Let's go clear back to 1947-49 when the University was full of ex-GIs.
I'll never forget the effect that Dr. Mary Haller, head of the Mathematics department, had on my college experience.
In my junior year in advanced mathematics, I registered for her class since the supposedly "easy" instructor's class was already full. The "Doc," as she was known, had a reputation for working students to death and I was more than apprehensive about attending her lectures.
About 20 students arrived at the first scheduled class meeting and naturally there was a lot of conversation about our immediate future. The "Doc" was not known for giving high grades. All of a sudden, here comes an imposing figure of a woman without the least bit of friendliness on her face. She wrote her name on the blackboard, turned to the class and said in firm tones, "My name is Dr. Mary Haller and I want you to be advised right now that all of you will do twice as much work as any other class, you will not miss a class unless you are near death, if you even drop a pencil during one of my lectures, you might as well transfer to another class. Now, those of you who don't like my terms are free to go without prejudice."
At the end of her announcement, at least 10 of the assembled group left the room without even a glance to see who was crazy enough to remain. When the door to the classroom finally closed, "Doc" turned to us and with a great big smile said, "Now that we've ridden ourselves of the quitters, let's get started. I assure all of you that surviving this class will be a feather in your cap, and you will become good engineers." True to her word, our class became as one and lifelong friendships started.
Dr. Mary Haller taught us that hard work pays off and secures your future. What better lesson can you learn?
Thomas E. House, '42, '49
A memorable teacher to me was Mary Elizabeth Haller, in the Dept. of Mathematics, circa 1948-58. She was an excellent classroom teacher, and brutal at the blackboard exercises. More was learned at the board than one could imagine. She gave me the confidence to go on to an M.S. and Ph.D., and later become a senior manager at AT&T Bell Laboratories. I have been Technical Editor for the IEEE Communications Magazine for over a decade, have four patents, and have given numerous papers and graduate colloquia.
R. B. Kieburtz, '52, '63, '66
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