Anitra Smith (anitra) wrote,
Anitra Smith

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Herbert Beall

I did make it to Herb Beall's memorial service this morning. The choir did a fine job singing, and a small section of the band played behind us. ramius5889, I thought you said you had quit the band. I know I saw you back there.

Thinking back to freshman year...

Professor Beall was my teacher for Chemistry 1010, in A term 1999. That was probably the last class he ever taught, since he was diagnosed with cancer during the term break. I remember coming back from break and finding out we had a different professor for CH1020 (that really short woman, I don't remember her name; I saw her there today, too). I was disappointed, moreso when my grades started going down; her class was harder than Beall's. But one of the things that disappointed me the most: Upperclassmen had told me that Beall always ended the term for CH1020 by singing Tom Lehrer's song "The Elements". This seemed so cool, and I couldn't wait to see it: but then Beall didn't come back. I was disappointed, and I felt very selfish about it. I mean, the man had cancer, and I was worrying about a little in-class entertainment?

Back to the present: the memorial service ended with a videotape of a lecture/presentation done by Professor Beall. It didn't take me too long to realize what this was going into. Yes, I finally got to see Herb Beall sing "The Elements"! I never knew the man well, but this gave me a satisfying sense of closure. It also made me appreciate once again the humor and good-nature of the man I saw every day for 7 weeks, and very rarely after that. It was Herbert Beall who shaped my first term at WPI, along with Professor Goulet, Professor Policelli (at the time, an adjunct), ctriv, Luke, and the Stoddard folk. All these people shaped my perception of WPI, of teaching, of friendship, and of myself, in ways that impacted my entire WPI career... and will continue to impact my life in the future.
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