There were so many outstanding professors that prepared me for a 35-year career in international affairs, especially the last 25 years at the Department of State, that it was difficult to choose just one. For 15 years I have told high school and college students from all over the United States about the importance of history in understanding foreign policy. I learned that from the greats like George Taylor and Solomon Katz. John Reshetar was responsible for my professional interest in the Soviet Union. Linden Mander inspired a lifelong interest in the United Nations. Hugh Bone prepared me for 30 years of political life in Washington, D.C.
One professor, however, honed the skills for group participation and speaking that I have used almost everyday of my career. Whenever I heard the words "I think we should do it this way" or "I believe we should ... ," Dr. Laura Crowell's voice would remind me to phrase my input toward the goal of reaching a group solution. Most of the time I was representing the foreign policy position of the United States at an interagency or international meeting, usually in a controversial atmosphere where it was tempting to break Dr. Crowell's rules. Negotiation and compromise, however, were the only way to conclude treaties, arms control agreements, or gain a consensus at NATO.
Dr. Crowell's classes were intense clinics where your group participation and speeches were critiqued by her and the other students. At the time I was taking one of her classes, I also was running for student body president. Her personal attention concerning my goals and my ego, both inside and outside the classroom, rattled the very foundation of my college life and made me examine who I was and where I was going. Although I lost the election, I learned some valuable lessons about relating to other people and considering the views of others.
Thank you, Laura Crowell, wherever you are. Now that I have retired, I hope I can spend even more time passing on your valuable lessons to the students I talk to all over the United States about international affairs and how we need to respect the views of people from other countries as we try to solve conflicts and reach peaceful solutions to difficult group problems.
Gary B. Crocker, '62
Home / Current Issue / Archives / Talk Back / Advertising / Columns FAQ / Alumni Website / Search