By George Baer
Those were Glory Days. We learned to be pioneers, to create a College, to value our creation, to sustain a fledgling University, to share a mission, and a success. I hope those experiences stood us well in after-years. They did me. Good luck on Reunion planning. Old friends; other times.
(1) Glory Days. Youth, of course, beginning something new, common cause, in a setting of incredible beauty. The woods, the walks, the views, the banana slugs. New friends. Who could want anything more?
(2) Pioneers. Crown was unfinished. Planks to walk across the mud. ‘Houses’ yet unnamed. For me, coming from a traditional faculty role at Dartmouth in New Hampshire, to Leonardo House as a Resident Preceptor, with an infant daughter, returning to a very different California (it was, sigh, ‘the sixties’), with much of what we all did establishing precedent: pioneers.
(3) Creating a College. Kenneth Thimann engaged us all. Students voted on House names: “Maxwell House” you remember. Propinquity meant we knew one-another immediately, and well. The idea was collegiate; the College physically expressed that idea. And how beautiful the College was!
(4) And we were proud of our creation.
(5) Sustaining the fledgling University. Basic to this was a high academic standard. To which the faculty, some of great distinction and renown, was fully committed. The Core Course, the Crown Core Course, with its emphasis on the nature and social value of science, its complementarity to the courses in other colleges, the idea of a College faculty around a College course, independent yet supportive of the rest of UCSC and its general mission, watching that entity emerge during our time, our loyalty to Crown even as professionalized and traditional Departments drew faculty to another loyalty, yet, as Galileo said: “and yet it moves.”
(6) It was your success. Your class proved the possibility and the value of Crown College.
(7) And not to be forgotten, as your Jubilee proves. Happy Anniversary and Fond Memories of a unique moment in time and place.
Best wishes, George Baer
Being a two-year resident of Leonardo House, I have fond memories of chatting with, and enjoying the warmth of, you and your wife. I also loved zyour modern European history class. Although I did not give up my plan to become a physician to follow your suggestion to become a historian, your obvious excitement about going to Europe to examine a newly declassified trove of world war two documents was contagious.
I remember you and your family fondly and enjoyed babysitting.
I can’t thank you enough for your time invested in helping me with my first core course paper, a turning point in my studies and my writing.
Thank you also for the generosity of time and humor that you, and your fellow Crown professors, shared with us in lingering conversations over, and following, lunch. Accessibility to professors on a more personal and interactive level by undergrads, as we enjoyed at Crown, was a rarity at other institutions.
Our experience at Crown was transformative. We learned how to truly learn, study, and hunger for it. We were immersed in a cultural river flowing and carrying us into many unique and unplanned adventures and experiences beyond what we ever anticipated.
I didn’t realize the extent of this gift until I attended grad school at UC Davis, where, for so many students, the grade was the goal rather than the learning. It was like visiting a foreign country after my UCSC/Crown experience.
Thank you for investing in us.