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The University Magazine

Outstanding in their fields

Readers remember faculty and staff who went the extra mile

In the past several issues of the magazine, we asked the question “Who do you love?” Following are some of the responses; we’ll share others in future issues.

If you would like to tell us about a favorite RIT faculty or staff member, send e-mail to umagwww@rit.edu, or write to Kathy Lindsley, Rochester Institute of Technology, University News Services, 132 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623.

Graham Carson

Bill Destler
Graham Carson

In agreement with many of his peers and students, I feel strongly that Charles “Graham” Carson, adjunct professor in the Foundations Department, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, should be the next recipient of the “Most Loved Professor” Award.

Graham has the incredible ability to connect with his students on a personal yet very casual level that makes everyone around him feel extremely comfortable. He takes the role of a professor, a mentor, as well as a big brother willingly. He does not treat his students like inexperienced little kids, but as young adults with great potential. Graham has a very easy-going attitude toward his students; however, please do not let this fool you. His standards for his students, as well as the work that they are expected to produce, are kept high.

Carson is knowledgeable about the skills that are vital to succeed in the design field and often shares his “real world” experiences. It’s nice to have someone who tells us what is realistic in terms of getting a job in the field and the expectations that go along with those responsibilities.

I cannot imagine a more loved teacher who would be more deserving of this recognition, and it is in RIT’s best interest that we make sure Mr. Charles “Graham” Carson stays with this institution for a long time.

Malerie Hervey
(Second-year interior design major)
Irondequoit, N.Y.

Hollis Todd

Bill Destler
Hollis Todd and students

It was my first year at RIT, 1961-62. Having received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force three days before opening day, I would be using the G.I. Bill as financial support. My wife and our 1-year-old daughter would be living in an apartment across the street from Monroe High School, where my wife would be teaching.

Nearing the end of the second quarter, I was standing in front of the photography department’s student files. There was a single piece of paper in my folder from the finance and admissions office. I would be dropped because there was no more money! I’d been doing quite well, even pulling As in Hollis Todd’s difficult physics course.

As I stood there unable to decide what to do or even how to feel, Hollis came up to me. He stopped and asked if there was something the matter. When I told him I’d been dropped, he ushered me into his office, saying something could be done.
Every professor was there but I don’t recall much of anything except what Hollis said after a moment and without hesitation: “Don’t worry about this. I’ll pay your tuition.”

What neither of us knew was that Congress had failed to pass the federal budget and so the G.I. Bill had not been financed. Within two weeks it was. Hollis’ gesture was the finest thing any teacher had ever done for me.

To put this into a little more perspective I’d like to add a story.

The hallways in the photography school were wide and high. Near the stairwell hung a wood-framed, 16x20-inch, black-and-white photo of a landscape. There was a full moon in a strange, striated dark sky above a small adobe village. I thought it one of the most beautiful images I’d ever seen.

I asked C.B. Neblette, head of the department, who made the photograph. He said, “Ansel Adams.” I asked if he might have his phone number to which he went through a Rolodex and wrote down a number in California. That evening I called.

Ansel answered and I said, “Hello Mr. Adams. I’m a student at RIT in photography and there’s a print of yours hanging high on the wall across from C.B. Neblette’s office. He told me it was yours and I wonder if it might be available.”

“For that image, Moonrise over Hernandez, I usually get $60. Since you’re a student, you may have it for $45.”

I didn’t have $45 in 1962.

Years later, 2001, I told this story to a photographers’ group I founded in 1996 in Monterey, Calif. Russ Levin, a photographer and now a gallery owner and dealer, was in the audience. After the gathering, he came up to me and said, “If Ansel were alive today and was here, he would sell you that print for $45.” I fully believe he would have for I’d met Ansel at the Eastman House numerous times when I worked there as staff photographer, 1963-1966. He was most gracious as was my boss, Beaumont Newhall, the Eastman House director.

Today I still can’t afford the print!

Don Eddy ’63, ’01
(photography, multidisciplinary studies)
Bellaire, Texas