TRIBUTE TO JOHN AND
behalf of the Society, I would like to thank John and Chris for all
efforts in support of SAFS and its goals.
Both have been active in a variety of roles as President and as
Newsletter Editor, as writers and speakers, and as benefactors.
first met John about 25 years ago at an Undergraduate Thesis
both of us were professors of the senior
research thesis course at our universities.
I don’t remember the details of what we talked about but I still remember my first impression:
John was sure of himself -- very, very sure
of himself. I didn’t know what to make of
that extraordinary self-confidence at the time, but I have since
the reason John always seems so sure of himself is because he thinks
problems carefully and fully, seemingly writing a short paper about
argument he’s ever had with anyone.
Seldom does one get a response from John that doesn’t include
‘…but see the attached files.’
is also cool under the pressure of debate.
At the 1992 University in Jeopardy conference, John was a panel
who had apparently aroused the ire of an audience member who took a
of time to criticize John for his motives, bad intentions, misguided
and the like. John replied to the
critic’s ad hominem attack with a devastating retort:
The issue isn’t whether my motives are pure
but whether my arguments are correct.
Silence followed, and everyone realized that the critic had not
counterargument against John.
of you may think that on occasion John can be abrasive, but I believe
is John’s unique way of showing affection.
He and I were both invited to appear on Michael Coren’s show to
about preferential hiring in universities. Two other profs were invited to defend preferences.
While we were walking the hallway before the
show, plotting our strategy as to how we planned to win the debate,
something that I wanted to add to.
Instead of the expected ‘great thought Clive,’
John replied harshly ‘don’t interrupt
me.’ I quickly rationalized:
only treats his friends like this.
of John’s favorite sparring partners in recent years
Robert Birgeneau, the
University of Toronto. John tried
socialize his president on the right way to think about diversity and
the purpose of the university. I don’t
think John was all that successful, but John had a grudging admiration
that expressed itself oddly, I think. On
more than one occasion John referred to Birgeneau as handsome in a Cary
Grant sort-of-way. We
do not have the time here to delve into
the Freudian implications of this characterization, but we do have a
is appropriate. John I’d like to present
you with a framed photograph of Bob Birgeneau that you could place on
would also like to highlight John’s brilliant analysis of contrasting
totalitarianism of the iron-fisted, Stalinist type with Political
as totalitarianism clothed in a velvet glove.
I’m proud to say that after a great deal of work I was able to
the original velvet glove that has been kept in a safe in the
the National Women’s Organization. I
present you with the Velvet Glove. Use
also have a couple of other gifts that you and Chris can enjoy when you’re settled in Sydney. Here’s a book
of Canadian Jokes that we hope will help you remember Canada fondly, and here’s another humor book,
I hate Canadians’ which will help reinforce your reasons for leaving Canada.
of luck from all of us for a wonderful life in Australia.