I 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. Rosenzweig’s 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 didn’t need to be, because we all worked our heads off anyway. That seminar was exactly what I thought education was supposed to be—informed 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 don’t recall anyone ever being embarrassed. What I remember is sheer intellectual enjoyment.”

Clyde E. Buzzard, M.A.Ed. ‘73, CERT. ’73, is a writer and editor .