most influential Penn faculty member in my experience was Dr.
Adolph Klarman. The fact that an English major came to be a
student in a class taught by this professor of German represents
a little known event in the Universitys approach to the liberal
arts curriculum in the early 1950s.
The English Department at that time was under the direction of Dr.
Albert C. Baugh who only grudgingly accepted works written after
Chaucer and absolutely refused to allow students to satisfy their
major requirements with courses involving literature in translation.
That was not a difficult rule to enforce since there was not a single
College course being taught in comparative literature. Frustrated
by this situation, a number of us petitioned the school for a change.
The year was probably 1951. I dont recall if we approached Dr.
Baugh or someone else, but after repeated requests, a course in
General Literature was reluctantly introduced that English majors
could take for credit. However, we were only accepted after passing
an interview at which we had to present a list of all the books
we had ever read in any language. I can only assume this was to
demonstrate that we had been able to read widely without supervision
and thus were serious in our quest.
Dr. Klarman taught the first General Literature class. We realized
this man was someone special when more students showed up to audit
the class than were actually enrolled. Dr. Klarmans fans followed
him everywhere, and with good reason. He was sharp, articulate and
intensely interested in what he was teaching. Dr. Klarman turned
the learning process into a challenge of intellectual discovery.
For those of us with inflated egos, Dr. Klarman raised the bar just
The course covered authors like Mann, Sholokhov, Gide, Pirandello,
Kaiser and Rilke, but it went far beyond their books. Dr. Klarman
assumed we had or would read them. In fact, he said that he was
also going to read them again. We never discussed plots and characters
as such. What we argued about in class and analyzed in our papers
were the intellectual concepts and human conditions these writers
examined. There were no right or wrong answers. Only the questions
In contrast to the one-way traffic in most undergraduate lecture-hall
classes, this was a chance for thinking without boundaries, for
give and take between students and teacher in a mutual search for
meaning. Dr. Klarmans class was the most stimulating experience
in my four years at Penn. It rejuvenated what had become a boring
education, and fostered interests that have continued to this day.
While Dr. Klarman was succeeded by other outstanding General Literature
teachers, it was he who shepherded this grand experiment past the
watchful eyes of the authorities as a lasting bequest to his students.
It was a great loss to Penn when he died not long afterwards.
Peter Lawton C53
In the Course Catalogue for the Fall 1973 term, Dr. Alvin Z.
Rubinstein succinctly described the prerequisite for his Political
Science 159 course on Communist Political Systems as a willingness
to read and a readiness to be critical. Those words guided me through
different classes in college and law school and became an integral
aspect of my professional career. They served to encourage me to
think critically about ideas that either were entrenched within
the conventional wisdom or served to support the manner in which
things were done. In different ways, I share that invaluable charge
with my children and with all of the new attorneys we hire. For
that reason, among all Penn faculty members, Dr. Rubinstein was
the teacher who proved to be the most stimulating.
Arvin J. Jaffe C76 L79
In the thirties, Dr. LaLande. All of us regarded him with
warm affection. While emphasizing a point in class one day. he slammed
his hand down on the desk, and broke a blood vessel in the palm.
Without any comment, he clenched his hand and continued the class.
When he became Vice President of Penn Salt, at a time when jobs
were hard to find, he brought at least one of our class (38) with
him. I salute him.
Joseph J. Hitov ChE38
Professor von Vorys, Political Science: Brilliant lecturer,
strong intellect with strong opinions. Challenged us to think broadly
and work hard for his classes.
Dirk Petersen W90 C90
My answer is Professor of Physics Gaylord P. Harnwell, later
UPenn President. Reasons are (1) He was an excellent teacher, (2)
Harnwell was a superb efficient administrator as Chairman of the
Department in l946-51 when returning older veterans, far more mature
than those who never served in the Armed Forces, were quite touchy.
A Quaker weighing over 250 lbs., Harnwell serenely and effectively
prevented potential conflict in this older graduate student population.
(3) His sympathy for this nervous Navy veteran during his Oral Exam
for the Ph.D. degree: Noting how, after answering all previous questions,
I was sweating, stumped at that very last trick question, he did
not just chortle at my discomfort. Instead, leaning back in his
chair, Professor Harnwell, in an easy, slow, relaxed voice, suggested,
Howard, it might help if you drew a larger diagram than the tiny
one you drew on the board. I did, and instantly saw the answer!
Howard D. Greyber Gr53
In response to your question regarding the faculty member who most
stimulated me, and without a doubt : the late Jack E. Reece
of the History Department. Dr. Reece was a brilliant scholar who
conveyed his passion for learning in a riveting manner, whether
in a large lecture or an intimate seminar. He encouraged his students
to take a position and defend it, to make moral judgments about
the events they studied, and to argue their positions well, orally
and in writing. Jack Reece seemed to challenge me more each time
I took another course with him. Those courses and the role he played
as my History major advisor constituted the best educational experience
I have ever had.
Steve Sokolow C77
Dean Perkins of the School of Fine Arts most stimulated me
in my days at Penn. Struggling in my third year as a student of
architecture, the course of study was not what I had expected. I
met with Dean Perkins and during our discussion he said that architects
dont design buildings, they create space. At the age of 21 that
bit of wisdom didnt register with me at all. I wanted to design
buildings. Thus, I was stimulated to transfer to the Wharton School.
Now, as I observe architectural beauty in both structures and landscape,
I understand what Dean Perkins was trying to get me to understand.
Ken Thorn, W58
E. Digby Batlzell: for showing me a whole new way to think about
Robert H. Clark C63
After a B.S. in chemistry and an MBA at Wharton, it became obvious
to me that I had tasted two thin slices of the educational pie.
I took College Collateral evening courses at Penn, and fortunately
had Dr. Elizabeth Flower Gr39 in a couple of philosophy
courses. I felt as if she had sawed off the top of my head, put
her hands inside, and pulled out a lot of junk that I had accumulated.
She was the best teacher I ever had.
John Roughan WG50
The Penn faculty member who stimulated me most was Philip Rieff.
He taught an honors sociology class in the early 1980s that was
incredible. We spent a whole semester studying Franz Kafkas short
story: In The Penal Colony. For three hours each week we dissected
every word and sentence. Dr. Rieffs premise was that Franz Kafka
was no Darryl Zanuck and therefore every word, punctuation, and
choice of phrase had meaning. We only got through 15 pages! It was
a fabulous experience to learn from such a unique scholar in such
a unique way!
Keith Sanders C84
On arrival as first year students in Veterinary Medicine in 1952,
we found a new dean who was a recent practitioner and an accomplished
veterinary surgeon. Dean Mark W. Allam proved to be a remarkable
surgeon, an enthralling teacher, a unique administrator, a venerable
fund-raiser and, most of all, a friend to all. I can still see him,
although he was dean, hurrying into the lecture room from surgery
and tying his bow tie as he lectured on the fine points of surgery.
I can recall assisting him at the surgery table where no fault in
instrumentation, technique or temperature of the irrigation saline
In 1955-56, our class decided that faculty should be evaluated by
students. As chair of the committee, I was joined by several WW
II veteran classmates to present our findings and recommendations
to the dean. Although unwarned, he accepted our analyses with grace,
thanked us and promised improvements - a first for the School. In
later years, Dean Allam developed the benchmark program at New Bolton
Center, encouraged benefactors by driving the New Bolton Center
horse drawn carriage at weddings and originated the American College
of Veterinary Surgeons, in which I was later privileged to gain
diplomacy and to serve as president as he did.
In all of his roles as professor, surgeon, dean, assistant vice
president for medical affairs and dean emeritus, Mark was joined
by the charming and capable Lila in spreading the friendship of
Penn. It is no wonder that so many of the children of my era at
Penn are named Mark as is my eldest son. Who else could cook scrapple
and eggs in the morning after a good nights sleep in their home
and consider us lifelong friends? Who else would exchange similar
scrapple with a few pounds of Alabama pecans yearly without fail?
And who could speak so plainly of the love for Penn, only second
to the love for Lila, just a few days after her death and nearly
hours before his?
An excellent and memorable professor is not just that remarkable
person who can relay knowledge and foster thought, it is he or she
who can relate his or her and your experiences to life - all of
life, not just the few years of classical education. Dr. Mark Allam
lived the life, taught the life and shared the life so that each
of his students and later colleagues could carry the light of knowledge
and dedication to others.
Charles D. Knecht V56
I started Penn in its bi-centennial year 1940. I ended up as a 43er
with a Wharton BS in Economics as a very general major and a Navy
Commission. We took whatever mix of courses that would get us enough
credits to graduate (with none to spare) and complete all of our
required Naval Science courses in three years and a summer session.
Regular Wharton requirements like Stat. And Marketing were never
available when I was, so those requirements were waived. While for
immediate use Navy Comdr. Freedmans NS.44.Tactics and Problems
allowed me to shine at sea explaining to our skipper and training
group commander that the Flag Officers visual signal meant to order
us turn by columns but actually ordered us to all turn then and
there into a real disaster. Great teaching but that is not quite
the same as stimulating .
I was fortunate in falling into Sculley Bradleys American
Studies, before it was invented, in his course on the American Novel,
unheard of in those days. As much as I enjoyed that approach it
was surpassed by Prof. Shryocks (sp-you check!) History 70c: American
Social & Cultural History, given late in the afternoon, mostly
for school teachers, and History 173: American Cultural History
to 1865. He unfolded a new way of telling the stories of time and
place history bringing in the Doctor Rushs of this world and proving
to us that understanding what was going on in history was more than
the stories of top politicians and wars. In the 1940s this was
a radical and delightful new approach.
True, I spent the last 25 years of my working career teaching political
science and specializing in international security research, but
I kept the Shyrock approach in trying to understand those problems
too and adding photography to the mix. .In retirement having enough
of both security and presidential politics my wife Anna and
I have returned to telling the regional heritage stories and providing
the photographs of the people and places as Wayfinders in Westsylvania
Magazine. It remains great fun and stimulating. Hopefully, my
old professors would approve.
I had heard my father, C05 and L05, mention some of those in the
1926 picture but Owen Roberts at the Law School was the one we heard
the most about.
Lou Leopold W43
It was John La Monte whose History 30 (Mediaeval History)
lectures drew an overflow audience to the large lecture room on
the third floor of College Hall. The esoteric knowledge that I there
acquired became a life-long love, resulting in some 30 visits to
Europe and two years living in Istanbul, Turkey.
Bill Steltzer C51 GEd57
The faculty member that most influenced me was historian Lynn
Case whose knowledge of our heritage, modern European history,
seemed endless. He was a true scholar. I was fortunate to be in
a small class of only a dozen or so others in my first course on
Europe since 1815. Others must have felt the same way because years
later when he retired, students lined his path as he left College
Hall for the last time. That was during a college sit-in/protest
of some sort reported in the newspaper press.
S. Hamill Horne C56
For sure, the faculty member who most inspired me was Dr. Martin
Seligman. I took two courses with Dr. Seligman and also worked
in his lab for four years.
Dr. Seligman by word and example inspired many of us to pursue careers
in research. He inspired nothing less than a love for the scientific
method; he taught us to formulate hypotheses, and then to seek data
to confirm or refute those hypotheses.
Whats more, Dr. Seligman, through his own love for psychology and
the brain, inspired many of us to go into careers surrounding the
mind, be it in psychology, neuroscience, the social sciences, or
Above all, Dr. Seligman taught us to THINK like scientists, critically
evaluating our own ideas as well as those of others. Whats more,
all of it was done with an air of constructive iconoclasm that promoted
the formation of new paradigms.
Jon Slotkin C96
JKS Ghandi was the teacher who most inspired me during my
four years (1967-71) at Penn. I never worked harder or wanted to
earn an A more badly than in his undergraduate Finance course.
It was so clear that he loved the material. And I remember being
amused at the time at how inspired I could be about the topic of
Finance! In those days inspiration came more from Mayor Rizzo, College
Hall sit-ins, or a $.10 short beer during happy hour at the Onion
near 34th street. Four years ago when I brought my son, then a junior
in high school, to see the Penn campus, we strolled down Locust
Walk and into the remodeled Dietrich Hall. I walked past an office
with the nameplate JKS Ghandi. He wasnt there and I didnt get
a chance to share my memories with him. Thanks for this opportunity.
By the way, I got the A and the education that went with it. And
I dont remember ANY grade inflation in those days!
Bruce Lynn W71 C71