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May 22, 2006

Still teaching, UCSC's pioneers honored for their service

By Guy Lasnier

UCSC's interdisciplinary tradition was heralded with fond recollections at a May 19 Academic Senate celebration honoring 22 campus pioneers.

The pioneers--professors who are still teaching today and who were hired before July 1, 1970--recalled a smaller, vibrant and growing campus community in which interests were wide and responsibilities wider.

"In those days, the scientists, the social scientists, the humanists in the colleges talked to each other and enjoyed each other's company," remembered literature professor Murray Baumgarten, who was hired in 1966.

"It was a great combination across disciplines, across international boundaries," he said.

Economics professor David Kaun, also hired in 1966, recalled that "we didn't just speak truth to power, we spoke to each other. We said what we wanted to say with a little bit of humor."

Baumgarten and Kaun were joined by anthropology professor Adrienne Zihlman (1967) and earth sciences professor Gary Griggs (1968) in reminiscing with their fellow pioneers and colleagues who had gathered at University Center for a reception after the final Academic Senate meeting of the term.

"I feel like I grew up in Santa Cruz," Zihlman said.

Griggs remembered that Dean McHenry, the founding chancellor,  "personally interviewed every candidate and approved the cutting of any tree larger than six inches in diameter."

Each of the four speakers was selected from the 22 to make three-minute remarks on behalf of their fellow honorees. The three-minute limit was interpreted liberally. Forty-five minutes later, Academic Senate Chair Faye Crosby and Chancellor Denice Denton presented each pioneer with a plaque.

"They pioneered the interdisciplinarity that is a hallmark of UCSC," Denton said in her welcoming remarks earlier. They were "very prescient."

"We all stand on your shoulders," she said.

David Kliger, the campus provost and executive vice chancellor, noted the demands that the young faculty had to meet during the early years of UCSC. "It took a special breed to be in that group," said Kliger, who missed pioneer status by about a year.  "The college wanted all of your time and the department wanted all of your time."

Pioneers spoke of their service on academic senate committees, college committees, department committees as opportunities to get to know their colleagues from different disciplines and opportunities to have an influence on the direction of the young campus.

The two most often-asked questions today, Griggs said, are, "Are you still teaching?'' and "When are you going to retire?"

The 22 pioneers total 844 years of service from year of hire until today. They are Roger Anderson, chemistry/biochemistry; Frank Andrews, chemistry/biochemistry; Murray Baumgarten, literature; Claude Bernasconi, chemistry/biochemistry; Peter Bodenheimer, astronomy/astrophysics; Terry Burke, history; Robert Coe, earth sciences; Michael Cowan, American studies; Tony Fink, chemistry/biochemistry; Wally Goldfrank; sociology/Latin American and Latino studies; Gary Griggs, Earth sciences; Clemens Heusch, physics; John Isbister, economics; John Jordan, literature; David Kaun, economics; Peter Kenez, history; Marsh Leicester, literature; Joseph Miller, astronomy/astrophysics; Harry Noller, molecular, cell, and developmental biology; Thomas Schleich, chemistry/biochemistry; Donald Wittman, economics;  and Adrienne Zihlman, anthropology.

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