I am saddened by David’s passing. He was a remarkable professor and person. His mentoring changed my life. David helped me discover my intellect. While working in a couple of dead end jobs after high school, and no family support for college, I decided to pursue college on my own. I read about Evergreen and moved from the east coast to attend. After a year of factory work in Seattle, I arrived at Evergreen in the mid-70’s with my hard won savings and seeking enlightenment. David delivered beyond my expectations.
David was my first faculty. He and David Marr designed a year long study of the great 19th century thought leaders. It covered the history of ideas, philosophy, art, poetry, and culture. David gave the most imaginative lectures and assignments. Known as “The Elegant Vintage”, we had 22 passionate, curious students. David and David formed a rich team learning environment. Students would stay up until 2:00AM together reading Hegel, Freud, Thoreau, Emerson, and other greats. We drank coffee from thermoses and swapped ideas and insights. The Davids fueled us with their passionate, creative teaching.
David led weekly seminars where the energy and ideas in the team were infectious. My most memorable came one afternoon reading philosophy, writing and thinking. It propelled me headlong into a major insight. I discovered that how I viewed the world was a cultural construct inherited from my social history. It was not a solid thing; it was relative and subject to deeply held, yet faulty assumptions. This hit me with gut wrenching force. Unnerved, I found David in his office. David was so good to me. I was flooded with questions. He sat for an hour with me and led me through a wonderful discussion about my questions. He said, “Your parachute just opened. We designed the curriculum to do this. It worked.” He smiled a huge grin and said, “Ideas are one of the most powerful forces in our lives”.
After this, David continued to mentor me. He introduced me to Morse Peckham’s work and had Morse visit from Pennsylvania to lecture to us. This was great. David’s dedication to working with me on my rather crude thinking and writing propelled me to into a professional life applying culture theory and organizational psychology to public sector organizations. Through his mentorship, David laid the foundation for a living using bold ideas, a love of learning in teams, humanitarian work, and a passion for thought provoking reading.
David was a key contributor to Evergreen’s reputation as “College that Changes Lives”. He nurtured me through the “glass ceiling” imposed on my upbringing. I am indebted for his gifts to me as a young student. He efforts live on in me today. David was one of the finest professors a student could have.