Of the six universities at which I've studied or taught in various parts of the world, there is one that stands out above all others. It's the University of Washington. And it's not difficult for me to tell you why. I first arrived at the UW 21 years ago as a 44-year-old, nervously approaching doctoral studies within the College of Education. I had been granted only a very limited amount of leave by my own university--just enough, in fact, to be able to complete my residency requirements and my course work. My research and dissertation, I knew, would have to be completed back home in Australia. It was a very daunting prospect indeed!
I had been corresponding with my supervisor-to-be long before I left home and family, and it was quite clear that he was "testing me out" with his preliminary reading lists and descriptions of the various course I would take, including several of his own. This feeling -- of being tested -- was reinforced when I first met him. It wasn't a negative impression, however, since it was obvious that here was a self-motivated individual, keen to learn, keen to assist others to learn and explore, keen to motivate, determined to get the best out of his students. I can remember the very relieved phone call I made to my wife that evening.
And so it went -- a demanding man, yet encouraging; a professional who expected his students to achieve high standards, yet did this with warmth, good humor and reassurance. A top-class educator.
Our professional relationship soon developed into a true friendship. In the intervening years, our families have vacationed together (in both the U.S. and Australia), celebrated and commiserated together, and corresponded always. The relationship that started my ongoing regard and respect for the University of Washington and that has made me proud to be a life member of the alumni association, was sparked by this man.
Until my recent retirement, I taught at Monash University. Its motto is "Ancora Imparo" -- I am still learning. Said to have first been proclaimed by Leonardo da Vinci, it applies just as accurately to my friend, Professor Francis Hunkins.
Philip Perry, '81
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