HERE'S WHAT YOU SAID
My favorite professor was Dr. Richard Kelly (Biology). He always had a positive attitude, and his enthusiasm for his many diverse interests made you want to learn. He had high standards, but was also very easygoing and approachable. -Penny Dobbins ’81
My vote is for Betty Berger, who was an instructor in what was called the Commerce Department. Her main area of instruction was Shorthand (which was a requirement for a BS in Commerce) and she taught all four semesters.
In the 50s and early 60s, a good portion of the male students were veterans of Korea and Vietnam, and we were all full of ourselves. Betty Berger sure made us humble. Shorthand wasn't exactly a male oriented skill and we all struggled to eke out a "C" (in my case, it took several tries). Betty was unbendable ... if you could hit a dictation speed of 80 words a minute, you got a good grade. Less than 80, it was better luck next term.
Betty Berger was a purist and what we took away from her classes was not the lightning speed of a pencil on a steno pad, but that excellence was the standard we should strive for in education and in life. -Howard Bagley ‘57
Dr. Mark Nepo, Poetry. I had classes with him in 1990 and 1991. He helped us use poetry to learn about ourselves and grow as human beings. He taught that poetry at its essence is about expressing that which feels inexpressible, communicating from the heart. He treated all of his students with respect and kindness, took us seriously, and was generous with his time. -Melissa Groveman ‘92
Easily Motier Haskins with a close second Neil Cervera both of the Social Welfare Department ... They were both able to convey the course work by making it relevant and interesting to all. -Yesenia Carrillo '96
My favorite professor was Dr. Peter Furst of the Anthropology Department. Dr. Furst's classes about pre-Columbian civilizations in Mexico instilled a lifelong fascination in me about those cultures. He was passionate, conversational yet eloquent in his lectures, a heck of a nice guy, and head-and-shoulders above his contemporaries in the Department. -Dan Charnas '74
Between 1955 and 1958 I was blessed to have Dr. Alan Benton for Field Biology and Ornithology. Being a NYC girl I really needed help. Dr. Benton just kept teaching, never reprimanding, showing, and pointing to birds again and again. To this day I think of him often, whenever I see a bird and amazingly know what it is. -Bunny Bromfield Bard '58
Professor Julie Gutmann was my most influential professor at Albany. I always left her class feeling inspired and looking at the 'typical' things in life an entirely different way. She inspired me to pursue reading different ethnic authors and make reading a daily part of my day. -Beth Seiffer ‘99
Back in the olden days, (I was there from '60-'64 ) sociology was not an option as a major or minor. As part of my history minor, I took my first sociology course from Paul Wheeler. Aside from the fact that he was a major hunk – to my way of thinking, anyway – he was a wonderful teacher. He was amusing, but demanding, and he didn't let us get away with the kind of laziness that could have been part of the study of what was, to me, anyway, sometimes pretty obvious. I took all of the courses I could in sociology as a result of his teaching. Paul Wheeler was the professor I remember best, and the best teacher I remember. -Deena Daniels Yachymiak ‘64
Dr. Robert Bangert-Drowns in the ETAP department of the School of Education is my favorite professor. I graduated from the ETAP Ph.D. in Education program in 1999. I worked for Bob Bangert-Drowns as a research assistant during my Ph.D. fellowship. Bob was a member of my committee, and a favorite teacher of mine. He was a real mentor to me throughout my coursework and taught me an enormous amount about the process of research. He was entertaining in the classroom and made fairly difficult material easy to understand. There was one course that I took that I was the only student and he was the faculty member. He made the discussions exciting even with only one student. He founded and kept going an important faculty-student forum called ACRIDAT in which Ph.D. students are able to share their research with each other and with faculty in a stimulating informal setting.
I was one of those PhD students who starts off in a dramatic flurry to take as many courses as possible and to hurry and determine their research needs and quickly narrow down their dissertation topic. I worked full time throughout my study as a faculty member at a small liberal arts college about 75 miles from Albany. I took off one semester to accomplish my full-time study residency requirement. At the end of that year, I had only the final analysis and writing of the last part of the dissertation to accomplish. I returned to my full time position and became the chairperson of a busy nursing department at that college.
As the story often goes for adult learners, my work position and my family needs took precedence over completion of the dissertation. I ended up moving out of the state to another busy position and was ABD for a long time. Bob became a lifeline for me after I had finished the coursework. He never gave up on my abilities, nor thought that I wouldn't finish the dissertation. He patiently "nudged" me each semester to take the time to put myself first long enough to finish the work and then get on with my life post Ph.D. He at times would write emails telling me how valuable my research was and how much they all wanted to call me Dr. Ruland.
During this time I had several family crises, death of a parent, and increasing responsibility at my new position. Bob would send me interesting articles about my topic, and every now and again just write a quick note to remind me that I was well worth the Ph.D. I finally set aside a summer to finish the project and to get back into the research mode due to an urgent push by Bob.
He is a wonderful asset to the world of educational research. I feel honored that I was able to work with him. -Judith Ruland ‘99
Without doubt, my favorite professor at SUNY was Agnes Futterer. As an English major who graduated in 1957, I came to Albany as a transfer from Brandeis University in my sophomore year. I am an Albany native who had gone to Albany High next door, but Albany State, as we called it then, was a new and foreign place for me. Agnes Futterer took me under her wing and guided me not only into the world of commuter college student but also into the wonderful world of theater, which has been my passion and life ever since. My first job was in Baltimore teaching in Eastern High School and while I had five English classes, I also became the drama coach. Working with these students was a marvelous experience and I called on every trick Miss Futterer had shown me to succeed. Although I taught for only three years then, I have relied on her teaching ever since. To this day, 47 years later, I still use the skills that I learned in her Oral Interpretation class as I teach acting in various places in Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. Her memory and her knowledge are burned into my mind and are an ever present reminder of my days at Albany State. -Paula Segal Shulak '57
There are several candidates for favorite professor, but Dr. Margaret Stewart of the Biology Department is my choice. She delivered great lectures that held your interest even when the class was very large (back in the 60s, large wasn't quite the size of today) and there could be little or no questioning and feedback. But lab was the place where I learned how to conduct scientific inquiry under her guidance. Invertebrate Zoology, the second time through, the light came on. Dr. Stewart was the professor for both times I took the course. However, the second time she was also the lab instructor. Her guided questioning led me to discover the facts. I'll never forget a trip to the Normaskill in Guilderland for Field Biology. She had us noticing everything there was to see about nature – flora, fauna, water, sky – everything. What a wonderful teacher! -Donna Skinner Gibson '64
I had many fine teachers at "Albany State," but Dr. Frank Carrino was, by far, the best. Aside from the coursework in my major field (Spanish), Frank helped me to understand what learning was all about. He trusted me to work as one of his student assistants in the first Spanish class via TV. When I was sure that I was going to fail Robert Rienow's Sociology course for non Social Studies majors ("no matter how well prepared I am it's never enough!" I whined), Frank assured me that I was OK – that the sign of a truly educated person is one who knows what he doesn't know. Perhaps that won't seem profound to others, but it made an impression on me when I needed it and I passed it on to many of my students throughout the years. I could write pages about Dr. Carrino whose friendship I valued so much. I still treasure the last letter he wrote to us just two weeks before his death. -Helen Hofmann Winkler '58
My favorite professor in Albany was Dr. Paul Cummings. I had him for three semesters (Calculus I & II and Statistics). Dr. Cummings made himself available both inside the classroom and during his office hours. Math is not a fun course, but Dr. Cummings tried to make it fun. -Rose Blezin ‘04
I could not choose just one favorite professor! I must list at least three.
Dr. Ruth Waseley was my methods teacher. She was so energetic, optimistic, and fun. There was never a dull moment in her class. I had the joy of seeing her in action as well at the Milne school where I did my student teaching. We shared a big office there. She could type faster with two fingers than anyone else I know with ten. The content of her course was voluminous. I still have my notebook filled with great ideas, many of which I used in the classroom over a 34 year career. One of the saddest days in my life was when Dr. Francine Frank announced to our linguistics class that Dr. Waseley had passed away unexpectedly. This was in our senior year. It is so appropriate that my colleagues in NYSAFLT give an award each year to an outstanding classroom teacher in her name. An honor she well deserved!
Dr. Ruth Schmidt was my Spanish professor in my freshman year. She was the epitome of a respected professional educator. She was very knowledgeable, kind, encouraging. She became someone to emulate as she was a strong role model for me. She was also a person of deep faith which she blended so naturally with her strong academic preparation. It was a joy to be in her class. I looked forward to it every day, even at 8:00 in the morning!
Dr. Esther Azzario was also one of my memorable Spanish professors. Being from Argentina, she brought a vibrant native persona to the second language experience. Her enriching stories and compassion were an important part of her teaching. She was always concerned for her students' progress, and let us know how disappointed she was when we hadn't learned our "vocabulario." She motivated me to be prepared for each class, and to always put forth my best effort. She regularly tried to engage the students in discussion and active participation. Believe it or not, I actually helped her learn how to drive! That took our teacher-student relationship to a whole new level. -Gary Behrns ‘69
I graduated in 1973 and I still remember the professor who, was by far, the best ... Professor Wilkie in the Rhetoric and Public Address (Communications) Department. Great sense of humor, great teaching style and inspirational! -Ann Abrams Feinstein ’73
W. Chris Buss – School of Business -Michael I. Kwart ’80
Tom Smith in the English department. He had a passion for literature that transmitted itself to his students, and he was very, very funny. I was sorry to read that he had died a few years ago. -Leslie Bergson ’72
I am sure you are going find a great many responses indicating Helen Horowitz was their favorite professor. Helen had a way of making each of her young students and advisees feel very special and cared for at very large place. Many of us had come from high schools with a total class population of 600 students, only to find ourselves in one single class (RCO100) with a population of 600 students. After taking ECO100A (Introductory Macroeconomics) I could not imagine anyone in their right mind ever wanting to continue their studies in this field. I, like many of my classmates, needed to take the economic classes because they were prerequisites for undergraduate Business School admission. After taking ECO100B (Introductory Microeconomics), with Helen Horowitz as the professor, I could not imagine anyone not wanting to pursue an undergraduate career in Economics. She had a way of inspiring her students and made the material very clear and interesting. I can still remember her use of a Dave Cash baseball card (one of baseball’s first free agents when discussing the concept of economic rent. That was over 20 years ago.) You wanted to do well in her class. You wanted to be in her presence in general. As we wend our way through life there are relatively very few people who really influence the direction we will ultimately take. Like John Levato was for so many business school undergraduates, Helen Horowitz was one of these people for me as an Economics major.
I have copied John here, another ICON of the institution, as I believe he would share a lot of the same views I have. - Nick Aprigliano ’83, ’85
Helen Horowitz, because she was amazing! -Susan Hausman Udasin '80
Dr. Frank Pogue Chair of Afro/American Studies Dept. Was one of SUNY Albany's best administrator/instructors and one of the best teachers I have every had in all of my years of classroom/instructional involvement. Too bad he's gone and worse too bad there may not be many more like him. -William Pendelton ‘77
Dr. Smith (Finance). Learned so much from him and the difficult projects he assigned truly left me with lasting skills & knowledge including fundamentals of finance, excel skills and teamwork. -Therese Willett ’96
Gordon Gallup was, hands down, the most engaging and interesting professor I had the opportunity to meet. Evolutionary Psychology as taught by Professor Gallup is a class that I would recommend to students regardless of major. His in-depth knowledge of the subject matter and personal mannerisms combine for an unforgettable class. Simply the best! -Allan Richter '03
My favorite professor was John Monfasani of the history department. I studied with him for my BA (1988) and MA (1989). I have since gone on to become a history professor myself. My memories are of a serious scholar who cared intensely about students who cared, who had a sense of humor, and who introduced me to the world of professional scholarship, himself always serving as the best example. -Chris Celenza ’88, ’89
My favorite professor was Helen Triantafillou. She had a great personality, conveyed the material well and I always felt she cared how I did. She encouraged me in my pursuit of Inter-American Studies. -Ron Case '67
Mary Goggin in the Latin department – 1953-57. She was such a kind and gentle spirit. She put students at ease with her gentle demeanor and was always available to assist a student with an academic issue. -Helen V. D'Avignon ’57
Published by: UAlbany Office of Alumni Relations
www.albany.edu/alumni / firstname.lastname@example.org