Whether they told you to "shape up or drop out," stayed up all night helping you prepare for a test, or just made you laugh with their quintessentially professorial quirks, there are certain professors you'll never forget. That's what we heard you say, over and over again, when we asked for stories of memorable UNH professors. So many reminiscences came in that we've created a web page at www.alumni.unh.edu/professors to post them all. (Full-length versions of the stories that appeared in the magazine, below, are posted there as well.) Read on for some examples in the following pages. We hope you enjoy these stories as much as we did.
Illustration by Michael Witte, all rights reserved
Bake Off! Frances Platts '33, Home Economics
I started at UNH in 1949, but because I enlisted for the Korean War, I didn't get back to campus until 1953. I was in the hotel school, and one of the requirements was to take two home economics classes. The first one was Home Ec 15, and it was a horrible class. We had to bake cookies and brownies, that type of thing. I had just come back from the war, where I was on the front lines with a field artillery observation battalion. I had four battle stars and a Purple Heart. I couldn't take that class cold turkey--I had to be fortified. So I'd go down to the American Legion post in Newmarket beforehand. Miss Frances Platts taught the class. Once when I walked into her class well fortified, she said, "John, what is that smell?" I told her, "That's cleaning fluid on my shirt." She bought it--she was a sheltered lady. The real reason she is my favorite professor is that there were all these girls in the class. One of them, Frances Legallee '56, and I started getting friendly. She was a big help in getting my lab report done, I'll tell you. And 53 years later, we're still baking cookies together.
—Jack Barnes '56
Don't Shoot the Messenger Hermon L. Slobin, Mathematics
Hermon L. Slobin taught mathematics at UNH from 1919 until his retirement in 1948. Born in the Russian village of Smolian in 1883, he was 12 years old when he emigrated to America. Dr. Slobin was well known for his sense of humor. "Flunk is an intransitive verb," he told his classes. "I don't flunk you, I merely record your flunk!" —From the UNH Archives
Mission Impossible William Mosberg, Mechanical Engineering
I remember Professor Mosberg standing in front of our thermodynamics class, explaining his policy on tests. He said, "The tests will be open book, open note . . . bring anything you want--it won't help." I would not have laughed that day if I had realized that he was serious. —Matthew Camillieri '92
And Don't Trip Over My Wellies on Your Way Out Max Maynard, English
One of my first professors at UNH when I arrived in January 1965 as a young graduate student in English was the popular iconoclast Max Maynard, well known for his humanities classes' forays into Boston for cultural events and pub crawls, and for his still-thick British accent, which I suspect he perpetuated and embellished somewhat for effect. I was quite confident of my abilities in his class, having worked previously as a trade publication writer and editor. I thought I was doing well in Max's survey class on 18th-century English literature until he returned my first essay, graded C+. Of course I requested a meeting. He sat back in his chair, hands clasped atop his white-haired head as I made my case. "I can't believe this is worth only a C+," I said, throwing my best ammunition at him. "I was a professional magazine writer in New York before I came to UNH." Without missing a beat or removing his hands from the top of his head, he replied, "Well, sir, it must have been a lousy magazine."
—David Hubler '65G
Illustration by Michael Witte, all rights reserved
Animal Liberation William Yale '28, History
William Yale, an authority on the Middle East who taught at UNH from 1928 to 1957, once had a small dog that frequently accompanied him to class. The dog was well behaved, sitting quietly and attentively in the front of the room during the professor's lectures. One day, however, as Yale lectured to his summer-school class on European and world history, the dog sat back, yawned quite audibly, got up and left the room. This was too much for the professor. Slamming his books together, he said, "If it's too dry for my little dog, it's too dry for you! Class dismissed!"
—From the UNH Archives
Out of Pocket Expenses Nobel K. Peterson, Natural Resources
At one point during my first semester I was questioning the value of staying in school. My draft number was low and even though the war was winding down, there was still a possibility my number would be called. I first met Nobel Peterson in his Soils 501 class. I was in lab one day when Doc Peterson struck up a conversation. I told him I was going to quit and figure out what to do with my life. I explained school was expensive and I couldn't rationalize staying. Two weeks later, he asked me if I'd like to work in the lab cleaning test tubes and doing other general work. I said I'd give it a try. A few weeks later, he hired me to work a couple extra hours around the apartment house where he and his wife, Doris, lived on Woodman Road. Then he asked if I knew anything about audiovisual equipment and if I could help him prep materials for lectures. Eventually, Jim Booth '74 and I were helping him orchestrate his lectures. (At one point, for his first lecture of the year, we made him appear in a cloud of smoke.) He kept me working for three years, including summer jobs doing field research. I found out only after he passed away that all that time he had paid my salary out of his own pocket. I stayed in school because of him. I think he saved my life.
—Jeff Groman '74
Down with Busy Bodies Elizabeth Crepeau '66, '88G, Occupational Therapy
In the early '70s, as a brand spanking new and rather difficult OT student (that is to say, not really used to listening to others, but rather doing things my own way), I loved learning from Elizabeth Crepeau, professor of occupational therapy. One example was her lecture on what it meant to be educated: it wasn't so much about knowing things, but knowing how to learn. I have also often recalled her admonition to let little old ladies staring out the window do just that if that was their occupation of choice; with patients, students, even my own parents, I try to resist the urge to make OT be about being busy and let it just be about living as one wishes.
—Laurel Cargill Radley '78