Welcome to "OU Magazine’s" Letters to the Editor section. Our recent story on Distinguished Professor Mike Sevilla got several readers thinking about professors who made a difference in their lives and careers. One reader shares how his professor instilled a lifelong love of French and another tells of many hours of vigorous debate and warm conversations in the old Econ Lounge. We'd like to hear from you, too.
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Professors who made lasting impressions
My name is Andy Cardimen and I am a 1988 graduate. My original plan was to attend OU for two years, and then transfer to the University of Michigan. Fortunately for me, I met a professor in my freshman year who would inspire me to stay at Oakland and complete two separate undergraduate degrees, a bachelor of science in finance and a bachelor of arts in French.
Although I had never studied a foreign language before, I knew college would provide an opportunity to do so. So, in addition to my pre-core business classes, I enrolled in French with Professor Don R. Iodice. I had no idea this decision would impact the remainder of my OU experience, provide me an opportunity to study in France and drive me to completing a French degree.
Although I struggled those first few semesters to learn vocabulary, verb conjugation and proper dialect, Professor Iodice was always supportive. His style in the classroom and his sincere desire to have students not only learn, but love French, are his greatest skills. He combined humor, role playing, acting and repetition to teach the language. Several times during my time at OU, he and his wife opened their home to host an evening of French foods and conversation. From the moment students walked into his home, only French was permitted to be spoken. At his own expense, Professor Iodice would serve the most spectacular foods, including escargot, French cheese, delicious breads, and a traditional continental entree (I remember the best coq au vin!)
Professor Iodice was an instructor who inspired his students to enjoy learning a new language and culture. I understand that he retired some years ago, but his impact on me and other students continues on. From all of us, merci beaucoup Monsieur Professor!
Andy Cardimen, CAS ’88
The professor who inspired me was Marc Briod of the education department. He consistently challenged me while remaining supportive. He was flexible with his time. Dr. Briod was eager to work with me on an independent project that was of interest to me. The two classes with Professor Briod allowed my program to be extraordinary instead of average!
Kirk Sattelmeier, MED ’99
Royal Oak, Mich.
I am a graduate of the class of ’69 and my fondest memory of OU was hanging around the old Econ Lounge behind Professor Robbin Hough’s office in North Foundation Hall. The Econ Lounge was a place where some of the business and economics students would meet.
Back in those days, the econ department coffee pot was kept in the lounge. Mary Isabell (the department administrator) would start the first pot in the morning and Professor Hough and the rest of the staff (including professors Eleftherios Botsas, John Hurd II, Siddheshwar Mitra, Norton Seeber, and Edward Starr) would come into the lounge throughout the day. It was during these informal interactions that we would get into discussions (and sometimes heated debates) on various economic issues of the day. Sometimes these discussions turned into ad hoc classroom sessions. Through these interactions and learning experiences, we formed a closer relationship with the professors. Through these relationships, we learned how truly caring, engaging and dedicated our professors were toward furthering our knowledge and education.
What I learned most from Professor Hough and his staff was how to think and how to approach a problem. What I found out was that, when applying these skills to everyday work, the ability to lead just naturally follows. The skills learned from my OU education, and Professor Hough and his staff particularly, have carried me throughout my entire career.
While he is no longer with us, I want to recognize the unique and innovative teaching that Professor Hough and his staff applied in the development of so many business and economic students — especially those of us hanging around the Econ Lounge.
Curt Anderson, SBA ’69
The Woodlands, Texas