LASTING LESSONS — Summer 2005
   

 
Florence E. Moog (1915-87), Professor Emerita of Biology

Allen Vean:
"When Flo Moog was teaching, you just didn't cut class! When someone of her stature walked into the room, we were impressed—impressed by her brilliance.

"Of course she knew exactly where she was going in her lectures; her mastery of the subject was clear. But the truly fantastic thing was that we were being taught to think—not just spoon-fed information. The way the classes were taught meant that you had to develop critical and logical thinking skills. Now I fully appreciate what a gift that was.

"Some of the professors scared us, but we were not intimidated by Flo, because she was never demeaning. She shone in the lab: At first when we started dissection, we had no clue what we were doing, but Flo always made herself available, patiently teaching us to recognize anatomical landmarks. Whatever our question, she treated us with respect.

"I think she enjoyed being around us—we had quite a crew of characters.  Flo made her points quietly, sometimes with a wry sense of humor. 

"Flo Moog was a real trailblazer. It was unusual for a woman in the 1960s to have reached that kind of stature. And it astonished us to have, as undergraduates, access to someone so illustrious.

"She was the perfect instructor, but she would have turned red—beet red—at this recognition. She would have thought it unnecessary. As far as Flo Moog was concerned, she was just doing what she loved."

Allen Vean, A.B. '70, D.D.S. '74, is adjunct professor, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, The Children's Hospital, and in private practice, both in Denver.



James E. McLeod, Vice Chancellor for Students, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and Adjunct Professor of German

Andrew Bursky:
"I first met Jim back when he was special assistant to then-Chancellor Danforth. My involvement in student government brought me into regular contact with the administration. We even became co-conspirators on a project to create a campus analogue of my favorite boyhood TV program, College Bowl!

"Even then Jim had the qualities everyone still appreciates: his gentleness, calmness, and humanity. When it came to people, he had a level of wisdom that belied his youth. These days that wisdom may surprise us less, but he still has that special gift.

"Jim is the keeper of the flame set alight by Bill Danforth to distinguish Washington University by putting the undergraduate experience at its center.

"Everyone is aware of the University's rise to preeminence as a research institution, but I'm not sure everyone realizes what, in my opinion, makes it unique.

"The message of many universities to their undergraduates is this: You are privileged to be here, go make the most of what we offer. They fail to recognize that your average 18-year-old has been transplanted with the snap of a finger into an environment where suddenly a number of things have to be attended to: health, nutrition, relationships—not to mention studies.

"Washington University has realized that to enable an undergraduate to adequately explore what it has to offer, and to maximize the value of the University experience, that student needs to be supported and cared about as an individual.

"Jim is the person most responsible for maintaining this focus."

Andrew M. Bursky, A.B./B.S. '78, M.S. '78, is CEO of Atlas Holdings.




Lewis B. Hilton (1921-97), Professor Emeritus of Music

Robert Hutcheson:
"After studying in a Roman Catholic seminary for almost 10 years, I realized my heart was leading me elsewhere. Several friends had spoken glowingly of Lewis B. Hilton as one of the richest assets of Washington University, and he graciously agreed to meet with me in February 1966. Leaving the seminary made me emotional, but that morning I felt calm. He had me take melodic and harmonic dictation while he played the keyboard and had me harmonize a passage in five-four time from Piston's classic Harmony textbook. I became a full-time graduate student in the music department two days later.

"Dr. Hilton was aware of his students' goals, and I found him continually supportive. He coached me in conducting prior to my student teaching at Sumner High School. During independent study, he prepared practical sessions, visited a church-choir rehearsal I was directing, and had me rehearse ensembles which he directed. This proved fortuitous, since I helped prepare the concert choir at Sumner to sing the massive Eighth Symphony of Gustav Mahler with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra!

"After completing my master's, I taught for two years before returning for doctoral work in music education. During my first semester, I sat down with Dr. Hilton to discuss changing my focus to performance practice in conducting. He gave me his blessing and support. In 1972, I was a finalist for conducting studies in Germany through the Fulbright program, and Dr. Hilton kept his promise: He set up performers and observers to help me prepare for the audition in New York.

"He was a most talented teacher, an impeccable advisor, and an abiding friend."

Robert Hutcheson, M.A. '67, Ph.D. '76, recently retired from teaching.