In Memoriam

Your course instructor Jonathan Shefftz never became a university professor like his father, Melvin Charles Shefftz, yet he nevertheless owes both his skiing and teaching skills to Professor Shefftz.

You can read about read about the late Professor Shefftz here:

And here are some remembrances from former students of Professor Shefftz:
“[. . . ] a fellow former student and admirer of your father. I took two of his courses at Binghamton. I had been a Russian linguist in the military prior to going to school and this fascinated your father, which resulted in many spirited conversations after class. He remains the brightest memory from my academic career.”
“I started my Binghamton career intent on being a lawyer.  Then I took his European history survey. Your father filled the room with commanding intellect and passion and changed my life. I have been teaching history at a small private school in NYC for the past fifteen years. Prof. Shefftz is the reason I have been so happy doing what I have been doing.”
“Your dad was a fine professor and helped all of us get started as young historians in the formative years of the doctoral program. His History of History boded well for all of us. I have often thought of him in my long career here.”
“I was an avid student of Mel's from 1995 to 1998 and I think I must have taken about 5 courses from him.  I also bombarded him quite regularly in his office hours.  Mel's the reason why I found out about democratic socialism – with both of my parents Republican-leaning I certainly don't think I would have found out about this on my own.  And, finally, I was one of the students that Mel discouraged from going to law school.  I am so glad that he convinced me [...] to pursue a doctorate in British history.  This fall I am going to be teaching a survey lecture course in Modern Britain for the first time.  I can still remember that course fondly – it was Fall of 1995, my very first semester on campus.  He will surely be missed.”
“I first took a class with Mel in 1966 or 67, and went on to take several more. [...H]e was brilliant, and almost supernaturally learned. [...] Mel's lectures often were hilariously funny.  My recollection is that I spent half his classes furiously writing notes, and the other half gasping like an asthmatic at his jokes.  What I most admired about Mel though – what I really loved about him – was his unusual and often touching personality. Though passionate, Mel had no malice (well, perhaps I should say little malice) and while he had pride in his own talents, it was not the sort of pride that required him to denigrate others in order to feel better about himself. He also had a deep honesty: in the midst of a heated debate, if his opponent brought up some fact that counted against Mel's position, Mel would acknowledge that his opponent had a point, and then modify his argument to make it more nuanced, more subtle, to encompass both the essence of his own original position and the point his opponent had made.”

No comments: