From Our Readers
To the Editors of The Crimson:
I was deeply saddened to learn that professor Alan Brinkley did not become a tenured professor in Harvard's History Department.
As a recent Harvard college graduate who concentrated in American History, I know I speak for many of my classmates and myself in remembering the profound impact Professor Brinkley made on us students. His lectures were thought-provoking, his assigned readings challenging.
Professor Brinkley offered us more than "high standards of scholarship," as a well known Harvard history professor put it recently. I remember the difficult time I had with my general exam in American History in March of my senior year. Several days after I had taken the exam, Professor Brinkley sent a note to me at Winthrop House in which he said that he would like me to call his office soon and that we should sit down together so he could help me understand how I could improve my work. I remember how reassured I felt that a Harvard professor who had won all sorts of awards and had important books to his credit would take the time to reach out to help one of his students.
Good character seems to be an important element to seek in a tenured professor. Professor Brinkley's wonderful scholarship, his keen mind and sense of humor will be missed by many of us students who took his courses, but the decency, compassion, and good character he brought to the History Department and which he'll take with him will leave Robinson Hall with a certain sense of emptiness.