I attended UW during the Vietnam War ('68-'72) and discovered Dr. Bridgman's classes during my freshman year. Although I though I wanted to major in biology at the time, I never missed a class in world history. Even when I changed my mind and though I would major in French as a sophomore, I kept enrolling in Dr. Bridgman's classes. One quarter I even skipped a third level French offering because a Bridgman class conflicted with it in the schedule. When I was a junior, my father asked what I planned to do with all of my science and French background, and I said, "Well, I think I'll major in history!" Being a businessman, he wondered how in the world I would make a living with a history degree, and shook his head in disbelief.
Since then I have taught history in an alternative high school for 10 years to kids who had to have failed at least one history class just to get into mine. I used my old notes and blue books (do they still use those?) from Dr. Bridgman's class to plan an interactive, theatrical course for them every year, and kids loved it! I've gone on to receive a master's degree in guidance and counseling, where many of my history "skills" were quite useful: cause and effect; seeing both sides of an issue; and taking furious notes!
I've also sailed around the world on Semester at Sea and was able to see what I'd only heard about in the texts and lectures. It was an opportunity of a lifetime and I frequently thought about what I had learned in history classes as I experienced cultures and histories very different than mine. My enthusiasm and excitement for the world grew even more due to the contagious love of history I caught from my favorite professor, Dr. Jon Bridgman!
I was always amazed when Dr. Bridgman would say hello to me by name when we saw each other on campus. Once I remember that he called out my name in a 300 level class when I was a lowly sophomore and I almost died of embarrassment! But I kept coming back because I knew he loved his subject and personally knew me!
A special treat for me was obtaining a set of tape recordings of his spring lecture series on World War II. I saw them advertised in Columns and couldn't wait for each month's tape to arrive in the mail. It was like re-living classes with Dr. Bridgman every month. Will he ever do another series?
I'll never forget those years and my experiences through an exciting time to be at UW. Thanks for the memories and GO HUSKIES!
Karen Connell, '72
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