An exemplary professor

I too often like to tell crazy stories about Oberlin’s wild side, but rarely do I give it credit for its many virtues. I mentioned briefly in the previous post about the kindness of a certain music history professor; the story goes like this: I wrote a draft of my paper and submitted it Friday morning, the paper was due on Monday. I had a class with Mr. McGuire last year, for Classical music history. He responded in e-mail that he might not get to it that day as he was busy. Understanding the tardiness of my submission I let him know that anything he could get back to me would be helpful. Late Saturday night he e-mailed me back with suggestions and this surprising comment:
“I recall from MHST 245 that you do not work on Sundays in general for religious reasons, so if you need an additional 24 hours to complete this paper after reading my comments, please feel free to take it.”
I was so touched that one, he had remembered, and two he was willing to support my personal standard of sabbath dedication. Fortunately, I was able to wake up early Monday and finish it before the 5:00 deadline, but I thanked him sincerely for his consideration and thoughtfulness. He responded:
“I have nothing but the utmost respect for someone who can retain their spiritual beliefs and religious practices throughout an undergraduate education — and I think you are all the stronger for it. It is an honor to remember and respect them.”
This exchange has been a beautiful reminder to me of how important it is to sustain others beliefs and allow them to worship “how, where, and what they may.” I am so grateful for people like Charles McGuire who have learned to respect and value what others find important, even when it may not be to them. And to him I say, Thank you.

4 responses to “An exemplary professor”

  1. I definitely experienced the other end of the tolerance spectrum this morning in a class, but I remembered you’d written about this, and it made me feel a little less bummed about it!
    Enjoy your week!

  2. What a neat experience. I am also impressed that he remembered – it obviously made an impression on him as well as many others that you might not ever even know about!

  3. What a great guy. Impressive memory from last year and a fabulous human being for respecting your religious beliefs. Now you need to tell him you’ll no longer be able to turn in any assignments on Tuesdays because Monday night is FHE.

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