I had some great teachers in my undergraduate years at the UW. Among them were Herschel Roman for genetics, Thomas Pressly and Solomon Katz for history, and Franz Michael for Asian studies (then it was called Far Eastern). However, the professor who stands out most clearly in my mind is Glen Lutey, who taught the last few courses in the catalog to bear the title, "Liberal Arts."
At the suggestion of my advisor, for winter quarter 1953 I signed up for "Liberal Arts 101 - Introduction to Modern Thought." I had no idea what to expect when I walked into the old worn down semi-circular lecture theater on the southwest end of Denny Hall -- a very uninspiring setting.
When Dr. Lutey entered the room, I thought he looked like the stereotype of a college professor -- gray hair, tweed suit with chalk dust, pleasant face, mild manner. I feared I was in for a boring class in a dull room. I couldn't have been more mistaken.
For the next 10 weeks he took our class on a dizzying intellectual ride through the history of cosmology, the scientific method, astronomy, physics, the origins of life and of man, biology, anthropology, genetics, ending finally with the philosophical ramifications of it all. In short, he showed us how we had come to think as we had in the middle of the 20th century.
To me the most impressive thing he did was to tell us his own personal philosophical stance. He said he wanted us to know his biases, so we could take them into account in evaluating what he taught and in forming our own philosophy of life. He said that he held the view that "emergent evolution" was the best theory to account for man's place in the world. He encouraged us to challenge him and to argue for the alternatives. We did, and we learned and grew.
Glen Lutey invited us to explore more deeply the roots of our understanding of the universe and our place in it. He helped me to see that all knowledge is interrelated and he spurred in me a life long interest in the relationship between science, philosophy and religion. I am deeply grateful for that.
Fred Jessett, '56
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