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ISSUE 119 VOL 1 PUBLISHED 9/16/2005

Faculty members leave memories

By Lauren Radomski
Advertising Manager

Friday, September 16, 2005

St. Olaf mourned the passing of five former faculty members this summer, each of whom played a unique role in the development of both specific departments and the college as a whole.

One of these faculty members was Rodney Grubb, who spent 32 years in the department of political science, from 1968 – 2000. According to Professor Emeritus Charles Umbanhowar, Grubb "was responsible for establishing the department of political science at St. Olaf" by bringing it direction, continuity and credibility.

Outside of the classroom, Grubb was an assistant football coach, eventually stepping in to replace head coach Don Canfield upon Canfield’s death. Professor Emeritus and swimming coach Dave Hauck saw this action as indicative of Grubb’s compassion for others and dedication to his players. "He did it because it was the right thing to do, while realizing that it would be a very difficult situation to be in," Hauck said.

Another faculty member who helped to shape both academic and campus life was George Helling. Helling joined the department of sociology in 1952, where he specialized in social change, social theory, human evolution and sociobiology. In 1962, Helling left St. Olaf to teach at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, but returned in 1969. Helling was involved with St. Olaf’s paracollege, which was based on the English tutorial system and allowed students to form their own majors.

Professor of Sociology Mike Leming remembers Helling as "a very complex man" with "incredibly innovative ideas." According to Leming, Helling contributed to the design of Rand Hall. Helling held the belief that the use of suites would lead to better interaction among students.

Some professors left their marks by encouraging serious reflection on topics within their fields of study. Ann Kelley, who started at St. Olaf in 1969 in the political science department, addressed the decline of American politics as the leader of a discussion group filled with St. Olaf and Carleton faculty. "Direct and public spirited, she represented the best of American citizenship," Umbanhowar said.

Still other faculty are remembered as much for their quirks as their contributions to academia. Don Hoiness brought with him a sense of humor when he joined the St. Olaf music faculty in the early 1960s. According to Professor of Music Alice Hanson, Hoiness "knew thousands of jokes involving musicians, opera singers and composers. He laughed at his and our foibles."

Students, faculty and staff will also remember Hoiness's infamous dog, a terrier who would often sit in on music lessons and vomit in the corner when students sang out of tune.

Another music professor, Sigurd Fredrickson, was described by Hanson as a "wonderful teacher committed to the performance and understanding of music." Fredrickson, who taught voice and music history, especially enjoyed leading students on trips abroad. He traveled with various music organizations to countries such as Germany, Austria, Italy, Norway and Sweden. Fredrickson had a strong sense of pride in his Swedish background. "As a Swede among a sea of Norskies, he enjoyed the local Swedish clubs when they celebrated Mid-summer," Hanson said.

Although varied in their careers and legacies, these former professors now share the gratitude of students and faculty, past and present.

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