I had planned to be an engineering major. I did not complete that discipline because of the influence of a great professor who helped shape the direction of my future professional life. After deciding not to be an engineer, I entered the College of Arts and Sciences. I had the opportunity to choose from many courses, survey courses in European history meshed with my work schedule, and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be included in a history course with Donald Treadgold as the lecturer.
What a revelation for a 19-year-old, my fellow classmates were second- and third-year students. Professor Treadgold initially asked all students to occupy the same seat the following day. The remainder of the class day consisted of questions about the interests of the students and their individual aspirations.
The next lecture period, Professor Treadgold not only knew each student by name, and where to direct our responses to the historical events, past and present, that would help interpret the current political situations. The events of our time were the Korean police action, the Sen. McCarthy hearings, conflict among students about the fraternity social system, the "Spud" Bunker student body election, the relevancy of mandatory ROTC participation, and in what direction our country should proceed in the new nuclear society.
Don conducted his classes in Smith Hall, the grass in the Quad, Rainier Vista, and the HUB. Learning came from many sources; the lecture, the text, contemporary literature and class discussions. The class became better citizens, active in enhancing a better society, and with an open inquisitive outlook for the future.
After graduation I realized how much influence Don had upon my future life. I became more tolerant, more understanding, and more socially compassionate.
My wife, Jane, and I attended alumni lectures in the 1980s and 1990s to become better informed about developing political situations. Don Treadgold did a series of lectures that we attended. After one of his lectures we attended a post-lecture reception. I wanted to introduce Jane to Professor Treadgold. Before I had the opportunity, Don stepped forward and addressed me, then said "Mr. Ramsey, I have not seen you for quite some time." After 30 plus years Don Treadgold made me realize what a great teacher can contribute to making a better society and future.
Richard Ramsey, '56
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