Faculty Go the Extra Mile for Students

John Ryan is a graduate student at San Diego State University which shares a graduate degree program with UCSB, and his PhD was on the line. His dissertation defense was scheduled for February 24th, and he’d arranged for his UCSB Department of Geography dissertation committee members to attend. Keith Clarke and Reg Golledge had tickets to fly from Santa Barbara to San Diego (via LAX) in time for the 12 noon defense, airport transportation had been organized for them, a special lunch had been ordered for them, and, then, Murphy’s Law struck.

Keith and Reg arrived at the Santa Barbara airport in time for their 8 am flight, only to be told that LAX was shut down for most of the day due to fog. Undaunted, “geospatial man” Keith rented a car and took off with Reg in tow. I’ll refrain from comments about British drivers and legal blindness when it comes to speed limits—suffice it to say that Keith and Reg got to SDSU in 4 hours flat.

And, yes, they had their special lunch. And, yes, a decidedly unnerved PhD candidate passed his defense. And, predictably, the drive back to Santa Barbara was a 6 and ½ hour nightmare. But the point is that the Department of Geography looks after its own, and “going the extra mile” is another example of why it excels. And, of course, we all know that there is no such thing as a “free lunch.”

Article by Bill Norrington


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